I am the worst

Obviously I've fallen off the posting wagon.

As you will soon read, I have also been thrown off headfirst, helmetless and at 100 miles per hour another kind of wagon (the healthy eating and normal alcohol consumption variety).

A brief synopsis of the past week:

Wednesday night in Milwaukee - Tapas and wine with Jon's colleagues. No, we really didn't need to drink tonight. But we did. Because we were invited out of the house! With other people!
Thursday - AM flight to New York City followed by obesifying Thanksgiving meal, the worst Giants rage I have witnessed yet, and as a result, wine.
Friday - Hangover, train to Princeton, New Jersey for wedding rehearsal and dinner, more wine.
Saturday - Hangover (furious), wedding, and the best appetizer selection we have ever seen: made to order mini Philly cheesesteaks, mini burgers and fries, yaketori, massive raw bar-slash-Jon's cocktail hour home (lump crab meat, oysters, clams, shrimp, crab legs), pasta station AND passed hors d'oeuvres that included, but were not limited to: clams casino, quesadilla spring rolls, shrimp tempura, lamb chops, spinach and goat cheese pastries . . . I'm stopping because my love handles just punched my butt in the face. I don't know how that's possible, but it happened.
Sunday - Hangover. 8:45 AM train to New York City. "Thanksgiving" sushi lunch with Jon's dad where his father consumed 42 pieces of sushi. I repeat: 42. Meet up with long lost family and friends in the village! Woo hoo!
Monday - Hangover. (Is anyone surprised?) 4:30 AM wakeup call for 6:30 AM flight (was that really necessary?) back to Milwaukee. Land in midwest, picked up by visiting brother Jeb (yes!) and deposited directly at my work's front door. Super. Stand on feet for 8.5 hours. Ground myself for poor decision-making regarding diet for past 5 days. Give thanks for black leggings.

Will return once grounding is over. Hope you had a wonderful and healthier Thanksgiving!

Let the Holidays Begin!

Here in Milwaukee the holiday season officially began a week ago with the "tree" lighting ceremony (more on that puppy later). This past Saturday was the 83rd Annual Milwaukee Holiday Parade. 
At 9:30 AM. 
Due to our highly effective sleeping schedule, Jon and I were wide awake and had already been out doing errands by 8:30 AM. Of course we'd like to start our Saturday with a delightful parade and balloons!

 Fun fact: Marching bands are huge here (UW Madison's is nationally famous - I was exhausted just watching their fancy kicks). We probably saw at least 8 high school/middle school bands during the parade - let's be real, those kids were sleepwalking at that hour.

That center photo is from a middle school band. I am fairly sure she could fit in her saxophone case.
And/or that is the most lifelike blow-up instrument I have ever seen.

The Sheriff's and police departments also got in on the mix with their horses. I love horses. Love them. Jon and I plan to have a horse farm when we are older.
No, he does not know that yet.

The horses were followed by a street cleaner. Considering the amount of foot traffic on the roads and the teenage propensity for morning rage, I feel this was a smart call.

It wouldn't be Milwaukee without beer, brats and Harley bikes.

Actually, the hombre up top was drinking 7 and 7, though PBR's were in attendance, as well. Please note the 8 foot wooden handle on the world's largest grill. Genius.

Meet Mayor Tom Barrett. Hah!

So what if I tell people we're related? And that injured hand - that's from when Mayor Barrett tried to protect a woman from her daughter's abusive boyfriend. He was beating her up with a pipe in a parking lot at Summerfest. Intense. He probably doesn't even need that brace anymore, but I'd totally wear it for sympathy, too. This was a work event.

The Milwaukee Mascots had to make a showing - good 'ole Bernie the Brewer and his friends the "Racing Sausages": Bratwurst, Polish Sausage, Italian Sausage, Hot Dog and Chorizo. Please meet Hot Dog, Italian Sausage, and Bratwurst. Polish Sausage was crafty and ran away before I could get a good shot. Chorizo gave me the backside. Rude.

Italian Sausage got pretty spicy with his fluttering hand moves, running around in circles like Mario and Luigi. It has been said "he enjoys the aura of excitement given off by the crowd . . . [and that] someone of his caliber and popularity is sure to pump up the fans." Mission accomplished!

But my very favorite part of the parade were the dogs, dressed in their holiday finery, and of course, Milwaukee's Dancing Grannies.

That poor animal in the Santa Claus suit. I'm pretty sure he's mouthing the words I will kill you all to the larger, less embarassed dogs. Jon and I both agreed we could picture our friend Jessie doing this to Mabel, her "spirited" Yorkshire Terrier.

What's that gentleman doing? Only hand-feeding candy to each of the dancing grannies. All but one, who shook her head no and turned away to make the sign of the cross.
That's got to be the highlight of his holiday season.

It truly was a delightful morning.

P.S. That S.C. dog is on the verge. If I were it's owner, I'd be sleeping with one eye open.

It was a Plethora of Midwest Riches This Weekend

Photos forthcoming. Took forever to load!


