New Year's Eve

Hope you have a wonderful New Year's Eve! Una and I are off to a nice dinner and . . . a trip to "The Pot", our local casino. It's a special night (our pre-wedding anniversary - 8 years!) and well, why not? Maybe this baby will bring some gambling luck for the first time in both my and Una's lives. 

I expect to regret this good deed within 20 minutes of arriving to the Pot.

If you'll be watching the ball drop from Times Square (or joining in the Jersey Shore spectacle that is Snooki being dropped in her own ball), here's a little history for you on the tradition (courtesy of

The actual notion of a ball "dropping" to signal the passage of time dates back long before New Year's Eve was ever celebrated in Times Square. The first "time-ball" was installed atop England's Royal Observatory at Greenwich in 1833. This ball would drop at one o'clock every afternoon, allowing the captains of nearby ships to precisely set their chronometers (a vital navigational instrument).

Around 150 public time-balls are believed to have been installed around the world after the success at Greenwich, though few survive and still work. The tradition is carried on today in places like the United States Naval Observatory in Washington, DC, where a time-ball descends from a flagpole at noon each day - and of course, once a year in Times Square, where it marks the stroke of midnight not for a few ships' captains, but for over one billion people watching worldwide.

Revelers began celebrating New Year's Eve in Times Square as early as 1904, but it was in 1907 that the New Year's Eve Ball made its maiden descent from the flagpole atop One Times Square. The first New Year's Eve Ball, made of iron and wood and adorned with one hundred 25-watt light bulbs, was 5 feet in diameter and weighed 700 pounds.

1978 New Year's Eve Ball

2011 New Year's Eve Ball

The Ball is a geodesic sphere, 12 feet in diameter and weighing 11, 875 pounds, built to withstand the stresses of high winds, precipitation and temperature fluctuation to brightly shine over 400 feet above Times Square throughout the year.  For 2011, Waterford Crystal has designed 288 new “Let There Be Love” crystal triangles featuring a romantic pattern that blends a modern cascade of hearts with diamond cutting. 

Bonne annee!

Lanvin Wannabe

Emerald Wicklow Dress by Deletta at Anthropologie for $158.00. 

A copycat chic version of this beauty from Lanvin (worth thousands):

Sigh. Looks like a Roman statue brought to life. 
The Wicklow will do in the meantime - a great party dress.

Word of the Day

Hogmanay: A gift given on New Year's Eve.

Hint, hint.

Or how about making these adorable champagne coupes from Design*Sponge? You can always find these glasses on sale at the Salvation Army for 99 cents. Trust me, I spent 6 months collecting 150 of them for my wedding. Directions below!

*You can buy a full kit of supplies here for $19. It will last you for many rounds of glasses.*
1. Clean your classes with soap and water and dry thoroughly.
2. Using your paintbrush, dab a SMALL amount of liquid adhesive on your brush to create a shape or pattern. If you’re doing a longer design, be sure to move quickly because the line will disappear as the glue starts to dry.

3. Let dry for 20–30 minutes. (Don’t worry if you can’t see the glue; it’s still there and sticky.)
4. Carefully take out a sheet of your gold or silver leaf and gently place it on top of your glue pattern/shape. Dab with your fingers until the leaf fully adheres to the glue shape. You can use a soft cloth or sponge to gently press the leaf into the glue.
5. Gently brush away the excess leafing until the shape you’ve drawn is left.

6. Using a clean paintbrush, coat the portion of your glass covered in gold/silver leaf with the leaf sealant (the sealant will dry clear). The design will not be waterproof until it’s coated. Allow the sealant to fully dry, and you’re ready to go!

Note: These are not dishwasher safe. They will be waterproof and safe to drink with, but you’ll want to wash them gently by hand.
See pictures of the process here!


Normally don't post on stuff like this

But Natalie Portman is engaged? And pregnant?!

Okay, I guess it's not that shocking seeing as she's turning 30 (had to look that up on IMDB). Might be a bit awkward when the child reaches the age of 10 and starts looking older and is physically taller than its mother.

Just saying.

I feel like her granny.


2010 Nor'easter

My parents' house in the small farming town of Rehoboth, Massachusetts (population: 10,074) received a foot of snow in the blizzard. Making today's 5:00 PM flight home to Milwaukee a hilarious joke on us. Currently on hold to book a different airline for Wednesday morning, as our cancelled flight was rescheduled - at the earliest - to Thursday AM.


We have my brother's chocolate lab with us while he is off touring the Caribbean with my littlest sister, uncle and cousins. No, I wasn't invited. Yes, this will be reflected in next year's Christmas gifts. Nola, a California born and bred puppy, does not know what to do with this hard white rain. And as such has decided to leave yellow marks everywhere. Like at the bottom of our back door staircase. 

