It's That Time of Year Again

For Christmas, apparently. My sister emailed me stockings in her local CVS, I witnessed my first Santa-themed commercial this afternoon, and Cathedral Park is already getting set up with its massive light Christmas tree and ornament-covered arch. Ahem, it's October 28th. 

Una and I have a Halloween work party of his this weekend (complete with live band), as well as a Bay View couple's soiree to attend. He's going as a biker and sad to say, I think I'm going as Karate Chick again. Haven't found anything good (though we were informed one of his colleagues is going as Teen Wolf and another as Kim Jong-Il; the latter's wife is a nuclear weapon). I think I need to step up my game. 

But in the spirit of Christmas, since clearly that's where we are out here in Milwaukee, I thought I'd pass along a cute ritual I recently read in a magazine. Every year when she was younger, the contributor's mother had purchased each child an ornament that pertained to a milestone of theirs that year. Not only did all the ornaments have meaning, but each kid had their own collection when they fled the nest. 

Hmm, do they sell beard ornaments?


Vintage Cousins

My cousins Bryce and Alec dressed and ready for business many years ago. I don't know what's better - that Alec matches the real pumpkin next to him (which is three times the size of his head) or the fact that Bryce's mask covers his entire top lip and his stance is more akin to an old man waiting for a can of Bud Light than a wee child about to get high on loads of sugar candy. Priceless.

Really glad my mother can't seem to find any photos of me the year I went as a human size "backpack." 

Yes, a backpack. I was an intellectual child. 


Wind Mania

More tornado and extreme weather warnings in Southeast Wisconsin today. Lost power for a few hours and hoping we'll get a thunderstorm. They are crazy out here. 

Apparently the East Coast is experiencing 70 degree weather? Interesting. Rude, but interesting. 


Oh Yes I Did

Recently discovered the taste of Cheetos. Class all the way over here.

And yes, my fingers were orange.


Pass the Butter.

As seen on Habitually Chic

Socialite Olivia Palermo (of MTV's "The City" infamy, and really a fabulous, fabulous dresser) actually looks skinnier than the dang model next to her.

Pretty sure I wasn't this skinny as a fetus. I give up. 

Gorgeous Weather

Late in the summer I was visiting one of my nearest and dearest old friends (who happens to be an amazing interior designer) and spied a new chest of drawers in her bedroom, which she told me she purchased at Wisteria. This was a score - most of her pieces are usually custom or available "to the trade" only, both of which are friends who I have yet to meet and most likely won't do so until winning the lotto. Rude.

But Wisteria I can do (and already love)! Check out some of these weathered beauties, gorgeous designs for very decent prices (c'est la vie in the furniture world for a quality chest of drawers - you must pay for quality). 

Swedish-Style Weathered Wood for $799

Natural Wood with Metal Top Louis XVI Style for $749

 Directoire Chest in Mango Wood for $1299

French Directoire in Bleached Wood for $1399

Now if only I lived near Carrollton, Texas


Calypso Sale

The wedding we attended 2 weeks ago in California had gorgeous blue Calypso dresses for the bridesmaids. I just spied this beauty on their sale page: The Eden Roc for $99.

And how about the Andrea t-shirt dress in navy for $19? I'm in for both.


The Decorator Show House

Show houses allow designers to get out-of-bounds creative in their designs. With no particular client (other than the 'home' and their self-imposed budget constraints), designers have free reign to go bolder, bigger and crazier than they could in the typical client's home. Of course, it's an honor to get chosen (there are only so many rooms in each house - and so many homes each year) and the best of the best get picked. 

This year's Kips Bay Show House finally debuted (selection of photos here), after a 6-month delay due to the sale of the original property (and an initial fear of cancellation). Here are some memorable rooms from the Kips Bay Decorator Show Houses through the years:

Bunny Williams's Living Room for the 2009 Show House - a tribute to 
legendary decorator Albert Hadley.

Katie Ridder's 2010 Entryway - I love this custom wallpaper and it would be adorable in other colors for a child's room. Lighting fixture is fantastic.

Maureen Footer's Living Room in 2008 - cheery, but elegant.

David Barrett's Garden Room in 2008. Reminds me of the Newport mansions 
and eccentric old ladies. I love this.

2007 Stairway Mural by Amy Lau - stunning and eye-catching in a 
usually forgotten space.

Luxe Lounge by Healing Barsanti in 2007 - a feeling of calm, despite 
the use of very bold colors. 

