Sep 30, 2013

menswear, literally.

shirt, pants: Anthropologie purse: Kate Spade outlet hat: Jessica Simpson watch: vintage necklace: The Bauble Dept.

In theory, I love the idea of the menswear trend. I feel like it doesn't translate so well on me though, because it is very likely that I would be mistaken for a 12 year old boy. However, accessories like a watch, I can definitely do. Especially if it is in fact, a man's watch, and more specifically, my grandfather's watch.

My Pop pop died of cancer when I was eight.  Growing up, my grandparent's house was just a short walk away from my own.  My Mom mom would usually be in the kitchen, with some Polish concoction on the stove, and my Pop pop, a rather large and gruff looking man, would be in the living room in his white wife beater and black polyester pants.  Mom mom would fix a little snack, picky little girls don't generally eat Polish food (a Polish nose doesn't necessarily entail a fondness for all things Polish), so she would spread a piece of toast with peanut butter and a drizzle of honey.  Pop pop would kneel down on the floor and pour out a large collection of treasures.  It might be coins, or necklaces... whatever he was able to buy in bulk for a great price at the flea market that week.  We would sit on the short goldenrod carpet, in front of the console television and sort through these treasures together.

My dad wound up with his watch after Pop pop died, and he passed it on to me a little while ago, thinking that I might be able to put it to good use.  So, I shortened the band to it's absolute smallest size and bought a new battery.  It's still a little large on my bony wrist, and it doesn't always keep time, but that doesn't matter to me.  I mean, there's the sentimental value of course, but honestly, I can't really tell time all that well anyway.

*** P.S. I've decided to go ahead and close down my Etsy jewelry shop while we're living on the boat.  TODAY will be the last chance (until at least the end of the year) to buy anything that you've been eyeing.  The free shipping offer is still good through the end of the day!  Thanks for all of your support!

Sep 27, 2013

5 things that Facebook is still doing right

Our Facebook friends catch a lot of flack, don't they? We don't like it when they incite out of control political debates, post vague "woe is me" statuses, take too many duck-lipped photos, or discuss their children's bodily functions.

We really don't though, so stop it.

Also annoying... sponsored posts.  WHY was this on my newsfeed?!  I can't even READ it!

However, I'd like to take a moment to acknowledge the few things that Facebook friends are still doing right:

1. Accepting my friend requests.  

To the Facebook friend that I don't really know,
Remember that time, years ago, when I just signed up for Facebook, was in dire need of "friends" so I added you even though I didn't really know you all that well? No, actually you probably don't. Thanks for accepting me anyway. I still feel awkward about that and I promise that I don't do it anymore.

2. Liking and commenting on my posts.

To the Facebook friend that just hit "like,"
You probably don't know how much that totally just made my day! I keep a low profile on my personal Facebook, and I really don't talk to you in real life either, so it kind of took me by surprise. I promise to try to be better about returning the favor.

3. Wishing me Happy Birthday.

To the Facebook friend that wrote Happy Birthday on my wall,
You are super sweet! I apologize in advance for missing your birthday because I never logged on to see the reminder.

4. Allowing me to crash weddings.

To the Facebook friend that just got married,
Thank you for posting all of your wedding pictures.  You didn't invite me to your wedding in real life, but I am super nosy when it comes to these things and I appreciate the opportunity to judge your choice of venue, attire and decor.  It was ok.  

5. Keeping my list of baby names updated.

To the Facebook friend that just had a baby,
Congratulations!  Your baby is cute and all, but I really just wanted to find out what you named it.  I breathed a sigh of relief when I realized that the name you chose was cute enough to approve of, but not quite cute enough to be on my list of names for my own future children.

Would this be the appropriate time for a shameless plug?  'Like' The Bauble Dept. on Facebook!

So spill, what is your biggest pet peeve about Facebook?  And is there anything else that you still like about it?