Snaps of the yard:

Hello winter!


Signing Off

Have a wonderful next few days (whether you celebrate Christmas or not)! I'm signing off to finish wrapping, enjoy the snow before it melts, and indulge in some-slash-lots of holiday treats (the baby wants them - can't say no to baby!). 

Hope you and yours are healthy and happy as we close out 2010 and head into 2011. I can say for sure - for once - that this new year will be an unforgettable one. 


Providence Classic


Lawd Help Me

Paper due in T minus 3 hours. 10 pages down and in serious need of some lipstick. 


I so wish I was holiday shopping right now.


Exhibition A

Cynthia Rowley (fashion designer) and Bill Powers (husband, gallery owner, judge on Bravo's Work of Art) have collaborated on exhibition a, a members-only website for art - think Gilt for your walls. All pieces are exclusive editions from contemporary artists - an incredible and affordable way to begin collecting.

The first "limited-time open editions" (translation: flash sales) offer pieces ranging in price from $75.00 - $610.00 from artists Hanna Liden, Mark Borthwick, Richard Phillips and Rene Ricard.

Awesome, awesome, brilliant idea to get the masses interested in purchasing art.

Join here:


Project Decorate in the Debut Martha iPad Issue

Martha Stewart Living debuted their first iPad issue and in it, two designers decorate the same space in different ways. First up, Kevin Sharkey:

 Fabric on the ceiling; love the window cornice details.

 Wicker furniture, garden stool

Lovely pillows.

Rebecca Robertson's take:
 She covered Ikea cabinet doors with mesh radiator screens. Love the collapsible bench as coffee table and vibrant rug.

 Quirky molding, dark wood floors, cutout screens over the windows.

Love the eclectic styling on the bench. Those graphic trays are paper-covered baking trays.

To see more photos and vote for your favorite, go here!


NYC for a Flash

In NYC this weekend for a 30th birthday, mini-Christmas with my sister (who will be at her boyfriend's family's place in Virginia on the 25th) and a brief visit to baby Gus before heading to Providence (was hoping to see my newest friend, Gin, but am coming down with a slight cold - a no-no for someone who still counts their age in days). 

Where I will need to complete the final paper I am only now just starting for my theory class. 

And submit it on Wednesday.

That's just hysterical. 


Sale Today Only!

Hurry and check out Horchow today! Their 25 - 30% off sitewide sale includes items on clearance or estate sale. There are some good deals to be had (I just scored Ralph Lauren bath sheets - the supersized towels - for 60% off), but only if your purchase today!

And don't forget to use both Winter (for 25-30% off) and December (for free shipping) codes when you check out.

Happy shopping!


Wednesday Want

Calypso Home Kuba Jaipur 9 x 12 Rug for $1500.00

Pretty, pretty. Want in my bedroom.


Holiday 2010

Tomorrow Una will perform a holiday song with his colleague before his entire company. There are some new developments on the performance side that I cannot wait to post on Thursday. In the meantime, it is 9 degrees outside and freezing. Awesome.



The Midwest got rocked by snowstorms this weekend. Oddly enough, Milwaukee was forecasted for a foot of snow and got . . . a few inches? At most? The wedding in Chicago, however, was doused in it, which made for the most beautiful scenery and freezing ears and legs. Thanks to baby brain, which on average has me forgetting about 10 items a day, I brought our camera and then promptly left it in the hotel room. Lucky for me, a handy guest made a short video of the ceremony with a message from some guests. Courtney, the bride, looked simply stunning. The orchid in her hair was in memory of her grandmother, who passed away recently and was never seen without one (chic lady). Check out the video here:

P.S. This was a wedding I created a style board for on the 9tailors blog earlier this year. Check it out - the bride gave each bridesmaid a vintage crystal brooch to wear with their gowns.

Sunday, after leaving horrendous blizzard conditions behind us in downtown Chicago (where I was literally stabbed in the eyeball by a flying icicle masquerading as a snowflake) and finding nothing but some slight rain and wind in southern Wisconsin, "we" took advantage of the nicer weather and stopped at Pleasant Prairie outlets. And oh boy, did we hit the mother load:

Una found New York Giant onesies. Obviously we had to purchase one in each size, ensuring appropriate Giants paraphernalia through the 18-month mark. Officially the first baby item we've purchased (I want to hold off until we're further along) and as far as Una's concerned, the most important.

I'd call this a very successful weekend. 


Off to a wedding!

