Thursday, January 31, 2008

L'arte de chez moi (I make no apologies - I barely passed high school French!)

V-Day is obviously coming up. DH hates Valentine's Day. He finds it extremely unromantic that everyone else feels that they have to be romantic on that particular day. I, on the other hand, love it. While I don't make DH go out to dinner or buy me anything, I do like to get him a little something. (If I happen to like it a lot as well? Yippee for me!)

I'm attracted to big, bold prints. I especially like silk-screened images and letterpress. Note: Oh how I regret not sucking it up and getting letterpressed invitations for our wedding. At the time I decided I would rather have more guests than letterpress. Now, based on some behavior at the reception, I wonder if I should have gone for amazing invitations. Guess that's what happens when you have an open bar for 8 hours!

From I Am Still Alive. I love the simplicity of the design. And the sentiment sums up how I knew DH was special after our first couple dates.

From Keep Calm Gallery. I like to remind DH of his home which is near Liverpool, England. This phrase was used on posters in Great Britain during WWII.

Keep Calm again. I like Beatles things because of DH's connection to Liverpool. We even recessed from our wedding to "Here Comes the Sun." DH's father used to belong to the Cavern Club and was one of the first people to EVER hear the Beatles.

Keep Calm. A rather pedestrian print until you notice that the "A" in tea features a tiny cuppa. I got hooked on "cuppa" tea when I lived in Ireland.

Hero Design Studio. Probably too over the top for DH on V-Day, I still think this is so sweet.

The Small Stakes. We actually already own this one, but I wanted to point out that The Small Stakes does AMAZING prints of concert posters. Very beautiful, clean aesthetic.

Wifey-on-Her-Own Week

Out of necessity, I do the majority of the cooking in our house. I get home anywhere from 1.5-2 hours before DH so I make dinner five nights a week. We do, however, go out Friday and Saturday nights. We live in a great area with lots of restaurants so we head out (and give me a break!).

Wifey-on-Her-Own week is still happening and I have found that I'm reverting to a lot of bad cooking habits. (Note: I don't like to cook, I just happen to do it because of the time thing.) Anywho, I've been very lazy this week in terms of meals. Normally I make things from scratch since we don't eat a lot of processed foods. This week I have had (in order): mac and cheese, leftovers, and microwaved veggies. Not so fabulous.

Well, last night I decided that I'd do some lazy "cooking" but still make a decent meal. I microwaved the prepared lentils from Trader Joe's. (Note: I LOOOOVE TJs. One of my qualifications for where we live in CA is based on the locations of their TJs.) I then squeezed in a lemon and tossed in a bunch of chopped basil. Yum.

I still wanted something to balance out the lentils so I made one of our go-to salads: beet root with goats cheese. We make a variation of this salad probably every ten days. Basically toss together:

*salad leaves (spinach for me)
*dressing made from balsamic vinegar, olive oil (not virgin), s&p, and herbs
*chopped beet root (TJs has pre-steamed baby beets in the produce section)
*toasted and chopped nuts (walnuts are the best)
*soaked chopped, dried fruit (usually figs or cranberries)
*slices of goats cheese (I've found *GREAT* lemon or cranberry goats cheese at HT.)

Anywho...YUMMY dinner and I actually felt like I had a decent dinner without cooking. I honestly can't believe I ate mac and cheese for dinner the other night. Am I still in college? No. C'mon Elliot...let's be a grownup!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

It's a stampede!

*Breathing hard* J.Crew...30% Off...get thee there quickly! Free shipping with code FS0128.

I picked up:

$35 people. $35! Perfect for our weekly date night.

Oxford shirt in sunshine yellow, $15. J.Crew is genius because they actually have shirts in a tall length. I have obnoxiously long arms (for the climbers out there, my "ape index" is massive) so for years I was stuck with 3/4 length sleeves.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Anthro is my new girlfriend

Anthropologie and I have a complicated relationship. I go into Anthro and I love everything about it. Shabby chic. (Also, they burn the most amazing combination of candles. Has anyone successfully replicated that scent? Ah-maz-ing.) However, most of their clothes look absolutely ridiculous on me. If I really hunt, and am willing to do some seam ripping, I can normally find one maybe two things that will work for me.

This week, however, I have fallen back in love.