Work Emails

A snippet from an email thread between Jon's colleagues.

"How Pumpkins are Made:"

I mean, sick. On the plus side, I think I feel comfortable saying no to pumpkin pie dessert next week.

*Where does one find that toilet setup?

Oh that Kate Moss

"Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels."


In the meantime, my love handles and shrinking jeans are prepared to wholeheartedly dispute that.


Apparently Steak Knives

is a common male ailment. Interesting . . .

Sorry so slow on the posting - catching up on a long list of chores that has been burning a hole through my purse for weeks.

Will be back soon!


Steak Knives

It's finally getting chilly. The heat in our bedroom is slow to warm, which means when we first head to bed, Jon and I are usually snuggled up like a pair of earthworms. By midnight, the covers are gone and we're both dangling off opposite sides of the bed with a white sheet desert between us.

Before that happens, I am in danger of serious scarring from Jon's toenails. Which I also like to call his steak knives.

As in: "Ow, watch the steak knives!" [Uttered verbatim last night.]

The steak knives are so sharp I fear waking with permanent, unsightly gouges on my calves, should Jon have a particularly violent karate nightmare. I'm also considering giving up shaving the bottom half of my legs altogether, as it no longer appears necessary. That one's a plus.

Anticipating the long, cold winters here, I've now added rubber legwarmers to my Christmas list.

This morning Jon told me:

I grow them out as a weapon. They are a form of protection.

I have no words.



An amuse bouche, if you will, of the Badger/Purdue game a few weeks back . . .

Chilling at the bar before the game at 10:30 AM . . .

The Badger mascot got in on the fun, dressed as a ghost.

More on Camp Randall and the Big Ten game later.
Have a great day!


Early Bird Special

Here's a taste of our daily schedule in good ole 'Sconsin:

5:15 AM: Get up, Jon showers, I feed Houston and myself and diddle around 'til he's ready.
I did. I went and wrote diddle.
5:50 AM: Drive Jon to work.
6:00 AM: Get back into bed. Sleep diagonally and on 6 pillows. Because I can.
7:45 AM: Get up again. Dress, etc. and head out for work on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Get ready for chiropractor appointments and errands on Wednesdays and Fridays.
9:00 - 5:30 PM: Work and stuff.

5:45 PM:

Jon: I'm hungry. What's for dinner?
Moi: Takeout.
Jon: Hilarious, pauper.
Moi: Fine. I will cook for you, but I can promise you it won't be as tasty as Izumi's sushi!
Jon: Nice try. I'll do the dishes.
Moi: God. Fine.
Jon: (Sigh.) I can't wait 'til Friday.
Moi: Why? Because we eat out on the weekends?
Jon: No.


In an effort to keep our bodies in line with this very rigorous schedule, we eat out at 6:00 PM on the weekends. On the plus side we hit the happy hour dinner special nine times out of ten. On the down side, by 7:30, our stomachs are full, we've exhausted whatever peoplewatching is available and we're usually getting pushed out by the teenage waitress.

If we're really on a bender and decide to try a new place for a beer, we might make it to 9:30 PM.

At which point Jon starts yawning and I remind myself we are cool on the inside.
And more importantly, that sleep keeps wrinkles at bay.
Botox shmotox. I'm practically de-aging at this point.



Love this chest, especially the pinky red details.

Via Apartment Therapy


Sharon Core

Discovered Sharon Core's "Early American" photography series via The Moment blog on NY

Core's photographs are inspired by the paintings of American artist Raphaelle Peale (1774-1825). She grows her own heirloom fruits, flowers and vegetables and sources the vessels from auctions in order to locate the exact container or as similar food as would have been prevalent in Peale's time. Since Core does not use any digital assistance, her pieces must be timed perfectly to reflect the shadow, ripeness and bloom of the original painting.

Talk about patience.

From The Moment:

The photographs are completely traditional, involving no digital media whatsoever, so I am staging the “reality” of an early-19th-century painting in terms of lighting, subject matter and scale. This requires a lot of planning in advance of the moment of exposure. The paintings on which they are modeled were painstakingly painted to appear as real as possible, so I go to great pains to come at the image from another direction — to mirror it, so to speak.

Here's a comparison of an original Peale and Core's modern interpretation:

Raphaelle Peale: Melons and Morning Glories

Sharon Core: Melons and Morning Glories

This type of morning glory lives only one day - blooming in the morning and fading in the evening. Uh, someone likes a challenge.

More from "Early American":

I mean, this looks like a straight-up painting.

I love this one. And the berries up top.

 Photos from Yancey Richardson Gallery.

I think these are simply awesome. I would love one for the house (what a way to show traditional taste with a modern twist).
Hah! That'll happen!

Check out Core's NYC exhibit at the the Hermes store gallery on Madison Avenue.

Uh oh

I think it's all downhill from here.


A Birthday Wish

A birthday wish for our dear friend Landon Schmitt, who passed away this summer.

