Eclectic Decorating: Mirrors

January 21, 2012 § 1 Comment

Since I was in high school I understood the appeal of having a mirror on every wall: not only can you check to make sure you don’t have any boogers in your nose, you can capitalize on every song that suddenly comes over the radio. “A Whole Neeeewwwww Wooooooooorld!”

Once I got a home of my own, mirrors quickly took up much of the wall space. Any time Josh and I go to an antique store, we scour the place for mirrors before we look at anything else. It’s a vice.

The first item that Josh & I bought as a married couple that cost more than $50: a floor mirror!

To the right is an old mirror Josh & I found at an antique store in town. This mirror is old enough that it is lined with silver.

This mirror was my great grandmother's. I've had it since she died in 1997. Love it so much!

Another old mirror we got from an antique store in Greenville, SC. It's right across from the bathroom so it serves as a nice double-check before I walk out the door.

A large old mirror in the bathroom. It's next to the toilet so boys can check their teeth while doing their business.

OK, this mirror came with the apartment, but I like it because it's big.

Josh brought this mirror into our marriage. It's not old, but it's big. It's right next to our front door so I can triple-check to make sure I have no boogers.

The mirror offsets the large Chris Koelle print that Josh also brought into this marriage. Perfect.

The little mirror below Chris Koelle's painting was another antique store find. It is very old and lined with silver.

The mirror is about as practical as the mirror in Mary Poppins' room when she first moved in. "This will never do." But, it does well as a jewelry tray or accent piece (as pictured here). You can see the age of the mirror in its imperfections.

A mirror in the kitchen is a brilliant idea; a large mirror in the kitchen is covetable. This is another antique mirror lined with silver.

The mirrors in the hallways are super cool. The top two we got from an antique store in town and the bottom one was from Goodwill.










































I hope our next apartment has lots of walls. What’s your decorating weakness?

New Year’s Resolutions

December 31, 2011 § Leave a comment

Only 50% of my resolutions from 2011 were realized: I did try to grow my own cilantro, but I did not learn the Sun Salutation (who has time?). Here’s hoping I can do better in 2012.

Happy New Year!

Josh and I are making our New Year’s Resolutions together this year. I very seldom make more than two resolutions – I often don’t attempt any resolutions – but this year is different. All three of these resolutions are lifestyle changes that we’re hoping to implement. We’re going to make every effort to keep these resolutions for years to come.

1. Buy nothing new – Josh and I are striving to buy nothing new this year; anything we buy will be thrifted or vintage. (Exceptions: we will purchase new food, underwear, socks, and/or shoes.) I’m excited to see how our needs are met!

2. Eat only best – This is not a diet except in the sense that it is what we eat. Diets are for people who want to fail! Boooo to diets. Instead of “we don’t eat this,” we are going to undestand that we can eat anything – but we choose healthy foods close to the natural source. It’s a different mindset, not a restriction.

3. Be active now – Part of being healthy is being active. I sit at a desk all day long, and my hips are nice and plump as a result. This is not about being skinny – this is about being healthy. I need to take the dog for a walk and get my heart rate up – that’s a win/win situation.

OK, those are the goals – now keep me in check! I think 2012 holds promise of being a pretty good year. I learned a lot of stuff in 2011 – I learned that I don’t want to work in an office the rest of my life, I learned about vintage pipes, I learned I have pretty good taste, I learned banjo & a bit of mandolin, I learned it’s really hard to get a puppy to come on command, I learned I am so not ready for kids yet, I learned that I kill plants (OK, I knew that one), I learned I have a need for theatre, and some other useful stuff. I’m excited to see what I learn in 2012. Here’s to a New Year. Cheers.

A Sweet Christmas Story

December 20, 2011 § 2 Comments

In the Spirit of Christmas, let’s chat about gift-giving. I know it’s better to give than to receive – I have two ears and a heart – but it’s rough watching your sister give your parents an iPod for Christmas while you give them two mugs. (That was a hypothetical situation.)

Happy Christmas

I have a friend – let’s call her Susie – who is a single mom of four (ages 4 through 21). Here’s a sweet Christmas story Susie’s congenial ex-husband recounted to her today:

I haven’t really been in the Christmas spirit until I noticed something this morning.  Over the weekend Nick [age 10] collected change from my junk basket, my car, and my backpack and put it all in a Ziplock bag.  He had me take him to the store to cash it in and asked if he could have 10 dollars from it.  Then he asked me to take him to Mega Replay [a used video store], and he thoughtfully picked out movies for people.  Last night he got a half-roll of wrapping paper from your house, a few tags for labels, and brought it all to my house.  He wrapped one last night (even ignoring football!), addressed it to Zakk, and brought it with him this morning to put under your tree.  He hasn’t announced grand plans or congratulated himself.  He’s just been doing it.

So in the midst of buying overpriced Uggs for Bri (don’t tell!), shaking my head at Zakk wanting bar crap for Christmas, worrying about whether Nick will enjoy a Kindle Fire (don’t tell!) – I stressed out the holiday a bit too much.  When I noticed that Nick’s been quietly dedicated to making Christmas happen it made me feel warm and proud.  It was a good reminder.  Kids can be great teachers.

