Monday, October 24, 2011

hair help

believe it or not, i finally have a hair appointment. according to my calendar, the last visit was October 21, 2010. Yes, a year ago. No, I was not growing out my hair.
[thanksgiving 2010 - fresh hair]
[last week - tired hair]

You see, there are all sorts of reasons for this:
  1. My regular gal moved salons. AGAIN. And was getting a little sloppy. So I ventured out based on a friend's referral. He was okay, despite the chattiness & upselling (which drives me nuts).
  2. I was in 3 weddings last spring/summer, so I wanted to give the gal something to work with. It's no excuse for not getting a few trims along the way though.
  3. I'm lazy. It takes me forever to actually bother booking the appointment.
  4. I'm blessed with thick hair that tends to grow out OK, with minimal split ends. (probably related to my laziness thus lack of processing on my hair -- i just blowdry & go).
  5. I finally booked an appointment last month, and I was excited. My mom-in-law scored me a "new client special" at the salon she's seen religiously for decades (I mean, if she were old enough to get her hair done for decades that is). Only for her to cancel on me and then tell me she wouldn't book appointments after 4pm during the week. What? Whose hair does she cut? Good luck finding those clients, honey.
  6. I finally booked a new appointment based on another referral. By the way, I appreciate all of the referrals friends! I'm just picky and lazy and well, we'll see how it goes.
So I have an appointment at Jamison Shaw on Thursday. And now I'm not sure what to I need your help!

My requirements in the new do:
  1. easy maintenance. as in, shampoo & condition. minimal product. dry with a roundbrush. done.
  2. brunette. i'm not going blonde folks, despite the pics.
  3. multiple variations -- okay to curl, pull partly back, pull all the way up, etc. 
  4. smart & chic, without being too trendy. i just can't pull off a mohawk.
  5. i have a round face, so it all has to work without making me look like a child.
  6. my hair tends to do "the flip" on its own, so the cut has to work with my hair's intentions.
Here are some 'dos from pinterest I'm leaning towards. Please help!!!

brooklyn decker bob. i have straight hair, but would love to add some curl if i was brave enough.

charlize. i think i've done this one before. i think i liked it. the long bang version of the long bob.

ginnifer. she has a round face like me. similar to charlize, but longer bangs if any.

ginnifer again. this may be a bit short, but i still like it.

jenny's angled blog with no bangs.

jill casey (i don't know her real name) bob

jill again.

longer version of katie's famous bob? i really think i like the bangs & the length. would my cowlick cooperate??

katie's famous bob. def too short.
 your votes???? voting closes at 5:45 on Thursday, as I'll be in the chair.

Friday, October 21, 2011

when Martha gives you flowers...

Work brings me to Arizona this week for the annual Masters of Marketing conference for the Association of National Advertisers. During a break, I popped over to to the OmniMedia booth where I'd seen a candy buffet set up earlier. there seemed to be quite a bit of hubbub at the booth, so I grabbed some candy and quickly realized it was MARTHA!!!MAArRRRRTHAAAA!!!

As in this the one and only.

I played the game in her booth and won a bunch of sunflowers. I was the first one to win the flowers (a guy before me won a freshly-baked pie, and Martha herself scored a pack of glitter), so we snapped a pic.

Awesome eh?

So, I lugged the flowers around the conference all day; I couldn't bring myself to throw them away, despite looking like the conference goofball who looked like she just left the farmer's market. I got them back to my room (despite our shuttle bus breaking down on the highway, leaving us stranded in the desert for 15 minutes), and in true Martha fashion, used what I had on-hand to prolong the flowers' life.

cocktail glass
corkscrew with foil cutter knife

ta-da! what do you think? would she be proud???
I mean, notice how well the colors coordinate with the bed linens & pillows!

sorry for the poor photos-- phone camera & hotel lighting aren't optimal.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

state [of the] art, part 1

to add a little punch to our guest room, we wanted to add some pops of color. inspired by a blog post that referred me to a now-closed etsy shop, i fell for the idea of personalizing some graphic art prints of various US states. (i can't remember where i saw the inspiring post, sorry about that.)

since most of the folks using that room would be our family, we thought it'd be fun a fun way to make the room feel a little more like home. because i prefer collections in odd numbers, we picked the following five states:

arkansas: where my parents both currently live & my hometown
california: where Zenn [cricket's brother & sis-in-law] live
georgia: where we live, duh [and later realized no one would be using this room from here, so we scrapped this frame when we ran out of wall space]
ohio: where Hippie Sis + new hubs The Professor are saving the world, one water molecule at a time
texas: where Teacher Sis lives, shaping the future of America

i picked up 5 Ribba frames from Ikea, with aluminum frame & white mattes, for $17.99 each. the interior matted space is 11.5" square, so perfect for a 12x12 print.
[ikea ribba frame @ $17.99ea]

i played with the idea of using punch scrapbook paper as the background and cutting out solid shapes of the states. this would make them easily interchangeable if anyone decides to move elsewhere. but the scrapbook paper gods weren't on my side when i was shopping for the right mix of pattern + color, so i busted out photoshop to create the "custom" art. a little clip art & a few tutorials later, art was complete.