Landon was our best friend, a groomsman in our wedding, a college roommate to each of us, an adventurer, a traveler and always, the life of the party. Boy, did he love that dance floor.

And the dance floor loved him right back.

You are always missed, Dones.
 xoxo, us


Is This Normal?

Ran the self-cleaning mechanism on our rental oven before I went to work yesterday and this is what I came home to: 


And this.

Question: Did I break the machine?
And can this snowy disaster be fixed a la the rug sitch?

I am pretty sure the appliances are terrified of me at this point.



I discovered 3 of my sale bouquets in the back cooler today. Meaning they didn't sell Friday or Saturday. Even at half price. Awesome.

I have yet to be asked to create a bow for any package.

And I was taught, for the 4th time in as many weeks, the stupid, confusing and simply ridiculous coordinate system used for deliveries for the sprawling city of Milwaukee.

Yeah, I still don't get it.

The only highlight was our plant supplier asking me 'how work is.' On hearing me say, 'A lot harder than I expected,' the lovely man became very serious and replied:

"People always say, oh, what a nice hobby, having a plant house and making flowers. They have no idea how much work it is!"

He is my new best friend. He is also in his mid-fifties. It's cool.


Knicks v. Bucks

It was a beating. Here's Jon before he left for the game with our new friend, Mike. Hallelujah, we have a friend!

Jon said there were only 2 people in the audience in Knicks gear. Including him.

That soon became one person after the Knicks were down 31 POINTS AT THE HALF. They don't even have Stephon Marbury to blame for this one.

Jon proceeded to throw his jersey on the ground and stomp all over it, while simultaneously threatening to wrap his beer can in the jersey and chuck it at center court, Molotov cocktail-style. Luckily our friend talked him down from that ledge. And in the process of leaving the dreadful game and heading to a bar to meet me, Jon also managed to twist his ankle. (Um, what?)

Some folks go to church on Sunday; we practice sports rage on inanimate objects. I would like to call them both therapeutic.


Florist, Week 3

Well, I'd love to report that I've got the hang of things and have taken on some design duties, so I will! Made an arrangement for Sexy Sarah Palin's hotel room yesterday, completed dressing the store in holiday decorations (yes, already) and assisted in wedding bouquet preparations.

No, absolutely none of that is true. Well, technically one of the floral designers made the arrangement for SP and I watched. Same thing for the wedding bouquets. And I did staple black cloth to the walls as a backdrop for the white Christmas tree vignette we now have in one of the front rooms. . . but that took 2 hours, while the designer set up the tree, ornaments and lighting decorations, and accompanying shelves of goods in an hour and a half. I also broke the staple gun permanently. So that was productive.

I've also been making the bouquets that go on sale on Fridays. For half price. And for the past two weeks, they have not sold out, as they always do. I blame the rain and chilly weather, personally.

I finally received a "bow lesson," which prompted another discussion regarding my creativity. "Abbey's having difficulty grasping this, can you show her another way to do it?" Sweet. And my 23-year-old colleague caught on in 20 minutes one morning and spent the afternoon covering the green Christmas tree with her perfect damn bows. I still have yet to master this and have taken to carrying a balled scrap of ribbon in my purse so that I may practice in line at Pick 'n Save. (What? I said purse.)

At work, my right hand is now known as The Claw. Super. Maybe I can  blame this on early-onset arthritis?
I can't really say that I'm sad that I'm unable to make this bow. I think I'm secretly channeling Martha Stewart and she won't allow me to make such ugliness. You know, even though my job depends on it and this is what the customers request in their effing fruit baskets.

In reality, I have spent my days cutting flowers, cleaning buckets, coolers and floors, becoming best friends with a drill and the shoddy walls in the shop, rinsing floral containers, taking orders, boxing arrangements, packing away old holiday decor, wrapping carryout orders of loose flowers, pricing objects for sale and doing whatever is necessary. One of these days, when The Claw goes back to the dark hole it emerged from and My Fingers Return!, I hope to actually begin designing.

In the meantime, I am officially the worst florist in the Midwest, and most certainly in Milwaukee.

Bring it on, Monday!


Enemy of the State

Well, to say Jon and I are stressed is an understatement likened to describing Milwaukee winters as mild. Or the Akimbo burger as diet-friendly. Apartment on the market, job hunt, CFA studying, cross-country move, wedding/honeymoon bills (life); it all adds up.

Adds up to me deciding to make cookie dough batter the other night. And then EATING THE WHOLE THING.
By myself.


Chubby and furious over here. Just no.


Disaster: Finale

Day 1

Day 5

I think we used up all of our luck on this one.

I'd like to thank detergent, water and Stain Stick for making this rug who it is today.
And: scene.


Frightfest at Franklin Place

I went as a lethal weapon.

These are one of the most unflattering pairs of pants in the history of unflattering pants (there's a reason this photo's from the front).

Please meet my husband, Steve Brule (the video is a must):

Those glasses are now a permanent member of Jon's wardrobe.