I think the neck ruffle looks like carnations. Since that's my sorority flower, you can bet I'm wearing this on founder's day:

I wasn't impressed with this when I saw it online. In person, it is ridiculously adorable. Like, bulldog puppies and babies with food on their faces, ridiculously adorable.

Size 11? Check. Already in the shopping cart for my San Diego trip in two weeks? Check.

I love jackets. No double-breasted, cinched at the waist, deep v-neck jackets. Pop this on with white pants and a navy and white striped tank and you're good to go.

In my head I'd wear these with my wide-leg seersuckers. In reality, I think that would be a bit nautical-overboard. (Hee, I made a funny.) I think gray chinos would work as a Friday dress-down outfit.

I own a cardi much like this in chocolate brown cashmere. I wear it every single time I fly because it's so much better than the nasty airline blankets. This blue is so visually refreshing to me; I want!

A little too over-the-top for my style but so cute for someone with a smaller tush.

I feel like this screams "pulled together California casual." Therefore, I must own it. I must. It's a call I cannot ignore.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Handbags galore

The hubby and I have a deal when it comes to holidays:

Because he currently receives a week more vacation a year than I do, he is able to take a skiing holiday with his friends while I stay at home and work. While I would surely like another holiday a year, I'm glad Darling Hubby gets time with his mates and gets to ski. (DH is a die hard skier and snowboarder. Seriously, I think it's the happiest I get to see him when he's suiting up and heading for the lift line. :))

Because I am such an understanding and supportive wifey, he came up with the deal that for every week he's on holiday without me, I get a new handbag when he comes home. Well my friends, it's Wifey-on-Her-Own Week, and I'm going to pick from the following:

Brooks Brothers, oh I do love it so. I need another "work" bag that I can tuck in my large tote and take out when we head to lunch.

Brooks Brothers again, and even better - on sale! It's linen and calf skin so I love the look, not sure if it'll hold up and keep clean.

I love Orla Kiely SO SO much. This bag screams "English Nanny" to me, but in a good way.

This is a completely frivolous bag and for that reason alone, it qualifies under Wifey-On-Her-Own Week. Since we're moving to the West Coast, DH and I will be flying a whole lot more than we currently do. I think this is the most perfect stowaway bag (well, besides the coveted LV) precisely because it's big (but not too big), bright (if you *must* check it), and is such a fun print.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


I love these things:

1. What is your occupation? Government analyst
2. What color are your socks right now? Chocolate brown
3. What are you listening to right now? Seinfeld
4. What was the last thing you ate? Trader Joe's Crumpet
5. Can you drive a stick shift? Nope
6. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Steel blue
7. Last person you spoke to on the phone? Travel agent while booking tickets
8. How old are you today? 27...eep!
9. Favorite drink? Non alcoholic: tea, Alcoholic: Jack and diet
10. What is your favourite sport to watch? In person? Football On tv? Strongest Man in the World
11. Have you ever dyed your hair? Every 8 weeks
12. Favorite reality TV show? Project Runway
13. What was the last movie you watched? Bridget Jones
14. Favorite day of the year? December 9th - the day I met my hubz
15. What do you do to vent anger? Passive aggressive cleaning
16. What was your favorite toy as a child? My stuffed dog
17. What is your favorite, fall or spring? Fall
18. Hugs or kisses? Kisses *mwah*
19. Cherries or blueberries? Cherries
20. Do you want your friends to email you back? If they have something to say, of course
21. Favorite dessert? Ice cream cake
22. Living arrangement? Currently in a 2 bd condo with the hubby
23. When was the last time you cried? I reread The Time Traveller's Wife.
24. What is on the floor of your closet? Shoes
25. What did you do last night? Made brownies, folded laundry, watched Project Runway
26. What inspires you? People overcoming obstacles
30. What are you afraid of? Snakes and driving in the snow
31. Plain, cheese, or spicy burgers? MorningStar spicy black bean burgers. Mmmm
32. Favorite breed of dog? English bulldog. I want three and they will be named Winston, Heston, and Delia.
33. How many years at your current job? A little under 3
34. Favorite day of the week? Wednesday
35. How many states have you lived in? Four
36. Celebrity crush? Gerard Butler tops my list of five. I have had a thing for him ever since "Dracula 2000."
37. Ever driven a motorcycle or heavy machinery? Nope, not my thing
38. Who is your favorite NFL team? Redskins, baby
39. Do you have a house phone that is not cordless? We don't have any phones beyond our cells and blackberries.
40. 10 inches of snow or 100 degree weather? 100 degree weather. California here we come!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

These are a few of my favorite things...