Sep 26, 2013

mountain air and solid ground

I’ve been pretty housebound this week. Well, except for one really exciting trip to the grocery store in which all of the old men shopping on Senior Citizen Day were particularly attentive, and a nice family dinner at Riley's grandparents' house. But for the most part, I’ve been packing up boxes and getting the house ready. We’re just about there, which means this weekend is “deep cleaning” time. Oh boy. If that doesn’t sound exciting… 

So, it’s kind of a treat for me to take a moment to write somewhere else besides my cluttered kitchen table; one of the few pieces of furniture left in the house. The nearest coffee shop is almost 30 minutes away and I wasn’t about to drive an hour just for a change of scenery. But, I do have a parkway and an overlook just a few minutes from the house, with a hazy view of the valley and a concrete picnic table. There’s no wifi of course, but it does mean that Gidget gets to come along, and sometimes dogs need a change of scenery, too. She’s been really helpful with all the packing, by the way, if you can imagine. 

Today I'm thankful for the fresh air and the cool fall weather, even if it is a little gloomy.  I'm thankful for the mountain views, and the solid ground underneath my feet.  These simple pleasures that I take for granted won't be so readily available in just a matter of days.  I'm thankful for my little dog, my constant companion.  I'm thankful for a computer that is momentarily functioning, despite recent bouts of... not.  I'm thankful for grace and the hope it brings.  I'm thankful for dreams and the opportunity to realize them.

What is it that you are thankful for today?

Sep 25, 2013

my all-consuming, life-altering mistake

After some careful research and calculations ( I googled), I have deduced that the average person probably spends about 67% of their life trying not to make mistakes. The other 33% is spent sleeping. For a perfectionist like myself, the percentages may vary slightly, seeing as how we spend some of our sleeping hours worrying about and planning for the avoidance of any possible future mistakes.

Don't say the wrong thing, don't fail the test, don't be late for work, definitely do not wear that shirt with that skirt, don't make a wrong turn, don't marry the wrong guy, don't burn dinner. You know, the list goes on.

I'd like to think that I'm doing a pretty good job. I mean, I have made it my life's work after all. At this stage in life I seem to have all the appropriate bases covered with no major regrets or skeletons in my closet.

The funny thing is, in the very act of trying to avoid mistakes, I have been making my biggest, all-consuming, life-altering mistake:

I have been allowing my fear of failure to hold me back.

I don't feel at home in the kitchen, and panic at the idea of entertaining and feeding people in my home. Is this because that one time I tried to make my mom a birthday cake it came out like lopsided rubber and everyone laughed?  (I believe so.  I was still in Elementary School at the time, by the way.)

I hate driving, really hate it, and will avoid it at all costs.  Is this perhaps because I failed my learners permit test the first time around? (The stupid one with just the signs... it was the single most embarrassing moment of my life for the longest time.  I still don't tell people about that.)

don't let this girl near your boat!  maybe don't give her any power tools, either.
I second guess myself and feel completely uncomfortable in "handy man" situations.  Is this because I really screwed up the windows on the boat that one, really embarrassing time? (Yes, yes it is.)

I don't handle mistakes well, obviously.  Not even the little ones!  Because even the little stuff seems to give me a complex.  "I'm not good at this because, that one time..." I don't really know what the cure is for this.  I am starting to get a little better about laughing at myself, though.  I mean, usually after a session of mortified bawling, that is.

I'm a work in progress, and it's a little slow going.  So, help me, please.  Do you have the same fear of making mistakes?  What do you do?  How do you shake off the mistakes and keep on going without allowing the self doubt to creep in?


Sep 24, 2013

love with a chance of drowning

"Dedicated to those who dare dream, 
and those who dare fall for dreamers."

Of course, my first mistake was reading, out loud to Riley, these first few lines of a book that was so obviously dedicated specifically to the two of us. "Why don't you read me some of it," he said. We were in the car on the way to New Bern, and there wasn't really anything else to do anyway, so I obliged.

Love With a Chance of Drowning, by Torre DeRoche was recommended by Amanda from Rhyme and Ribbons, and the title intrigued me right away.  I am, of course, the kind of girl that judges a book by it's cover.  But even just the few lines Amanda wrote in her comment were enough to tell me that this was a book I was going to have to read.

As I started to read about Torre, a 26 year old Australian falling in love with Ivan, a handsome Argentinian dreaming of sailing around the world, I became hooked immediately.  It was clear that Riley was hooked as well, from the impatient sidelong glances he gave me whenever I paused from  my reading to soothe my poor, parched and cracking throat.  We soon decided that we were going to need to download the audio book, because I was not about to continue to read all 11 hours of the book out loud.  And this is not the sort of duty that Riley is willing to share in.

