Sometimes when you run out of pots and planters, you just have to get inventive...

On my birthday, my coworkers took me out to a local tiki bar to celebrate, and this particular tiki bar serves their specialty drinks in very special mugs. On that particular occasion, I ordered a "Suffering Bastard," which was served in this beauty of a shark mug.  I mean, how am I supposed to walk into a bar and not get a drink served in a shark mug? But perhaps even more exciting than the mug itself was that, on your birthday, not only is your drink on the house, but the mug comes with it.

Stiff drink, free shark. What more can you ask for?

When I got him home, I thought it would be kind of hilarious to use him as a planter. I'd been meaning to introduce an aloe plant into our house, and it was just thin enough to fit in the jaws of this beast.

I am completely in love with just how weird this whole situation is. And am especially in love with how it looks like the shark took a huge chomp out of a green, prickly octopus, with its tentacles all sticking out.

Sorry, green, prickly octopus. It just wasn't your day.

And what's more, the hole on its snout, originally intended for a straw hole, makes the perfect little slot to water the aloe plant with.

Man, I love this thing.

So next time you're considering buying an overpriced planter at the garden center, consider making a left turn and heading to the local tiki bar. If nothing else, you'll get a strong mai tai that will give you the ridiculous idea to turn something else in your house into a goofy plant pot.



A few weeks ago, I was contacted to see if I would be interested in writing about my experience growing up in my little hometown in Darke County, Ohio. The piece ran on last weekend in the Visitors' Bureau insert in the Early Bird, the county newspaper (as did a couple of our engagement photos, which were taken at the Great Darke County Fair). I've got fond memories growing up in such a quaint and quiet place, and enjoy talking about its quirks and the things that make it special to anyone who may not be familiar. It was a fun piece to write, and, to be honest, was a lot easier to write than I initially thought it would be. While I may live hundreds of miles away, I still catch myself calling that place "home," and probably will until the day I die. I'm happy with the piece, and I wanted to share it with all my readers, even those who may not be familiar with that tiny, rural town where I grew up. Chances are, you may have a tiny town that these words conjure up warm feelings about, as well.

 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Pulling onto State Route 127 after six hours on the road, the feeling hits. A sense of warmth washes over me as our car careens north, passing through miles and miles of field, flora and farmland. It’s been a while since I’ve driven on country roads, but I know these ones by heart and fondly remember every wind and curve that takes me back to the place where I grew up.

It’s been six years since I moved to Milwaukee, where I was married last year, where I bought my home and where I plan to live for many years to come. But 29 years ago my roots were planted deep in Darke County, and every time I make the drive back, with every mile closer I reach, that same warm feeling swells. No matter how long I’ve been gone, I always refer to Greenville as “home.”

Whenever people ask about my hometown, I’m usually met with a quizzical look, to which I respond with the usual quip, “The birthplace of Annie Oakley! The only place where KitchenAid stand mixers are made! Have you ever heard of the Treaty of Greenville?” I could go on, and given the chance, I will. Given the chance, I’d describe the subtle spice of the sandwiches at the Maid-Rite, impossible to duplicate; of the restaurant’s brick walls covered in gum and about the afternoons we’d walk there after school in junior high. I’d tell them how the official start of summer directly coincides with the opening day at Jim’s Drive In. I’d talk up the Great Darke County Fair, and how exciting it would be to stroll down the midway, aglow in flashing lights. I’d tell them about how the long line for Farmer Brown sandwiches was well worth the wait; how you’ll never feel more refreshed than after slurping down a Rotary Lemonade Shake-Up; how a colorful wooden cane is the greatest prize you could ever hope to win; how I can still hear the warm voice ringing throughout the grounds, calling me to meet my friends at the Mike Tent.

If prodded to continue, I’d speak with pride about the ability to pinpoint the smell of a hog farm, and how the best pork chop you’ll ever eat will come from Winner’s. I’d speak about my favorite stretch of land, out on my grandparents’ property on Byrely Road, sandwiched between corn fields, with a stream sweetly flowing through. I’d conjure the memory of my cousins and I, falling through the ice on that stream when I was young, horrified not so much that our feet would freeze, but that we’d surely be in a heap of trouble. I’d talk about how we were greeted with hugs--not scolding--and the memory of the four of us in line, lying with our feet up, warming by the wood-burning stove.