Our last of the year and destined to be a winter beauty - held at the historic Drake Hotel in Chicago. I can't wait to see the bride (a college roommate and dear, dear friend) in her dress. Temperatures have finally risen to the late 20s (we were hovering between 13 - 15 the last few days) and yesterday's snowstorm has stopped. Just in time for Saturday's to begin. 

My root canal, part 2 out of 3, did not go so handily. The temporary crown broke yesterday. So I was back in again today for a new one. And I'll be back again next Wednesday for the permanent crown. I should get VIP check-in at this point. 

Happy Friday!

P.S. Lonny's new issue is out!


Doody-Ball Teeth Part 100

We all know I have bad teeth. (And here and here.) 

I sit in a room with a Hot Tamale, a tooth dies. Guess what happens when you're pregnant? Your mouth gives up and becomes a playground for gum disease and cavities. My question - what happens when your mouth was already the Six Flags of the bad-tooth world

Early dentures, that's what.

Today I head to the dentist to finish the root canal I began this summer (and which had to be postponed to the second trimester once I found out I was pregnant), as well as to receive the necessary 'pregnancy check-up' on the rest of my teeth. This would already be bad news on a good day, when I've been flossing for months, haven't touched a sweet thing in a week and drank mouthwash like water for 24 hours. 

But when one eats candy several . . . okay, many times a day (thank you, future baby - couldn't you crave cottage cheese? or dried apricots? or water?!), this is a recipe for disaster.

My appointment's at 11. I'm guessing I'll be out by next Tuesday. 


The Most Tremendous Email Ever

Received by a friend from a colleague who, rightly, called in sick: 

Dear XX,

I was going to come today but very embarrassingly, I've had diarrhea for
more than 12 hours. Barely slept last night...and probably cannot leave
home either.

*         *         *

Simply tremendous.



Pogonip - noun: An ice fog that forms in the mountain valleys of the western U.S.

Not sure what they call the freezing Milwaukee atmosphere that greeted me this morning when I drove Una to work at 6 AM. It has officially gone from 50 degrees (early last week) to 15 degrees. Black ice has also conveniently formed at the top of our stairs, which I discovered by accident yesterday while nearly throwing my back out by holding the railing for dear life as my legs went horizontal. 

Winter's arrived. And so has our tree, dressed up and ready for a nonexistent party. 

She's bottomless, so I'm not done. And yes, that is Una's childhood Giants helmet that we use as a topper. It's his favorite part of the tree. Can you spot the cheesehead ornament?


Sushi and a Glass of Wine

I've written about red wine enough for anyone reading to realize it's clearly my beverage of choice. A glass of red wine, sitting next to a fire, watching a good movie (and eating movie theater butter popcorn) is pretty much my idea of heaven. Mmmm, yes.  But if you pinned me down and made me choose one food for the rest of my life, I'd come out with sushi. I'd eat it every day. As would Una. His first purchase if we were to win the lottery? A personal sushi chef. I'm not even kidding - I was told this verbatim several years ago. (Mine would be a house in Bermuda or the south of France. The sushi chef can travel with us.)

Well, I've had to say goodbye to both the red wine and the sushi. Una and I are having a baby! A real, live baby. Holy crap! To be honest, it still seems surreal - I've gained 5 pounds (looks more like a small turkey set up shop around my love handles), can't eat half of my favorite foods, and my skin's broken out like a 14-year old boy. Super. That perfect glow and basketball belly ("She doesn't even look pregnant from behind!")? - urban myth. Jeans that are now worn unbuttoned in public places and 24-hour gas? - reality. 

Our little baby Bloom is due at the end of May (we won't be finding out the sex) and now that we're in the second trimester, it's time to get cracking on the preparations. You know, like reading the text surrounding the baby book pictures, getting the baby's room ready (it's currently the "clean laundry pile" and storage room), and growing an actual pregnancy bump that looks less like I overdid it on the McDonald's Dollar Menu. The experience has been so different than I'd imagined (no morning sickness - heck yes!), and Una and I can't wait for the next six months. It's a pretty crazy time, good, weird, overwhelming - and so full of love.

In the meantime, I've already decided my hospital bag will include makeup (have you ever seen a photo post-birth? not good for the complexion), a bottle of screw-top Pinot Noir, and one plastic wine glass. Bring it on, baby. 


December 1

Hanukkah begins (at nightfall)!

World AIDS Day

The 55th anniversary of the day Rosa Parks refused to move from her bus seat

Iceland and Papua New Guinea's birthdays as sovereign states

Woody Allen, Sarah Silverman and Eric Bloom (of Blue Oyster Cult fame) were born

Henry 1 died in 1135

The first official snowfall in Milwaukee today, though it has yet to start sticking. What's going on by you?