We continued listening to the book all weekend.  It was the perfect entertainment for a rainy Sunday morning in the cozy cabin of the boat, accompanied by hot cups of coffee.  We gave each other repeated knowing glances whenever Torre related an experience that unfortunately, we understood all too well.  We might not be sailing the Pacific Ocean (thank goodness) and my handsome lover might not have an Argentinian accent (he does have an accent, however, it's not quite as, uh... exotic), but learning how to leave our lives behind, adapt to life on a small sailboat, and the quest for adventure are themes all too familiar.  Torre is a hilarious writer, and although this book is a memoir, it reads more like an entertaining novel.  Her neuroticism and self deprecating humor are real and refreshing.  

There are a plethora of "how to" sailing books out there, and we have received plenty of advice from the old, weathered sailors at the marina, but it was so much more inspiring (to me, anyway) to have the experience recounted by someone who probably would have understood the tragedy of bidding goodbye to your leather boots at the beginning of the fall season, when you've never even had the chance to say a proper hello.  Torre is a city girl, with no sailing experience, and an intense fear of the ocean.  If she could do it, maybe I'm not crazy to think that I can, too.

We haven't actually finished the book yet (I tend to devour books, while Riley prefers to savor them) so I can't really give you a complete review, but at least I can't give away any spoilers either.  But if you're interested in reading a true and comical account of love, fear, sailing, and adventure, I highly recommend checking it out.

What have you been reading lately?  I love hearing your suggestions!  If you recommend it, I will more than likely be reading it!

Sep 23, 2013

navigating these waters

You know that feeling you get when you have a big adventure right around the corner? Maybe it's a big move, or an otherwise life altering change? You know it's coming, and it's a good and happy thing, but you've still got these days and weeks ahead of you and a whole lot of mess and stress and unknowns to work through. Maybe you're physically and emotionally exhausted, and maybe you're not spending enough time surrendering it all in prayer and perhaps taking it out on your dear husband, (hypothetically, of course), instead. You know, the guy that's already dealing with all the same stuff right alongside you as it is? And you need these days to slow down just a little so that you can catch up, but you also hope they'd just hurry up and get out of your way already, too. That's pretty much maybe exactly where I've been lately. Those days.

We spent the weekend at the boat, and although completely unproductive in terms of our to do list, it was just what we needed to clear our heads and shift our perspective.  We had several hours in the car to hash out, undistracted and uninterrupted, just the two of us, all of those feelings that come with taking this kind of leap.  The kind of feelings that tend to manifest themselves in unhealthy and unproductive ways when left unaddressed for too long.  So, when Riley found himself in a seven hour celestial navigating class on Saturday (I knew well enough that I needed to sneak out of there 45 minutes into it) and when we woke to pouring rain on Sunday, we knew not only that absolutely nothing was going to get accomplished, but that we were okay with that as well.  Instead, we spent the rest of our weekend talking and also bonding, in an unlikely "first" for us, over a new book.  Sometimes, just the simple reassurance that someone else is on your team, on the same page you are, is all the productivity a weekend really needs, anyway.

Sep 20, 2013

we've got a whole lot of growing to do

Comfort. I’ve been thinking a lot about this word lately. Particularly, when it pertains to my comfort zone. Physically and mentally, mine is on the smaller side, and I really, really like it. I like being in the comfort of my own home, and I’m not the best at roughing it. I like being prepared, and I fear the unknown. I like having a plan and a routine, and flexibility isn’t one of my predominant characteristics. I like clean and organized, and I’m kind of a germaphobe. So, the idea of turning my life upside down, leaving my home and my comfort zone, to move onto a boat and welcome a whole slew of “character building” exercises into my daily life, is quite frankly, frightening. It keeps me up at night.

How will I keep things clean if we’re constantly worried about conserving water? Am I ever going to feel clean again? (You might laugh, but I am seriously concerned about this.) How will we maintain a well balanced diet when I don’t know where or when we will be buying food next, or what our options will be when we do? How are we going to find our way around a new town (without a car), over and over again? Will I constantly be on edge thinking “what if… what if…what if?” Will my resistance and fear of things outside of my comfort zone overshadow this opportunity of a lifetime?

my kitchen and front door. yes, please do step your dirty feet right onto my food prep space. (obviously, the faucet was still missing at this point.)
my bed. I mean, our bed.
my shower.