If, by this time, this person is still interested in learning more about the place where I grew up, I’d smile and describe with detail the thrill of playing Capture the Flag in the Greenville City Park, of sledding down Memorial Hill and hoping that, this time, you just might have built up enough momentum to make it all the way to the ice-covered lagoon. I’d lean in and whisper about the time I “borrowed” a baby duckling from the park lagoon when I was five years old, about how I brought it home, named it Puddles and called it my new pet...all before my parents had discovered what I’d done and made me take him back. I’d explain how it was simple for me to go so, as my hometown was quaint and safe enough for someone so young to walk a couple blocks down to the park to play.

But more than anything, if given the chance to summarize my experience growing up in Darke County, I’d describe the feeling of pride I have to count this place as home. It’s slow-moving and simple, laid-back and friendly. It may not come with the thrill of living in the heart of a bustling city, but when you look up at night and see the sea of stars twinkling over the gentle plains of farmland, you feel a sense of contentment that can’t be reproduced. It’s the place that I’ll always refer to as “home,” no matter where I travel, no matter how many years I’ve been away from this humble stretch of rural land with roads that wind their way to homes filled with the same warm memories as my own.



Hey... it's Friday, the sun is shining in Milwaukee and there's rumor that it might hit 70 degrees (inland). That is reason enough for a thousand virtual high fives to you, my friends. It's also reason enough to share some of the things that have been grabbing my attention on Pinterest. Here goes!


Home is where your heart is. | Jessica Silversaga
[I love the rugged simplicity of this bathroom. The classic white subway tile on the walls and the mini hexagon tiles on the floor...both decked out with dark grout. I love the old sink on beat-up legs and I especially love all the brass plumbing in the room. It reminds me of a little bathroom you'd find in an old French hotel.]

Design*Sponge Sneak Peek: The nook”: This is our wee little guest room (well, I may have taken a few naps in there as well.) The back wall is Krylon chalkboard paint with rubbed chalk. The lights are from Target and the bed is Ikea.
[If there's space for it, everyone should have a napping nook like this one. A little tucked away corner with dreamy lights and a chalkboard accent wall for jotting down thoughts. Love this little space.]

Image Via: Remain Simple
[I guess I've just been drawn to stark white spaces recently? There's something to be said for a well-styled kitchen. The baby-pink coffee maker and bowl up on the shelf are basically perfection together, and mix in those little patterned mugs and copper mule mugs and it's just all so gorgeous.]

Trend to Try: Half Painted Zigzag Walls
[Just to prove that, yes, this is Rachel and she does still have a thing for bright colors, I have to include this sweet kid's room. I love, love, love the jagged, almost "mountaintop" paint job on the wall, and all the colors are just so sweet together without being too saccharine.]

Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Tacos with Lime Crema Recipe on twopeasandtheirpod.com LOVE these healthy tacos!
[With the weather warming up, I say bring on the bright, fresh flavors, like these roasted cauliflower and chickpea tacos. Don't they look delicious? Serve 'em up with a margarita and that's one awesome summer dinner.]

cake with edible flowers | designlovefest
[This simple cake had me smitten all dressed up with scatters of edible flowers. It's understated, beautiful and so fun with its smattering of bright colors.]

Chocolate mousse pie with peanut butter whip + pretzel crust by Ashlae | oh, ladycakes,
[There's basically nothing that Ashlae at Oh, Ladycakes makes that I don't want to devour right away (girl makes vegan baking look like child's play). But when she posted this chocolate mousse pie with peanut butter whip and pretzel crust on our mutual birthday last Friday, I basically stumbled all over myself to pin this recipe away for the next rainy day.]


Aplomb Aplenty: Bold Stripes + Bright Florals.
[I think this is just the sweetest outfit. Love the mix of patterns while matching the red in both the skirt and shirt. So cute for summer.]