i shipped it off via the interweb to a print shop. a few hours and $3/each later, i popped them in the frames. determining the wall placement will be the hardest part. for now, they're just laid out on the bed. they'll make it to the wall eventually. as will the bird plates.

if you happen to have folks in the same states, or just a fondness of these particular places, you can download the art files here. i'd love to see how you use them!


the finished product reveal, coming soon.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

upholstered headboard

my dad & sister are about to embark on a headboard project, and she asked me for my plans. ahem. well, um, hmmm... the "plans" involved some trial + error, and most importantly, figuring it out as i went.

we built the upholstered headboard a few years ago to replace my 2004 DIY'd farmhouse bed --a project that involved a borrowed circular saw, a hand-me-down drill, knotty pine boards, and stain. oh, and my apartment balcony. the moving men laughed at my construction a few years later, but i was pretty proud of my handmade product. i was poor, new to the city, single, and needed a "grown up" bed. where was Ana White when i needed her?

the upholstered version was to give us the option to change up the slipcover [read: wash it to remove dog hair] from time-to-time....which i don't think we've done since making the bed 3 years ago. oh well.

anyway, the first thing is to decide what style headboard you want to build. there are umpteen options out on the web:

nailhead trim adds some masculinity...
[nailhead upholstered headboard from west elm: $349-$599]
 a scroll shape is elegant and can be as intricate as you wish...
[scroll headboard from west elm: $399-$599]
 slipcovered allows you to change it up as you wish, but requires some sewing skillz...a simple square design is easier to slipcover, and an intricate scroll may require professional help.
[slipcovered headboard. fabric is Aviary by Robert Allen]
 tufted is more glam, but less changeable, but you can always be fun with color...

the shapes are limitless, too. a few standard options:

so once you decide your shape, determine your size.

width is determined by the width of the mattress frame. if only building a headboard, you'll need leg supports to be the width of the bed frame's attachments.

the height is really up to you. how dramatic do you want it to be? do you prefer a lower profile? just make sure the bottom of the headboard is low enough for the mattress to brace it to the wall for additional stability. it doesn't need to go all the way to the floor, just enough that the mattress "locks" it into place. the higher the headboard you want, the lower the base should be...make sense? you don't want it to topple over.

a 4x8 sheet of plywood or pegboard is an easy starting point, so try to stick with 4' high or less.

for the headboard:
create your pattern using a sheet of wrapping paper at least the height of your desired headboard, fold in half width-wise. the fold should be the center of the headboard. draw the shape you want on the headboard. cut it out. unfold to reveal a symmetrical pattern. if you don't have a piece of wrapping paper large enough, you can always create a one-sided pattern & flip it over when sketching onto your plywood.

with your pattern in hand, trace the pattern onto the sheet of plywood [use pegboard if you are creating a tufted headboard]. use a circular saw [or jigsaw if intricate] to cut out the top of the headboard.

build the frame:
cut the two legs from 1x4s to the desired length [floor to lowest point on each side of the headboard shape, less 6"]. if the center of the headboard is 6 feet tall, and the edges are 5 feet tall, the legs should each be 4'6".

place the legs frame-width apart, and cut two 1x1s to fit between them. screw a 1x1 brace at the bottom of the headboard's position. screw a 1x1 to the top of the legs. use "L" brackets to support each corner.

if building a headboard for a king bed, or a very high design, you may want to add an additional vertical 1x1 in the center.

now you should have a structure that looks sorta like this:
with the frame constructed, it's time to upholster your headboard:
lay the headboard cut-out right side up.
coat with spray adhesive and apply a layer of 2" thick foam, pressing firmly to affix.
coat with spray adhesive and apply a layer of batting on top of foam, pressing firmly.
repeat with another layer of adhesive + batting. continue to repeat until you've achieved the fluffiness desired. let dry. trim excess from edges.

if tufting, turn the headboard over and mark the desired placement for tufting. use the grid of holes as a guide to keep the tufts evenly spaced.
[pegboard marked for tufting. image source]

attach the headboard to its frame:
place the newly crafted frame on a large work surface. place the headboard, right side up, on top of it, be sure to center.
screw the headboard into the plywood/pegboard frame. be sure to attach along all edges. 
you can use extra batting to fill any screw "divots".

finish the upholstery:
cut muslin to fit the board, and wrap it tightly around the headboard (front and back). staple into place. the muslin layer will keep the batting in place and also ensure that a slipcover or decorative fabric cover has a smooth finished look.

for tufting:
using your decorative fabric, cover the front of the headboard and staple to the back of the frame, being sure to cover all edges with fabric. the fabric should be taught, but not too tight that tufts will rip the fabric.
[back of headboard tied off with buttons. image source]
with the fabric in place, use a needle and thread to work from the back of the headboard. thread through the marked holes, through the front of the board, and back through the back of the board. pull as tightly as you wish to get the preferred look. tie off the thread, using a button if desired to hold the thread in place. repeat with all tufts.