Because, while I know that it is an exciting opportunity of a lifetime, I also know that it’s going to be the biggest character building opportunity I’ve encountered so far in my life. From a distance, taking several months off to live on a boat and sail down the coast sounds like a life of relaxation and ease. But up close, it also still looks a lot like real life, in a tight space, without any of the ammenities of home, where everyday activities take a lot more thought and effort, with fun and excitement hopefully sandwiched somewhere in between. I’m not complaining. I mean, not yet anyway. But I’m trying to be realistic about the whole situation in the hopes of preparing myself for being unprepared.

So, you’d better hold on, Comfort Zone. Cause me and you, we’ve got a whole lot of growing to do. 

Sep 19, 2013

etsy sale and free shipping!

I started my Etsy jewelry shop back in January, and I have had so much fun designing and creating these little baubles.  I fully intend on bringing my tools and supplies with me on the boat, but I'm starting to realize that I'm probably not going to be able to bring all of my inventory along with me.  However, I'd also hate to pack it all up and leave it behind in storage! It may sound silly, but I've become attached to each piece that I have made.  So, I've marked down the prices and I'm offering free shipping on all U.S. orders in the hopes that some of it may find a good home before I set sail in October.

Also... Amanda from The Lady Okie is hosting a Bauble Dept. Jewelry Giveaway!  You can enter to win your choice of either:

While you're at it, be sure to stalk some of her hilarious blog posts as well!  Her blog is one of my favorites... so much so, that I even read her posts about running.

because I'm a little bit mean, but I'm still cute

Riley's taking the stage (the page?) again today to answer another round of the boys behind the blog questions, in a way that really only Riley can...

1. If you were an animal, what animal would you be? 
A badger. Because I'm a little bit mean, but I'm still cute.

2. What is your favorite meal? 
Black bean soup.  It has bacon, I love bacon.
(This recipe.  Except that link halves it, and you're definitely going to want all 4 servings for 2 people.  With cornbread.)

3. Do you use any forms of Social Media? What is your favorite? 
I don't really participate, I'm a lurker.  Mainly on Sailnet and Facebook.

4. Beer, wine, liquor, other, or none of the above?  
BEER. I love a good stout IPA.

5. Complete the sentence: "Never have I ever..."
Skydived.  It's on my list of things to do.

Boys Behind The Blog

I have to say, the "badger" answer surprised me.  It's certainly... unique.  What animal would you be?

If that's not enough Riley for you, you can also find out what he would do with $1,000,000 right here.


Sep 18, 2013

you expect me to live in that?

There are about 2-ish weeks left before we move out of our house and move onto the boat.  Since that means my current house is a complete wreck right now, I thought it might be a good time to look back on just how far we've come on our "new house."

Buying an old boat and doing all of the work on it ourselves (ok, mostly it was Riley) was the only way that a dream like this was going to be possible.

a good cleaning and polishing, a fresh coat of bottom paint and a new boot stripe.  I picked the colors.  Putting that art degree to good use, you know.  Now she matches :)

Riley built the new doors himself and cleaned up that side over there with the broken electronics.  He's installed a few others since the picture was taken.

We sanded and refinished all of the teak interior.  ALL of it.  Riley built the beautiful new table, complete with an inlaid compass rose, and my mother in law sewed new covers for our cushions.

There was a whole lot of other stuff that went on, but it was pretty boring and didn't make for great pictures.  But, if you're interested about the details of any of the projects, we blogged about them on The WaterLog!

Sep 17, 2013

I wouldn't take it if I were you

a rare and special moment on our honeymoon when a stranger actually offered to take our picture for us.
If you had the chance to relive a moment in your past, would you actually take it?