Can't wait to see the full list of rooms for 2010!


Flowers for All Seasons & Then Some

Starting up a garden class tonight (goal is to design a backyard garden that blooms three seasons out of the year; personal garden knowledge = black thumb). My sewing class - there were two options, and I thought I had signed up for the same one I'd taken previously - has two more substitute sessions to come and has been a bit of a bust. Also have a sushi tutorial on Thursday, which Jon has already reminded me of twice. And starting up weekly trivia again; our team's name? "The shorter guy with curly hair is single. Anyone?" 

On an actual scholarly level, my UWM grad level literary theory class continues to kick my rear end. Last week was Heidegger, this week is Barthes and Brecht. Am already nervous about the final paper, as I have zero idea what I will do, and in typical overeager PhD student fashion, over half the class has already met with the professor to finalize their project. 

Well, I made two throw pillows for the couch last week! 

Big time burn.


Sad, Bad Monday!

Oh boy, we did it up. With a lot of beer.

Flight of Horny Goat beer, demolished at lunch on Thursday.

Sobelman's burger restaurant. Mom and dad sampled fried cheese curds. Unfortunately, while there we learned that Sobelman's lost to local rival A.J. Bombers in last Thursday's Food Wars episode. 
My dad's response: Why are we eating at the losers place? 
Tough crowd.

Their famous bloody mary, complete with beer chaser (to the left) and the following garnishes: beef jerky, lemon, pickle, olive, celery, cheese cube, mini shrimp, cherry tomato, brussel sprout.

Lakefront Brewery tour, which my parents loved. I used the VIP entrance for those of us regulars (as this was my 7th tour). 

Then we were off to a bridal shower (my mom and I) and after that the Madison - Ohio State game! It was ridiculous! Thank you, Lise and Ags!

Mom and Barry Alvarez. People kept coming over and touching him. As in, rubbing his man boobs. Nice.
Badger fan. This was our view as we watched the incredible kickoff return for a touchdown! My dad was enthralled by the badger's nails.
81,000 fans
Rushing the field after the 31 - 18 historic win! #1 went down!

Awesome weekend, all around. Sad, bad Monday!


For This Weekend Anyway

My parents are in town from the East Coast! Bring on the brats and beer, Sobelman's hamburgers and the Wisconsin - Ohio State game on Saturday. Go Badgers!


Lonny & Celerie

October/November Lonny is here! 

Phew, and just in time, since the only room in the house that's even somewhat finished is the living room. The upstairs bedrooms are a disastrous mix of lime and grape (culminating as one stunning mix of both in the guest room) with natural wood doors and shiny gold knobs. One of these days I will actually get to painting, headboards, drape fabric . . . yikes, I'm behind.

In the meantime, I plan to read this 1-year anniversary issue cover to cover and delight at yet another piece featuring Celerie Kemble, who I adore and is fantastically hilarious. 



Oh, this site is special. All profits from these beauties go to charities. This gentleman, in the tighty whities, pencil mustache and paper viking bra? 


Room and Water

Una and I had a tradition in college for special holidays (birthdays, Valentine's, graduation, the all-important 6-month anniversary) of going to Morton's Steakhouse for dinner. We developed quite the taste for their steaks (the cajun ribeye and filet, in particular) and quickly realized that we probably had to eat there more often than every few months. Our genius solution, being unemployed students living on our parents' dimes, was to have "Steak and Water." Wherein we would drive to Boston, order our steaks, eat the delicious (and complimentary) onion bread, and wash it all down with fresh, icy tap water. It was a tremendous coup and worth every 2-pounder that I finished all by my chubby self.

And though I had once imagined life at 30 to involve Manolo Blahniks, St. Barth's and seasonal trips to Paris (maybe at 31? 35?), it appears not much has changed since my university days. Case in point: the wedding we're attending this weekend is at The Ritz-Carlton in Laguna Niguel, California. The Ritz. This is clearly way overdue in my estimation. As part of the wedding party, it was necessary that I stay near the bride, and not at the Holiday Inn down the road, which Una originally booked and I then cancelled. While discussing my excitement this week and what I planned to order off of room service (late-night pancakes and foie gras - happening!), I was quickly informed that this jaunt was of the "Room and Water" variety.


Strike one for the defense. 