 How cool is that?

I have been so concerned this year with keeping up with everyone else. I feel like everyone is giving iPods and Nooks and fast cars for Christmas. I gave my car new tires, which made me feel pretty good.

The biggest thing I learn from little saint Nick is that I need to ignore what everyone else is doing for Christmas and demonstrate my love to everyone in my own way – even if it means spending no money. And I needed a 10-year-old to tell me this. Clearly, I need to watch more Christmas movies.

Marriage Myths

November 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

As my third anniversary approaches, I’d like to comment on a few things I was told before I got married to Josh.

“Enjoy your skinny figure now. Marriage makes you fat.”

False. Turning 25 makes you fat. Lack of walking around college campuses makes you fat. Eating a 4-person meal between the two of you makes you fat. Not marriage. I got married at age 24. We moved to Milwaukee and had no car and no money, so we walked everywhere and ate very little. [Sound cue: hot model music] We moved to Normal and got a car and a little more money, so we drove everywhere and ate a little more. [Sound cue: blowing up a balloon.] That was me getting chubbier. Josh, on the other hand, started a movement class and trimmed himself down nicely. He turned 25 this year [she said as she rubbed her hands maliciously]. Wait until I start my movement class! I’ll show them!

“You know, you’re never going to have sex after the first few months of marriage. Just give it time.”

Malarkey. I’m sure there comes a time when age affects sex drive, but marriage is not an age. It’s an event. An event that is celebrated by sex. And, you know, if you wait to have sex until after marriage, your sex frequency will always be more after marriage. Think about it.

“Be prepared to be disappointed. You’ll find that a lot of things don’t meet your high expectations.”

I never really knew what anyone meant by this; I wasn’t sure what expectations I had that were destined to be crushed. Was it the expectation of his putting the toilet seat down? Of his clearing his plate after dinner? Of his hanging up his jacket? If so, I’m a step ahead of you – I know he’s going to want to have “guys’ nights;” I know he sometimes gets moody and take it out on me; I know he probably won’t notice my new haircut. I’m laid back enough to take that all in stride.

I’m guessing that the more seasoned advice-givers were telling me that the expectations to watch out for are the ones that are so obvious that you don’t even think of them. Expectations like: He will provide for me (and eventually our family), He will like my apple pie best, He will ask me to sing the harmony with him whenever our song comes on. Well, he won’t always do these things. And that’s OK. Disappointment comes. I hope I have the courage and grace to move on and be better. After all, worse things are happening in this world: Starving children, for instance….

So there. That’s my three-year-old wisdom. Please excuse me, I need to go play house.

“We need a witness to our lives. There’s a billion people on the planet… I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you’re promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things… all of it, all of the time, every day. You’re saying ‘Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness’.”  – Beverly Clark, Shall We Dance?

Soda Jerk, Italian Style

October 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

I need something smoother than pop but thicker than water, milder than coffee but sweeter than juice.

Soda Jerk passing an ice cream soda between two fountains (from Wikipedia)

Enter: the Italian Creme Soda. It’s smooth, creamy, sweet, and remarkably easy to make at home!

I made my own syrup since I was out of Monin. I combined 2 cups sugar and 1 cup tap water in a pot on the stove. I heated and stirred until the mixture was combined. Once it had become a smooth syrup, i added a small bottle (1 oz.) of raspberry extract. Then, I added some food coloring. (It should have been red to go with the raspberry flavor, but I was out of red. So, I used the next best thing.) I let the mixture cool until I could touch it, and then I put it in a glass bottle to store. I’ll keep it in the refrigerator until it’s gone – or for up to 1 month.

my Green Raspberry Italian Creme Soda

Make one for yourself. I promise it will make you happy.

For Fun

October 1, 2011 § Leave a comment

Josh and I have perfected the art of doing fun things for free. (We had to – we’re gonna be starving actors the rest of our lives.) Being creative with photography is one of our favorite pastimes. 

We’re not professionals by any means. (I mean – we use iPhoto to edit our stuff. Picnik if we’re feeling super clever. Nothing fancy.)


We’re usually our own subjects. We brought Harper along, so she got to join in the fun.


So curious…


We love our ukulele, though. Clearly.


What do you do for free (or inexpensive) fun? We like to take picnics to the park, walk around Downtown, go thrifting, or just sit on a park bench and make fun of people.

Musical Waves

September 13, 2011 § Leave a comment

I have long since been a user of BriteRevolution and NoiseTrade. On both of those websites I found Andrew Belle‘s music. Here is the first song of his I downloaded…

…and fell in love with. (The fact that he did the song with Katie Herzig wasn’t hurting his case at all.) I watched him open for Greg Laswell in Evanston, IL earlier this year, and I really enjoyed seeing him live.

His video for The Ladder has been released, and I totally fell in love with the animation.

Go find yourself some Andrew Belle. If not for his music, then for his food blog. You won’t regret it.