I truly have had a blessed life. I have so many wonderful memories... from childhood all the way through these first five years of marriage. I can pick out special moments, like a family vacation to Disney World, the day my family brought our dog Lucy home, the morning Riley brought flowers to my house and I had the sneaking suspicion that he was going to propose later, and the moment that we said "I do." But if I actually had the chance to relieve any one of those moments, I don't think that I would take it.

a family vacation to Charleston and Cyprus Gardens.  perfect opportunity for romanticizing.
I have this bad habit of romanticizing the future. Whether it be a trip I'm about to take to a new destination, a major life milestone, or just a special day, I dream up the perfect scenario and then find myself disappointed when reality doesn't live up to my grand expectations. It's not even intentional, and it's taken me awhile to realize what I was doing.

a surprise trip to Niagara Falls. I finally started to get my romanticizing in check, therefore... it was just right.
I think we often do the same thing when we look back on the past, as well.  If I truly could relive that experience that was so memorable, would it really be just as wonderful?  For me, it wouldn't.  If I really thought about it, I'd remember how miserably hot it was at Disney World that summer, and how much my dad hated the crowds.  And I'd probably remember that my nose was running when I said "I do" and that I really just wanted to blow it without everyone watching.  That's not to say that they aren't  great memories, maybe even better because of their flaws.   And that's not to say that we shouldn't reminisce.  But relive them?  No thanks!

 It also seems that, in my own experience, dwelling too much in the past (in a broader sense) seems to hinder me in the present, and certainly starts to impact my future.  It is way, way too easy to get stuck.  I'd rather try to find new moments to enjoy, and new experiences to remember.  I guess I really always have believed that "the best is yet to come."

But then, that's probably just me romanticizing the future again.

Sep 16, 2013

hey, ugly...

I'm sorry, but I'm just not quite sure how else to address this letter.

We've had a rocky relationship these past five years, haven't we?  I knew when Riley and I got married that it wouldn't always be easy, but I never imagined that you would be the cause of so much of our marital strife.  Yeah, I know you think you were subtle... you were not.  I knew all about your relationship.  Well, after we were already married, that is.  It didn't take long then for me to realize that when he walked in the door after a long day of hard work, that you had never been far from his mind.  We had plenty of heated discussions over you.  I told him that I just couldn't deal with your presence in his life.  He said that he needed you and the support that you gave him.  He was comfortable with you.  A little too comfortable, if you ask me.  Eventually, we just stopped talking about you.  But you never left.  You were the elephant in the room.  The horrible, ugly, beige, reclining elephant sitting right there in the corner of the living room.  I didn't like it, but I had begun to give up, believing that I would just have to come to terms with the fact that you were always going to be a part of our lives.  No matter how close I would try to get to Riley, you would always come between us.  Literally.

But, no more.  Because, guess what?  In just a few short weeks we'll be moving onto a sailboat.  Yeah, I know you know... you were never far away when Riley was scheming or dreaming.  Looking over his shoulder as he read his sailing magazines, and supporting him as he made his plans.   But what you probably didn't realize, is that Riley is leaving you behind.  No, even better.  He's letting you go, completely.  I win, you lose.

However, before you go, I just want to thank you.  Thank you for teaching me patience.  Thank you for helping me to learn not to let ugly, insignificant things come between a man and wife.  Thank you for reminding me that in time, good always triumphs over evil.

I hope you make some other man very, very happy.  This time, maybe you could try to find one without a wife.
                                                              Best wishes,

Sep 13, 2013

pieces of me

I've been sorting through all of my personal belongings this week, narrowing down the things that I want to bring with me onto the boat.  And then narrowing them down again.  And again.  Rooms like the kitchen, bathroom, office... the stuff in there is easier to get rid of or pack up.  Most of it we wouldn't even consider bringing with us anyway.  But then, I get to the bedroom.  My closet, my bookshelf, my nightstand... these places are where I keep the things that mean the most to me.  And as I work on trying to pack those up (this part is taking a really long time), and decide what to bring with me, I'm trying to ask myself, "what is going to help me feel like me?"  You know, like the favorite shirt that you've had for years that you could still wear over and over again.  It's comfortable and it makes you feel at home.  When we move onto the boat, we are leaving so much behind in the search for something amazing.

But honestly, that is totally not like me.  At all.  Most of the time, when I think about it, my chest gets a little tight, and my heart starts to race.  Mostly, because there's still so much to do in a short amount of time.  But also, because it's just plain scary to me.  And unknown.  And I can't even bring those things, like that safety blanket you had when you were little, that make me feel at home.

As silly as it sounds, sometimes the overwhelmingness of it all makes me cry.