Converse All Star Sneakers for Unisex
[I've got a dilemma. I want these white Converse All Stars but also I know my history with white shoes...I'll wear them to a show, they'll get trampled on and then I'll, well, continue wearing them because hey I spent good money on them and what am I going to do, just throw them away because they're a little grungy? I'm on the fence about buying them, even though I think they'd be so fun to wear with skinny jeans and a lose t-shirt this summer.]

maxi dress and knotted tee
[I like the idea of dressing down a maxi dress or skirt by topping it with a plain ol' t-shirt, then tying it at the waist, early-'90s style. This is a great look for the summer street festival scene.]

Heart Straw - Pack Of 20
[Do I have an event in mind where I'd use these heart straws? No. Do I care? No. Do I still want them so I can drink Moscow Mules through them all summer? Absolutely.]

Sunny Life Beach Radio - SO cute, want this!!
[This is a portable radio and it's completely something that I do not need whatsoever but, I mean, come on.... the colors are so cute and it looks like a little happy robot that just wants to make your beach party more fun with bubblegum pop tunes.]

"Rachy Likey" is a new-ish board that's quickly become one of my favorites. I just fill it up with random things that stand out to me... fun colors, cute ideas, beautiful pictures....anything that makes me stop and look at it for a bit longer than I would anything else. 
polka dot mini cheesecakes
[From the food styling to the overall shoot styling I love everything about this pic.]

[From now on, I'm never not going to top my succulent pots in anything but hot pink gravel. Mark my words.]

little pink beach shacks
[I don't know where this magical beach is that's filled with sherbet-colored cabanas but I want to rent one for the day and eat cupcakes in there.]

pastel + nude.
[Can I have all of these chairs? I'll even mount them all on a wall if it means I can have them all. In those colors exactly.]


stop it
[And, just because it's Friday and I don't know if you've met your quota of seeing big, floppy puppy ears for the week.....here you go. This one's on me.]

There are plenty more where these came from! To see everything I pin all week long, follow me on Pinterest.

While you're at it, like What I'm Loving Today on Facebook, too.



My favorite comedian is John Mulaney. He's smart, self-deprecating and I've listened to both of his stand-up albums, "The Top Part" and "New in Town" a dozen or so times each in the past couple of years and I'm not tired of them yet. I'm pretty excited about his upcoming sitcom, and hope it does well. Anyway, in one of my favorite bits from "New in Town," which is actually the joke the title of the album is taken from, Mulaney describes running into a homeless man who introduces himself by listing four (unsettling) things about him, unsolicited....it keeps me in stitches, and within one of my favorite parts of that bit, a character of his asks, "What are three other things about him?"

Just watch it for yourself.

Anyway, now that I've shared one thing about myself today, in honor of this fabulous joke, I am going to share three other, completely random, thoughts about me, right now.

Three Other Things - I'm Loving Today

I have been very much enjoying Nickel Creek's "The Dotted Line." I've been a Nickel Creek fan for a long time...since their 2000 self-titled debut. Comprising of three former child prodigies on their respective instruments, their music is beautiful and sweet, sometimes romping and playful, sometimes tragic and heartbreaking. It's light listening, but has always made me happy. The band parted ways after 2005's splendid "Why Should the Fire Die," and when I learned of their reunion and (surprise!) new album last month, I was pretty excited. The Dotted Line picks up wonderfully where Why. . . left off. Lyrically and, as impossible as it seems, musically, it's easy to tell the musicians have all grown up (sure, they've been around for 25 years, but started when two band members were eight, and one was 12). I was sold damn near immediately.

This summer, I want to read all of my favorite childhood books over again. A couple weeks ago, after watching the first trailer for the upcoming film adaptation of "The Giver," I remembered how much I enjoyed the book the first time I read it, when I was 11 or 12 years old. I also remembered how I always thought it would make for a great movie, though the trailer (shot in what looks like full color for the duration of the film...which, frankly, is kind of a slap in the face to the main premise of the book...but I digress) didn't look like it was going to hold a candle to the beloved novel. Anyway, I "check out" the eBook on my iPad from my local library (which is some pretty futuristic stuff in itself), and read it over the span of two days. I really enjoyed revisiting the book from an adult perspective, and was even more affected by the ending that I remember being as a pre-teen. I've got a list of books I'd like to read this summer ("Unbroken," "The Fault in Our Stars" and a Teddy Roosevelt biography--thank you, HIMYM), but after rereading "The Giver," I'm curious to revisit some of my childhood favorites. I'd start with Road Dahl, as he was my childhood hero (and still is, to a degree), and maybe even give "Matilda" another go around (I read "Matilda" 15 times as a kid). I just think it would be fun to read these stories with 20 more years of life under my belt just to see how I view them today.