However, I am a wily and clever (some might say "fair but amazing") competitor. Strategic dining and spa maneuvers to ensue.


A Little Slow

This week. Sewing class, homework for my literary theory graduate class (Freud and the Theory of the Unconscious for today), regular crapola and a wedding in California Friday which is awaiting a speech of some kind. Trying to prepare and get all our regular stuff in, while dealing with a mold in the basement situation (no laundry and avoiding turning on the heat in 48 degree weather) and a landlord out of the state. 

Photo from here.


Pretty Photo

Ever noticed how actors amass the coolest photos of themselves? Not sure what any normal person would do with that many pictures of their own face, but sometimes, the photos are too pretty to care. Like this one of Michelle Williams. Almost looks like it could be an oil painting.


October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

If you didn't notice before this weekend, I'm sure last night's football game (with its hot pink shoes, gloves, chin straps and more) made it obvious: It's breast cancer awareness month! I love that the NFL makes a point to acknowledge and promote this. Milwaukee is doing a Pink Porch Light Project, with Ace Hardware selling pink light bulbs to raise awareness and funds with Aurora Healthcare for breast cancer, the number one cancer in women worldwide. We are totally pinking out our porch!

What can you do? Get your annual mammograms and do a monthly self-check! And make sure your mom and all the ladies in your family do, too.

Want to donate? Here's a link to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure site, the global leader in the breast cancer movement (having invested almost 1.5 billion over the years! 


J. Crew Factory

J. Crew's added a new service to their website - the online "factory outlet," featuring deals from Friday 12 noon through Sunday. Check it out for their Factory label pieces (typically only available in their outlet stores). 

And now that we're just a hop, skip and a jump away from another Wisconsin winter, I've got my eye on this puppy. 

Long Belted Puffer for $148

Happy shopping!

Holy Lamps

Newlywed Diaries posted about table lamps yesterday, owning up to the fact that she has 10. I . . . also have 10. And I'm constantly looking for new ones. 

But have you noticed how expensive lamps are? It's nuts. So finding a good-looking one that isn't several hundred dollars is difficult. In fact, our living room table lamps are two Salvation Army finds that I spray-painted white. They look great, but I'd trade them in a heartbeat for a Christopher Spitzmiller. Sigh. At four hundo and higher (per), these puppies are out of my reach.

So I challenged myself to find some pretty, "inexpensive" substitutes. Everything under $200 (lamps just aren't cheap!), most without shades, and 22" or taller. 

JC Penney Cindy Crawford Ceramic Lamp on sale for $84.99

JC Penney Hobnail Glass Lamp on sale for $94.99 (so darling in a bedroom!)

Kmart Ore Lamp (in stone, hot pink and avocado, too) for $109.99
[Target's got a disturbingly close copy for $159.99. As in, the same exact lamp.]

Target Teardrop Lamp (also in white and black) for $34.99 

Target Genie Lamp (gorgeous!) for $229.99
*It's over 200, but it's so pretty.

Target Porcelain Lamp for $149.99

Overstock Crackled Jar-Shape Lamp for $123.99

PB Teen Resin Bubble Up Lamp on sale for $49.99

Pottery Barn Alexis Lamp for $105.00

Lamps-Plus Ceramic Porcelain Lamp for $159.99

Lamps Plus Robert Abbey Ceramic Double Gourd Lamp 
(in many colors and finishes) for $156.91

Lamps Plus Robert Abbey Ceramic Genie Lamp (in several colors) for $151.91

Lamps Plus Golden Yellow Porcelain Gourd Lamp for $179.91

Lamps Plus Crackle Square Urn Porcelain Lamp for $199.91

Lamps Plus Haeger Potteries Cottage Ceramic Lamp for $149.91

Lamps Plus Bravi Collection Globe Lamp for $89.98

Home Decorator's Mimic Lamp for $105.00

Home Decorator's Crackled Lamp for $199.00

Home Depot Hampton Bay Ribbed Lamp on sale for $29.88
Photos via JC Penney, Kmart, Target, Overstock, PB Teen & Pottery Barn, Lamps-Plus, Home Decorator's Collection, Home Depot.

That was exhausting! I've also found some nice colorful ceramic options at TJ Maxx in their store's home section, yet continue to not pull the trigger. I'm still thinking about them. Pretty sure that means I should buy them. 

Think so. Yes. Heading to the car.