And then I get over it, and I get back to work weeding through my stuff.  Because I do know, when I'm thinking straight, that these things aren't worth crying over.  And I realize that I can make enough room for a few little pieces of me.  Like my sketchbook that's been lying in the bottom of a drawer for far too long.  And my pencils.  And I get excited thinking about how much joy drawing used to bring me, and how many new sights I'll be able to put down in that sketchbook.

And it's things like that, that make me feel like myself again.

a self portrait dated 10/19/05

So, I really want to know, what makes you feel like you?  If you could only take a few of your possessions with you for the next several months, or really any undisclosed amount of time, what would those things be?

Sep 12, 2013

a blog is a dangerous animal

I still remember the exact moment that my grandmother told me about blogs.  Yes, my grandmother.  She was pretty excited about being "in the know."  I really couldn't have cared less about these "web-logs."  I wasn't really into computer-y stuff anyway.  Now that I think back on it, she did know what a blog was, but she didn't really know.

First, I started reading them.  I watched these fabulous bloggers get married, have kids, make delicious meals, and just wear really nice clothes.  Like, everyday.

Then, I started writing one.  "What in the world are you going to write about?" my husband asked.  "You don't really do anything."  So, I was off to a pretty promising start.

Now, I've found myself in the middle of this Blogtember blog challenge.  Today's writing prompt says:
Discuss ways that blogging or social media has changed you.

Here's my dilemma.  Blogging has probably changed me in all the exact same ways that it has changed every other one of the 156 million (as of Feb. 2011) bloggers in the universe.  I can't write that.  So my mind starts to race and my palms get sweaty.  How do you produce amazing, creative, and eloquent thoughts on demand?!  It's the night before the link up and I can't think of a single creative thing to say.  Any OCD good blogger knows you can't just skip it. If I don't write a post, no one will click on my link.  If no one clicks on my link, no one will read my blog!  If no one reads my blog, no one will comment!  NO ONE WILL FOLLOW!

So, I do what any other blogger would do in the same situation.  I ask my dog.

Gidget rarely ever has the answer.  I hate to say it, but really, she's just not that creative.  Unless of course, she's walking on her two front legs or something. Mostly she just gives me that blank stare.  You know, the one that means, "Think of it yourself, stupid."

Great. That means I have to ask Riley.  I really try putting this off for as long as possible because, Riley always has the answer.  To everything.  He doesn't really know how blogging has changed me, but he sure knows how it has changed him.

"Well,"  he says, "I've gotten really good at photography.  Also, I usually lose a couple pounds while waiting for my dinner to be photographed.  And, my dependence on Gidget to keep me company in the evenings has increased."

But no, no that won't do at all.  And so, I sit at my laptop, a complete and utter failure as a blogger.  For, I never even thought of anything clever to say.  

And, worst of all, I committed the ultimate blogging sin...

I published a post without a single picture.

Sep 11, 2013

just call me four-eyes

glasses: BonLook shirt: Loft skirt, belt: J.Crew boots: Frye clutch: Anthropologie necklace: The Bauble Dept.

I got my first pair of glasses in the third grade.  It was pretty exciting picking out those black and purple wire frames.  You know, the really big, really round kind that did nothing for my tiny but extremely round face?  Glasses weren't necessarily uncool then, and mostly I was just excited to be able to see stuff.  I had no idea what I was missing out on all that time.

Then, seventh grade started.  It is really ridiculously difficult to be cool in seventh grade, and my glasses weren't helping me out one bit.  So I traded them in for a pair of contact lenses and instant "cool points." Ahem.

Now, I'm having fun swapping back and forth between glasses and contacts.  Especially since I got my first pair of BonLook frames.  By far, the most fun pair of glasses I have ever owned.  Their virtual try-on was perfect for me, since I live in the country and do most of my shopping online anyway.  Come to think of it, 75% of my outfit was purchased online.  Same goes for the rest of my closet.  And I wouldn't even have any shoes at all if it wasn't for Zappos.

Speaking of this outfit, it was completely copied inspired by Duni, the owner of a gorgeous Etsy shop and blog who posted the most lovely photos of her birthday that I just adored.

Speaking of Etsy...

Just kidding.  This post could go on forever like this.  Plus, you already know I have an Etsy shop.   And if you didn't, now you do!
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