Batiste Dry Shampoo is the best beauty product I've discovered in a loooonnggg time. When beauticians started telling people that you should only wash your hair a couple times a week to keep hair healthy, this was music to my incredibly lazy ears. You see, I'll never be a "wash and go" type of girl, as I've got some weird-ass curls going on up on my head that can't be tamed (and just don't look great naturally). It takes me quite a while to get my hair in presentable order, so you can understand why I'd want to cut back on performing this task as much as possible. I hopped on board the "three times a week" train, but needed something to freshen up my hair in between. After trying a handful of dry shampoos on the market, I stumbled across Batiste. I was mostly drawn in by the garishly bright packaging, but when I tried it out, I was amazed by A) How great it smelled and B) How it sopped up head grease (sorry, that sounds gross) so easily. It also adds great volume and helps hold your style throughout the day. You guys, it's a wonder product. But what made it even MORE wonderful was when I discovered the dark brown hair version... no more "powdered wig" look when you freshly spray it on. The colored dry shampoo basically matches my hair perfectly before I even work the product in. It's incredible and at around $7 a can you can't beat the price of this hair saver.



I've been blogging on this here site for (more or less) five years. There have been periods of inactivity (Hello, 2013), along with stretches where I was busting out at least three posts for week (2011, the year we bought our home). There are so many times I regret not being a good blogger, not posting enough, not posting the absolute highest-quality stuff I possibly can. I refuse to post "just to post" anymore, while I also refuse to let months go by without posting a word (I still owe you guys a better round up of our wedding, including more photos... look for that as our anniversary creeps up next month). I want to be good to you guys. I want you to continue loving this space and I want to continue loving it myself.

In an effort to recommit myself to this blog, I finally got around to making an official Facebook page for it, which went live this morning. There, I'll share all blog posts, as well as other fun inside scoops on behind-the-blog kinds of things (including more photos of who has become the blog's official mascot, Mr. Pancakes...and Lieu Lieu, if I can ever get her to pose for the camera). It's been a long time coming, and I think I'm finally back to a place where I can keep up with my job, two blogs, an official Facebook page, never-ending house projects, making things I love and also working in some freelance writing while I'm at it. I'm kind of tired just thinking about all of those things, but it's the kind of tired I welcome with arms and legs and ears and appendages.

So, anyway, the main reason behind the post is to get you lovely readers over to Facebook to "like" I'm Loving Today's official page. So...do that. Please? I'm thinking of hosting a giveaway once I get close to a certain number of likes, so keep on the lookout for that. I'll announce it when the time comes.

The littler reason behind this post is to let you all know that this blog is going to lean toward a slightly broader focus going forward. Sure, it will be mainly about home decor and DIY adventures as it has been for years now, but I also want to make it a space where I can feel free to share whatever the heck is taking up space in my ding-dong ol' brain. I love sharing lifestyle posts with you (like the "29 Thoughts" from last week), and it's the kind of writing I enjoy doing most. So look out for more general posts ahead. (*Salutes* "General Posts.")

Okay, thanks for lending your ear, errrr...eyes for a bit. You guys rock and roll.

Also, if you haven't done so yet, like my page.


Yesterday, a couple dozen antiques and vintage dealers collected to sell their goods in the Anodyne Coffee Walker's Roastery in Milwaukee. Obviously, attending this event was a no-brainer for me. A fabulous coffee shop filled with vintage home decor, furniture, clothes and records for the taking? I'm in.

The doors opened at 10:00 am, and when Eric and I arrived at 10:30 the place was already bustling. It was a little difficult to maneuver through the crowds huddled around each vendor booth, but if you could squeeze yourself in, there were so many fun things to see. Because of my inherent, unshakable awkwardness, I couldn't fully register everything in my first pass through the vendors. I'm a mess in crowded areas, especially in those that are filled with so many visuals, so I decided to make one full sweep to scope out things that immediately caught my eye, then another to go back and seriously consider items I'd like to buy. It was a strategy that paid off nicely, and I came home with a gut full of tasty coffee and some lovely finds, all for just $55.