Votive holder, made out of wax. My friend L gave it to me as a housewarming present when I bought the condo on my own.
My piggy bank, Pricilla. Yes, that's a bow on the ear.
Oh my bed. I do love it so. I went to boarding school and your bedroom was the only place that was totally "yours." As such, I associate our bedroom with hangout out. Sometimes Hubby asks me why I'm always in there but it really is my favorite place to read a book or watch a movie. Union Jack pillows in our condo's colors with a subtle circle pattern? Yes, please!
Giant painting I fell in love with at Z Gallery. Coincidentally, we have a "circle" theme going on in our decor and it totally worked over the sofa.
I used to live in Northern Ireland and I picked these up at an art market in the city centre. The left is called "Never a Cross Word" and the right is "At the Pub with Friends."
Fantastic triptych we bought at the Bethesda Art walk.
My pride and joy: A condo with a large pantry. I've never had a place that actually had room for food!

More condo pics...

Our kitchen is the largest in the building. I love the granite solely because it was called "Uba Tuba."
Kohler fixtures throughout. (And my prized KitchenAid.)
New stainless steel appliances and travertine floor.
Master bedroom, as seen from the door. (Bedding is Kate Spade's Litchfield Lea. I bought out the factory that made it when it was discontinued. There used to be euro pillows and other cute pillows but darling hubby hated them so out they went.)When we were dating, I asked Hubby to put up the wrought-iron candle holders and the bedside lights. He spent HOURS making sure they went up absolutely perfectly. He told me last night that "I wanted to impress my girlfriend with my manly handyman skills!" Hee hee. :) No one else will probably notice this but the top of the lights have a band of the same chocolate-colored suede as the headboard. I was very excited the day I put those together.

2BR, 1B Condo for sale. FANTASTIC location.

So we are (obviously) trying to sell our condo before our move to Cali. Luckily, my company has a guaranteed buy-out program in the event that we cannot get it to move on our own. Since the condo market is tough, tough, tough, I have a feeling we will be taking them up on their offer. Anywho, we took the first steps by cleaning out a TON of stuff in preparation for the appraisal. We took care of all those annoying little things that you know you should fix but it doesn't bother you enough to actually drag out the tool box. If I do say so, our place has turned out nicely:

Living room and sunroom, as seen from the door.
Living room, first part of the kitchen, and front door, as seen from tiny corner.

Den, as seen from the door.

Living room as seen from den door.

Another den shot.

Believe me when I say we got rid of a TON of books/cds/dvds. We both have pretty extensive entertainment collections so we agreed if we hadn't touched it in a year, it had to go.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Project Runway

So I have been screwed by Comcast once again. The first 15 minutes of PR were fine and dandy. Avant garde design? Yes, please! However, Comcast decides to cut to commercial and all hell breaks loose. The screen splits in two, it starts rerunning the first 15 minutes, and then freezes. The best part? The audio is still in synch with the broadcast! So I can hear the episode but cannot see any of it. Having reconstructed the episode with help from Bravotv, I shall comment thus:

Christian/Chris: I wish I had seen Nina's face because that dress was fierce. Seriously, it is the first dress I've seen on PR *ever* that looked like a legitimate piece of couture. I was surprised that this team worked together. Maybe there's more to the bitchy pixie than I thought.

Rami/Sweet P: Sweet P's dress was cuter than I thought she'd be able to pull off. I have dismissed her most of the season (prom dress episode excluded - she totally should have won) but I really liked her work this ep. Rami was being a bit of an ass and I didn't really care for his garment. That being said, it seemed like he was more concerned with directing Sweet P's work than with finishing his own. Meh.

Victorya/Jillian: OMG, will you two put away your egos and get designing??? Jillian's coat was absolutely amazing, in a Vivian Westwood sort of way. I really didn't care for the britches, V. How Victorya keeps winning challenges mystifies me; I really don't care for aesthetic. Up to this point Jillian has been a solid middle-of-the-pack-er. However, this coat makes me rethink that position.

