Friday, September 30, 2011

My (not so) Storybook Life: A Tale of Friendship and Faith

I've been reading Liz Owen's blog for a year or so now- she may not know it- I'm kind of a lurker. I love hearing stories about her writing, about her dog Mabel and now the journey she's been on with pregnancy, illness and a new (adorable) baby Jane. Liz writes with humor, and shares her life in a real way that is inspiring. Her faith despite her more recent struggles is so encouraging.

And guess what?! Liz wrote a book! I'm so excited. I've been looking forward to reading it, and can't wait for it to be released (on October 18). But in the meantime, here is an excerpt for you to read:

My (not so) Storybook Life: A Tale of Friendship and Faith

Once one has breathed in the deep pungent aroma of sewage, you never again forget the nose-hair singeing, eye clawing, throat gagging experience. It comes over you slowly. You begin to feel like a character in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest as your muscles involuntarily jerk and you run screaming and blowing raspberries. Anything to get away from the mind-numbing stench.
But let me explain.
It was 6:30 a.m. I was standing in my retro pink tiled bathroom trying to open my bleary eyes and ready myself for work. As I stood there, peering into the mirror and wondering what demented nighttime fairy had planted four new wrinkles on my face, I paused and sniffed.
“Matt… what’s that smell?”
Matt staggered from the bedroom in his underwear, eyes half shut. “I don’t smell anything.”
I pointed my nose into the air like a hunting dog. “Seriously? You can’t smell that? Did you go to the bathroom in here earlier? I told you to use the room spray when you do things like that.”
Matt puffed out his bare chest and gathered his pride as best a man can with sleep in his eyes and a small hole in the side of his underwear. “I just woke up!”
I frowned, catching a glimpse of my makeup-less hot-rollers-in-hair state and tried not to think about the fact that I looked fifty instead of twenty-nine. “Well, help me figure this out. Because something smells ripe.”
We sniffed the sink drain and ruled it out as a suspect.
“Is it coming from the toilet?” Matt asked, examining it from top to bottom.
“No, that’s not it,” I snapped. I’m not known for my milk of human kindness in a disaster. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a survivor. I plan on eating my radish like Scarlet and clawing my way out of the nuclear dust while dragging my loved ones with me. But I won’t be doing it with positive phrases and a smile.
“Hon, I just don’t know. We’ll call a plumber after work, maybe it’s coming from under the house.” Matt staggered a little, trying to get past me and out of our tiny bathroom.
“Well, that’s just great,” I moved aside and pulled the shower curtain back so I could perch on the side of the tub and give Matt room to move out the door.
That’s when the full brunt of nastiness filled the air around us, a swirling mix of excrement and acrid stench that would have brought the sewer dwelling Ninja Turtles to their knees. Where the normally slightly-clean-with-a-hint-of-soap-scum bottom of the tub should have been, there sloshed gallons and gallons of brown sewage.
I clutched the front of my sweatshirt and held my breath. Matt began to dry heave.
“Get out and shut the door!” I screamed as we bumbled into the hallway.
“I’ll deal with this,” Matt grabbed my shoulders, trying to talk and hold his breath at the same time.
I could feel my eyes glaze over, the horrors of typhoid and hepatitis in our bathtub filling my mind. But more importantly, I could envision our evaporated savings account. In my mind’s eye I could see the long, gray hallway at the bank. A worker shrouded in a black suit pulled a set of keys from his pocket and unlatched a small locker labeled “Owen Bank Account.” Inside were two small stacks of quarters and a few crumpled dollar bills. It was bleak, not only because the banker with an unimaginative wardrobe gazed at me with an expression that could only be interpreted as “You’re a Big Fat Loser,” but also there was a very definite possibility we wouldn’t be able to pay for a plumber.
I wasn’t necessarily a spend thrift. In fact, I was downright frugal when it came to decorating with thrift store furniture and rewired vintage lamps. But the fact was, we were poor. We were starting out at starter jobs with starter salaries. We were starter adults with a starter bank account.
“Okay,” I nodded numbly, thankful that Matt was taking the lead on such a disastrous biohazard. “But make sure the plumber is super cheap. We don’t have much money!”
I left for work like a wino stumbling through a fog, not really remembering my commute, not really doing any work as I sipped my coffee and stared blankly at the computer screen. A disaster of such gargantuan proportions had previously been unthinkable in my life, and now I found myself attempting to push the image of a vast sea of bathtub poop from my mind. But I was sure of one thing: Anne Shirley never had to get ready for work while breathing raw sewage.