While I love vintage clothing, I wasn't in the market for any yesterday. The majority of what was being sold was clothes, and I just didn't have the patience for sorting through racks. Plus, vintage clothes shopping is always a crapshoot when it comes to sizing. As Americans have gotten fatter, sizing has accommodated the fatness and thus, vintage clothes sizes don't always match what we're used to today. So I bypassed the clothes and focused strictly on my forte: home decor.

On my first pass through, I took mental note of a couple of things that initially caught my eye. If I was still thinking about them after my first full sweep, I'd go back and buy them (if they were still available). By the time I reached the end of the vendor line, I'd had my list of things I loved, and went back through to think about purchasing more seriously. Now, I'm not a born haggler. I always feel like a cheapskate or I'm taking advantage of a person's kindness, but as Eric reminded me yesterday, the vendors are used to haggling on pricing. "Anyone who pays full price here," he explained, "Is an idiot."

So, after two sweeps of the place, here's what I came home with:

A gorgeous blanket, a little deer-head wall mount, a burro figurine (which is actually an old cigarette dispenser...you put the cigarettes in his pack, pull on his ears and the cigarette comes out of his butt as his tail lifts. I'm almost tempted to take up smoking just to use it for its intended use) and a little "S s" vintage flashcard (for our last name). Curious cat was not included, but as soon as I laid the blanket down, he flopped himself on it and would not budge. He was in love with it as much as I was.

Let's start with the deer.

I picked up the deer from my pal Caleb of Brew City Salvage. He's the picker for my beloved Bay View Trading Co. shop that I've covered a couple of times on Make, Do and Mend. I thought the little deer was sweet, and knew it would make a great addition to the gallery wall in our living/dining area. Home he came, and now he's taking up great space with his new pal Porker and the nice pair of hooters just below.

The little burro cigarette dispenser was the first thing I saw at One Trick Pony that I really loved, for whatever reason. It grabbed my attention, and I couldn't shake it... I paid $5 for him and am thinking about filling him with candy cigarettes, to the hoped delight of future guests at the Seis residence. I'm not 100% sold on where I have him living now on the side table in our living room, but for now it's as good a spot as any.

The "S s" flashcard is just kind of hanging out next to little raccoon dude in our vintage portable record player for now. I had initially wanted to hang it from a mini clip board on the wall, but it just didn't look right. Here, it rests nicely.

But let's get down to my favorite find of the day, my new Southwest-style blanket. I am in total love with this thing, and had been looking for one like it for a while now. It was covering a display table at the vendor Fox and Fawns, and I didn't think it was for sale. It caught my eye, so I decided to just ask if she'd be willing to sell it. The lovely girl running the shop said she would, and very nicely disassembled her display to let me take a look at it. It has a couple of holes, which I should be able to mend up alright, so she sold it to me for $30. What a find!

After bringing it home and laying it across the floor, it looked amazing as a rug between our living room and dining area. However, it's a little too delicate to hold up as a rug in a high-trafficked area, so I decided to throw it across the back of our couch for a bohemain feel.

Annnnnndddd... I love it there. I love the blanket's colors and pattern. I love how it makes everything look even more eclectic and full of color.

I mean, how great does it look under those antlers? SO happy about this find.

If I could have, I would've taken a lot more home that day, but I told myself to stick around $50. The four things I did buy, I love. They're fun and quirky and add some extra happiness in the house. I hope One Tricky Pony isn't a one-time thing. As much as I love antiquing, it can be daunting and exhausting looking through so much at shops scattered all over the place. When the shops come to you with their best goods, you've got enough time to find a few things you love, then get out there and enjoy the rest of the (what turned out to be beautiful) day.



It's April 4th, 2014 and that means it's the first day of the 29th year that I've been rocking and rolling all over this planet of ours.

Last year, I compiled a list of 28 random thoughts on the day of my birth. As I enjoyed it thoroughly, I think I'd like to make this a little tradition each year. I can only imagine what my thoughts will be on my 100th birthday.... the answer is, obviously: Still awesome.