Kit/Ricky: I hate Ricky. There, I said it. I don't understand how he has made it this far, I honestly don't. His dresses have been totally blah, and his finishing sucks. If he doesn't go soon, I'm going to have to drink every time he cries. I really liked Kit but her "nesting" dress design looked like Laura Ingalls Wilder crossed with Scarlet O'Hara. It might have worked as a Christmas tree skirt better than an actual dress. O' Captain, my team captain, you will be missed.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Does it rain in California?

OMG. Must. Own. Seahorse raincoat. Anthropologie, $128.


Every day jewelry, Part 1:

I wear the same jewelry pretty much every day; small earrings (pearls, silver balls, or tiny diamond hoops), necklace (pearls or Elsa Peretti "E"), a watch, and three rings. I am lucky that my husband has bought me some spectacular pieces and I love them all so so much.

Ring one - "Proposal"
Darling husband wanted to propose but knew that I would probably have very strong feelings about my engagement ring. Sooo...he walked down to Tiffany and asked for suggestions. He chose the following "Celebration" band:
DH was very tricky and gave it to me on my birthday. When I opened the box, I was delighted (Tiffany, yes!!), but as it wasn't a traditional engagement ring, I just thought it was a pretty ring. (Full disclosure: I wasn't expecting anything because I thought that he would propose during our big trip during the holidays.) I ran around to kiss him when he said: "I'd like for us to look for another ring too." My exact thoughts were along the lines of "Huh?" And I oh-so articulately said "Uh, ok, uhm...wha?" Wonderfully patient husband (now on bended knee): "I'm asking you to MARRY ME!" Yeah, I finally got it at that point. Hee! I wore it as my engagement ring until we made ring number two, at which point the eternity band was switched to my right hand.

Ring two: "Engagement"

I'm thankful that DH knew enough not to buy such a personal piece of jewelry without any input. (Does that sound bad? Probably...) I have always wanted to wear my great-grandmother's diamond but hadn't said anything. How was he supposed to know that? Tiffany, unfortunately, won't reset diamonds so we went to a local jeweler and commissioned the following:

It is a serious set of stones so I don't always wear it, especially when out at night. People ask me if sapphires are my birthstone but they aren't; I just think they look stunning with diamonds. We did, however, get married in September so there you go.

Ring three: "Marriage"
I don't have a picture of my band but we commissioned it at the same jewelers where we did the engagement ring. It's a bar-set, five stone ring with a very low profile, set in thick platinum. When I don't want to wear the engagement ring out, I switch my proposal ring to the left and wear the two bands together. They're super sparkly and I love wearing them.

Flashback Friday

Happy snow day! (Me, circa 1983 during my first snow. How crazy are those highlights?! That's what living in Hawaii will do for ya!)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Sailing, sailing, on the open sea...

Ok, I was supposed to have a four day holiday this weekend. As it stands now, I will have to work both days off and the appraiser who was supposed to come today will be there Saturday. Four day holiday? Looks like one.

On the plus side? I will have a boat-load of holiday and overtime pay. The following beauties will be coming home with me from Tysons:I love Gap bathing suits. I love preppy, nautical-esque bikinis. Now, do I want this in navy or green? (*whisper* ...or both?)
Warning: horizontal stripes are a potential source of larger-bottomosis. Will have to think this one out further.
Gigantic when I picked it up. More than large enough to carry all of my sunscreens/hats/towels and the 20 things that DH wants but is unwilling to carry in a bag of his own.

Gap is really bad about having shoes in size 11. (Yes, I havc ginormous feet. They're actually even weirder; my left is an 11 and my right is a 10. Awesome.) These come in about ten colors and are $35. If they are comfortable I'll probably scoop them up in navy, red, and green too.

Oh the ruffle-neck polo. I love this look as an update to the standard popped collar.

Were that my legs were as long as the model's. As a beach cover-up, this is stellar. With the right sandals, you could get away with wearing it to a casual lunch place too!

Only 82 days until we move to the beach!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Veni. Vidi. Visa.

J.Crew sale + additional 25% off = Elliott's very happy lunch break. I also got a fabu sweater vest in navy, caramel, and ivory argyle. Prepaliciousness, I tell ya.