Hilarious, no? I cannot wait to read the rest of the book. Lucky for us, Liz is giving away 10 pre-release copies of her book on her blog, Mabel's House. Check it out!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fall Weekend Packing

Fall Weekend Trip

This collection makes me so happy. I wish I had all of these clothes! I picture all of this going into my carry on for a weekend trip to visit friends in New York, Chicago or somewhere with sight seeing and fun nights out. Of course it's more "Suzanna" style than others might choose, with cardigans and minimal accessories.

For the record, it's totally ok to wear brown boots with a black skirt and striped shirt. For a long time I would have never mixed brown and black, blue and black, etc. But lately it's not about matching but complimenting. Neutrals are for mixing! 

The only thing I wish I had included was a cute pair of tortoiseshell sunglasses. Click on the picture to see everything bigger and the sources.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

RE-Fashioned dress

This handmade dress was down to my ankles when I bought it at Goodwill for $5. BL rolled his eyes when I showed it to him, but I knew it had potential. There was a horizontal pleat (what do you call that?) right below my knees. I cut the fabric off at the top of the pleat and was left with a hem! :)

There are awfully big puffed sleeves under that sweater, but I love the peter pan collar and the cheerful print. With a belt, sweater and flats I think it works. Next time I'm going to try my boots.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Fall Inspiration

You guys, this look from Anthro... I am loving it! 
The layers, the sailor pants and the colors. yup, definitely one to copy. I'd probably switch out the shoes they show on the website, but other than that, I'm in.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Lamp Re-fashion pictures!!

I finally figured out how to fix my lamp problem. By wedging halves of wine corks into the opening/gap in the lamp construction I was able to stabilize the harp. Then I wrapped the cork in black ribbon and pinned the end of the ribbon to the cork. You can't even see the pin. I might cover the black with gold ribbon at some point.

So here are the finished pictures! To see the before pictures go here.
Inside on my nightstand

Outside in natural light

I really like how the paint turned out.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fancy Work Day

Fancy work day

Travel top, $50
Old Navy v neck tank, $27
Old navy, $40
Rupert Sanderson round toe high heels, $505
Floral handbag, $55
Tear drop necklace, $49

I don't have to dress up this much at work, but if I did I really like this outfit. It's flats for me most days, these would probably be kicked off under my desk. I had trouble with the bag on this set. Here were the other two options:

structured purses

Miu Miu pocket tote bag
$995 -

Marc by Marc Jacobs Classic Q Baby Aidan
$468 -

I love the structure of the first one, and the shiny gold accents on the second, but color won out on the bag I chose.

P.S. I post a lot of accessories on these style posts that are very very expensive. I would never ever be able to afford them, and I'm not even sure if it would be right to spend that much if I could. Mostly, I just use them for inspiration. (or they are easily grabbed for Polyvore) A normal purse purchase for me is less than $20. Maybe $50 if it is real leather- but I've only done that twice in my purse buying life.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Oxfords: yay or nay?

They're popping up everywhere. Oxfords. With heels and without. Leather looks and metallic. hmm, do I like them? are they cute? Or are they too edgy for me? (this made me giggle a bit, oxfords are a preppy, vintage shoe most of the time, but as a new fashion trend they are also edgy... oxymoron?) I like the 20's -40's vintage vibe they give. I'm not sure though. Any thoughts?