On with the thoughts.

1.  Here I am, 364 days away from my 30th b-day, and I could swear I am still 17. Still like the same kind of music. Still like the same kind of movies. Still going to Target for weekend entertainment. I will be 17 forever.

2. I believe 17-year-old me was probably a bit more mature than 21-year-old me. For a few years in college and a couple after, I regressed. But I'm pretty sure, for the most part, almost everyone does a little substance-induced regression in those four fleeting years.

3. But seriously, if I don't get back to Athens, Ohio, and the Most Magical Place on Earth (Ohio University) sometime this year, I will slide into a deep, dark depression. Friends, don't let this happen to me.

4. Next month Eric and I will be celebrating our first wedding anniversary. How in the total hell did a year pass since that day?

5. I get invested in really trivial things way too easily... things like movies and books and television. Case in point: From 2008 through this past Monday, every Monday I tuned in to "How I Met Your Mother." Its first few seasons were some of the most compelling, entertaining, emotional and smart episodes of television I've seen. I stuck through it in the last few, incredibly unremarkable seasons because I was invested in the characters and the titular endgame we had been promised since the pilot. While I will not divulge any spoilers, it's taken me a while to process Monday's finale. After the credits rolled, I sat, sorting through my emotions for half an hour before I could speak my mind about it. Once I tried to voice my feelings to Eric, I started BAWLING. Tears freely flowing for 10 minutes. I wasn't exactly sure why. I couldn't turn them off! Was I sad that this show, the only one other than my beloved "Friends" I'd invested so many years of my life to, was over? Was it based on the ending of the show? I'm still not sure why I reacted that way, or why I only got four hours of sleep that following night because I was up thinking about it for hours...but it struck me harder than a television should. IT'S JUST TV!!! IT SHOULD NOT AFFECT YOUR SLEEPING PATTERNS. But it does. And I'm still sorting out my feelings. I love you, TV.

6. So, um... anyway....Remember the Olympics? That sure was a thing that happened two months ago!

7. Did you know they make carrot cake candy corn now? Have you tried it? It tastes like carrot cake. RUN, don't walk, to your nearest Brach's retailer and buy this stuff up before Easter.

8. You know those mornings when you wake up and inexplicably have some random song looping through your brain and you're not exactly sure how in the hell it got there? For the past three days, for me, it's been R. Kelly's "Ignition (Remix)." Bounce, bounce, bounce, bounce, bounce, bounce.

9. Ten years ago, on my 19th birthday, I was asked what kind of beer I wanted to celebrate with and I said "Natural Light in bottles." Because "in bottles" is the classy way to drink a $7 12-pack of beer.

10. Tonight, I believe I'll enjoy a nice IPA. Three Floyd's, maybe. And though it might come from a bottle, I bet it'll be poured into a nice glass first. This is maturity, you guys.

11. I don't believe there's been one time in the past year where I haven't thoroughly studied a restaurant's online menu before going there for the first time. Paralyzed by indecision, I get incredible anxiety when forced to make a decision that could ultimately effect the rest of my day/night.

12. However, if any menu features a nice seared scallop, I can pretty much shut the menu right then and there, because the decision's been made for me.

13. Last weekend I saw "Grand Budapest Hotel" and was absolutely enchanted by it from start to finish. It's Wes Anderson's best movie since "The Royal Tenenbaums" (my personal favorite), and everything from the set to the cinematography to acting was right on the mark. Simply wonderful.

14. Two of my favorite shows ever are "Jeopardy!" and "Wheel of Fortune." As any good 68-year-old would do, I sit at home, watch my games and play along. Often I work out during the two, so I'm working my brain and my body. It's the one-two punch that's gotten me to where I am today. I'll probably never qualify for "Jeopardy!" (by the way, I'm an Arthur Chu fan, and I wish Ken Jennings was my best pal), but I'll be damned if I don't try to get on "Wheel" some day. It's my destiny.

15. Speaking of "Wheel," I know this happened a couple of weeks ago, but if you haven't seen it, this is the most amazing solve of a bonus-round puzzle I have ever seen. Watch it, then read the A.V. Club article about it. Even Pat Sajak said it was the most impressive solve he's witnessed in his 30+ years as host of the show (yes, I follow @patsajak on Twitter. Yes I am a huge, huge nerd.) AMAZING.

16. For the past few days, I can't stop thinking about learning to play my favorite instrument, the mandolin. I've been researching pricing (they're 'spensive!) and I already (poorly) play guitar. Is the mandolin difficult to pick up? I think this particular instrument will lend itself nicely to my infant-sized hands, and also maybe I can make my dream of heading a punk-bluegrass band finally come true.

17. Speaking of music, last night, I traveled to Madison with my husband to see Against Me! This band does not put on a bad show. Their latest album, Transgender Dysphoria Blues, will probably end up in my Top 3 Albums of 2014.

18. If I had to choose one savory snack to eat for the rest of my lifetime, it would be popcorn, lightly salted.

19. If I had to choose one sweet snack to eat for the rest of my lifetime, it would be ice cream. No... s'mores. No...chocolate-chip cookies. No....

20. What I'm saying here is, come on, bring me some snacks.

21. If I could say something to 19-year-old Rachel, it would be this: Right now you're going through an incredibly rough time. What I can't promise is that your 20s won't hold many more difficult patches. What I can promise is that one day things will come together. You'll get your dream and you'll continue working for those other dreams you didn't think could happen. Keep living. Keep having a blast with your friends, and in 10 years you'll find yourself in a place where you're more content than you ever thought you'd be.

22. If I could say something to 39-year-old Rachel, it would be this: You'll be 40 soon, and that's okay. I hope you're still writing, and I hope you've got a catalog of work you truly are proud of. If you've got kids, that's awesome...if you don't, you're still just as awesome. I know you're still laughing at fart jokes...just keep doing that to the grave, and things will be alright. Don't let yourself feel like you're too old to enjoy loud music in dingy venues. You aren't.

23. There is no bigger comfort in life than the donning of the "Double Gray." Don't know what the Double Gray is? Put on a pair of heather-gray sweatpants, then top it with with a worn-in heather gray sweatshirt (bonus points if it's a crew neck). Sit on the couch and soak it all in. Monochrome sweatsuits are the definition of "I sincerely do not care what I look like, but I'll be damned if I've never felt more comfortable."

24. The day I first sported the Double Gray in front of my husband was the day I knew we were destined to be the happiest old-people couple on the planet.

25. Last week I walked into Target and was horrified when the first three racks of clothing I saw were nothing but cropped, midriff-bearing shirts. Wwwhhhhhhyyyyy???? Why is this still a thing and who are the youths trying to make this look happen?

26. Really what I'm saying is, would it be a faux-pas to buy all the skirts and dresses in Target's maternity line solely because they look comfortable and would also appropriately conceal my gut.

27. Sorry, folks, I just can't get behind oil-pulling. I tried it and lasted 15 seconds before I nearly gagged and quit. I'll just stick with toothpaste, mouth wash and the occasional floss, thanks.

28. However I will swear by using coconut oil as a face moisturizer and hair smoother. That stuff's bananas. Just kidding, it's coco-nuts. (I'm sorry)

29. I'm 29 and the world can't stop me. At this very moment, I do not give one single cuss about turning 30 next year. We'll revisit this thought in 364 days, but, until then, viva la veintinueve!



I've been trying my damnedest not to get sucked into all those online quizzes that are so ubiquitous on the Internet these days. Sure, I've fallen into the trap of some. Of course I want to know which  "Freaks and Geeks" character I am (Nick! My favorite Freak!) or what my actual High School Superlative is (Class Clown--which, fun fact, was my actual Superlative), or, naturally, what kind of cat I am (Hairless. I demand a recount.). However, there's too many of them out there now, half of which don't pertain to me at all ("Which Famous Knight Are You?" Um, come again?) and, honestly, they're frivolous time wasters (but never too frivolous when it comes to learning the answer of which "Friends" character is your lobster).

Unless one of those quizzes is going to tell you which amazing, talented celebrity decorator "gets" you.

Obviously, this one is right in my wheelhouse, and considering the decorators in question are five of my absolute, all-time favorites, including my imaginary best friend Emily Henderson, there's no way I wasn't jumping all over this one.