Fountain Spray Wingtips from Anthro

Volatile Davis from Zappos

Aoki Heeled Oxfords from Anthro

Baisley Cap Toe from Fossil

I am still holding strong to skirts and tights for work. I own one pair of dress pants that fit right now. Oxfords seem like a great option for those chilly days when I don't want to don my favorite tall boots with a skirt.

These from Payless are cute with the wedge. I'm not sure I would wear a flat pair. They look too... flat? I'm not sure what I don't like, but the flat ones are not for me. These have a cuteness to them that I like.
I could see them with some opaque tights and a pencil skirt. Or a fun dress? Hmm, let's see:

oxfords with pattern



Thursday, September 15, 2011

My Decorating Style

I feel young in so many ways. I'm still developing my own decor style. Still gaining a sense of what makes me feel happy, peaceful, energized or cozy. I know everyone's tastes change over time, but some days I see things that seem to scream "me." you know what I mean?

These three pictures really represent what my style looks like right now:
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But I'm drawn to so many other styles and design elements.

picture from Canadian House and Home

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picture found on pinterest without a source

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picture from high road house

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picture from 4 men 1 lady

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picture found here

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*All text on pictures are added by me.

Vintage Lamp Makeover

I have a lamp that used to sit in my Great-Grandma's house. I love it even more because I remember it there. What I don't love is the colors. So I decided to spray paint it a glossy white and re-wire it.

I was inspired by this lamp at Honey & Fitz:

Here is my lamp with the wiring removed, ready to paint:

And here is the paint I used:
But you'll have to wait for the finished lamp...I had trouble putting it back together! The new wiring was easy, but I have a gap in the construction that is making it wobbly! I also covered a new shade with a vintage tablecloth and can't wait to show you it all put together. I'll also tell you how I liked the paint.

If you look close in the above picture you can see a preview of what it will look like.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fall said hi and then goodbye

A couple of days in the last seven were cool and breezy. It was delightful. I wore pants and sweaters and skirts with boots. And then the hot came back and I was wearing pants, totally unprepared. Ah well, pretty soon I'll be wishing for summer again.

Work has been very stressful this month. I've been tired and busy- not the best recipe for blogging. I've got a to do list, don't worry I'll get it done and there will be more here!

Scrapbooking... I'm not doing very well on my goal- but there are more weekends ahead. I've changed my goal to be done in a few weeks to be done by Christmas. I can't wait!

Lately I've been cooking more at home. I like making something for dinner and having 3 more servings in the fridge to eat later in the week. Like this omelet/scramble I made the other night.

In it I put: two eggs, two egg whites, low-fat cheddar, feta, spinach, turkey sausage, green onions, green pepper and lots of dill.

Brody is ready for fall too. I've been slacking on his hair cuts lately and he has a partial mohawk and weird patches that stick out on his sides. Normally when his short cut grows out I have to trim those areas, but I haven't had time. Each haircut is like a battle between us, and cooler weather means less fighting. So I'm sure he's ready...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I agree!

From Urban Outfitters awhile ago. This make me laugh. I kind of want to hang it up in my house.  Would you?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Pinterest Snapshots: Animals

I can't resist all of the adorable animal pictures on Pinterest. The puppy ones get me, and the silly grins of cats sitting on dogs, and the baby zoo animals...oh...I'm telling you, if you need a smile you should take a look. First, my favorite of the week:
Isn't she cute? She looks confused and grumpy and all sorts of other things at once.  you can find her here at Susan Dodd's photography blog.

Here are some other cuties.
 Sources: 1.  2.  3.  4.  5.  6.  7.  8.  9.  10.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

White Towels

I agree with this philosophy! If money were no option I would have all white towels, but right now I stick with the 3 or 4 colored ones that I have and the few white ones.

photo from Maillardville Manor

But here's a thought, is it easier to have different colored towels for different members of a family? Right now it's just me, but when I have guests I like to give them a different color than I'm using. That way I can re-use mine another day, and they can re-use theirs without confusion if they wish. Thoughts?