Emily Henderson, Jonathan Adler, Kelly Wearstler, the Property Brothers, Nate Berkus

It's a pretty darn fun quiz--take it yourself! You basically just pick which pillows you like, which paint color is more "you," what gorgeous scenery would your dream home would be placed in and what's well-stocked on your bar cart.

I carefully considered my answers, sometimes torn between options (the pillow question was harder for me than most on my ACT exam), but eventually I reached the end, and....


HOORAY! Obviously, this means that we really are supposed to be real-life best friends, even if we live half a country away. Our bond is strong, and I know we can make it work. Also, I know when most of these quizzes that send you off with a "wrap up" answer as to why you're this character, thing, animal, knight... the answers don't exactly match up with who you really are/think you are. But gang, at the risk of coming off narcissistic here, this one is spot on. Not saying I'm "the cool girl," but you know how much I love flea-market finds, antiques and DIYs. Those last two sentences describe me to a T.

Anyway, Em herself (I can call her that now) took the quiz and the write-up about it on her own blog is absolutely hilarious. Caught in a defining moment of existential turmoil, she really hemmed and hawed over answers, worrying that she wouldn't see her own photo after finishing the quiz. She's a riot, so after you take the quiz for yourself, head on over to her blog and read about her own experience, question by question.

And let me know which decorator you get, too!



Last week, I discovered a magazine I'd never come across before: Sweet Paul magazine. I'm not sure how I'd never heard of it before (it's for sale in Mecca Anthropologie stores); it's basically all about everything I love: Great design, home decorating, DIY projects and delicious recipes. As I flipped through the pages, I fell more and more in love. It was like I found my soulmate, in print.

I discovered the magazine because one of the neat things about my job is I get to page through dozens of different magazines, looking for inspiration. I was "getting inspired" by Sweet Paul mag last week when my coworker James mentioned that he, too, was a huge fan. He told me to check out the magazine's web site, and, more specifically, to check out the dyed mop head wall art project. James said he tried the project out at home and, the way he described it, I just had to see the outcome.

It's funny, you wouldn't think a bunch of dyed mop heads hanging from a wall would be beautiful, but once James sent me pictures of his project, I was floored. It looked amazing! I asked if I could share his photos with you, my friends, and he graciously said yes.

Pretty cool, right? I love the texture, the bold colors and the huge impact it makes on the wall. Fabric and woven wall hangings are HUGE right now, and this is a totally creative way to add some major wow factor into your home. And can you imagine these in an ombre effect from top to bottom? So gorgeous.

For instructions (which are pretty straightforward), click on over to Sweet Paul mag's web site. But James was kind enough to share some tips that he picked up while making his own installation that should help your process go smoothly from dye to dry.

1. You can pick up simple cotton mop heads at Lowe's in packs of three. James was able to to get those rich colors by using one bottle to fully dye two mop heads.

2. With every bottle of dye, mix with three gallons of water. James suggests using a large tub or bucket to dye the mop heads, rather than the washing machine method ("Trust me," he said, "You'll get stringy cotton fibers that you won't be able to get out of the washer for days...")

3. Unless you want to walk around with purple hands for days, use rubber gloves when dyeing!

4. Once everything's been dyed, rinse the mop heads out just until the water runs clear. Don't worry about the post-wash step...you won't be wearing the mop heads (unless that's your thing), so you won't have to worry about the colors running or bleeding onto other garments in the wash.

5. Allow for a full week of drying time before hanging. James recommends moving around and adjusting the mop heads throughout the drying process to help things air out.

6. To hang, "part" the mop heads in half (like you would with your hair), and nail the base of the head (where you've parted the fibers) to the wall. You might want to draw a level line on the wall to make sure everything's aligned just right.

Here, you can see James' installation process. Pretty fun, eh?

Notice how he fluffed up the mop heads after each row was installed, and snipped any strangling pieces to make things a bit more even.

If I had any extra space on my walls, I would totally do this project in my own home. Alas, I've barely a square foot to work with at the moment. But if you try this one out, I'd love to see how yours turned out! (P.S. Check out the totally-awesome version of this project as an Anthro installation). Thanks, James, for sharing your photos and tips. You did an incredible job!



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