Brick City Love has a great video tutorial for tufting.

for slipcovering:
use muslin to create a pattern for your slipcover, as this will be nice to have on-hand for future updates. depending on the shape of your headboard, this could be fairly simple or pretty elaborate. enlist a pro if needed.

sew a slipcover in your desired fabric, and place on the headboard.

attach to the bed:
now that it's finished, position the bed frame against the headboard frame and screw into place. place mattress & box springs into position, so that the mattress braces the headboard to the wall. make the bed & enjoy a good night's sleep!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

mmmm..... mussels (with bacon)

the chilly rainy weather calls for soups, chilis, + stews. we put on a pot of chili to slow-cook tonight so we could enjoy it later in the week. simultaneously, we prepped some mussels in a white wine garlic broth for dinner. cricket had the genius idea to add bacon. brilliant!!

[4 slices of bacon cut into 1/2 inch pieces, cooking until crisp. i love this smell]
[about 8 cloves of garlic & 2 shallots, roughly chopped]
[2.5 cups of white wine, italian seasoning, + crushed red pepper added to the crispy bacon + sauteed garlic & shallots]
i remember the first time i ever tried mussels. i must have been averse to them for some reason, though i couldn't tell you why. i've loved raw oysters & crawfish since i was 18 months old, so it wasn't a seafood-in-a-shell issue or a texture issue. i think i'd just always been intimidated by them. i wasn't sure how to eat them, how to prep them, how to open them.

that was until a fateful day a group of work friends went out to celebrate...celebrate exactly what, i can't remember. but i do remember that lara ordered mussels. i smelled the rich garlicky aroma long before they arrived at the table, and when they were placed in front of me, i must have experienced what recovering alcoholics face every time they walk down a bar-lined street. an all-over tingle that made me incredibly envious of my neighbor's plate. the warm rich broth covering those peculiar shelled sea-nuggets perplexed me. lara was sweet enough to share, and the love affair began.

[1.5 pounds of washed + de-bearded mussels]

for a long time, i assumed that the preparation was incredibly complicated, something only accomplished culinary experts should attempt. so i just ordered them at restaurants. i mean it was a lot to deal with: the hard shells, the fuzzy beards, the seafood smells, the popping or not-popping safety confusion. it was all a lot to consider.
[my version of cooking with wine: some for the mussels, some for me.]

i'm not sure what inspired me to finally attempt it, but i remember my first time. it was at my old condo, entertaining my now in-laws. maybe for some special occasion, but maybe not. i was amazed at how incredibly simple these suckers were. and it combined some of my favorite ingredients: wine, garlic, butter.

[whisking the butter into the broth]
so tonight, once i got them on the brain, there was no turning back. cricket suggested adding some bacon to them...somehow. so i scoured for recipes and decided to modify this one from always order dessert.

serves 2 for dinner (4 for an appetizer)

2 pounds mussels [i ended up cooking about 1 1/2 pounds after losing 1/2 pound that had "popped"]
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 strips center-cut bacon, cut into 1/2 pieces
2 large shallots, thinly sliced
8 large garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon italian seasoning
2.5 cups white wine (i used Chardonnay)
3 tablespoons butter
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
rustic italian baguette (or other crusty loaf)

1. Scrub and debeard the mussels under cold water. Discard any that are cracked or which do not close completely after being touched. Set aside.

2. In a large dutch oven or other heavy bottomed pot, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the pieces of bacon and let cook until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp.

3. Add the shallots and garlic and saute until shallots are translucent and garlic has just a hint of color (about 2-3 minutes).

4. Warm the baguette at 250F for about 5 minutes.

5. Add wine, red pepper, and italian seasoning and bring to a simmer. Once the wine is boiling, add the mussels to the pot and cover. Let mussels steam for 2-3 minutes, then gently toss. Recover and let steam for an additional 4 minutes, until most of the mussels have opened all the way. (there may be a couple that don't open)

6. Use a slotted spoon to remove the mussels to a large bowl. Discard any mussels that didn't open all the way during cooking.

7. Return the pot with the broth to the flame and whisk in the butter. Season with salt and pepper. Let simmer for 2-3 minutes until slightly reduced.

8. Pour broth over the mussels and serve with a warmed bread.


Mussels are incredibly inexpensive. Our market sells them for like $2.50/pound, so this is a very affordable meal for two.
Mussels, 2 lbs = $5.00
White wine, cheapo Chardonnay = $2.50
Pair of rustic baguettes = $3.00

Total cost for dinner for 2 = $10.50

ps- i finally tried picnik to edit these photos--i think i like it!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

bubbly + bling

i hosted a stella&dot party this weekend. it was a great excuse to get some girlfriends together, drink champagne, + play a little dress up.

my neighbor is a stella&dot stylist, and i met her at a friend's party this summer. at the time, i was shopping for a turquoise necklace to wear in my sister's wedding. i scored this fun number with the bumblebee brooch.
i also picked up cricket also bought me these pretty stackable rings. i've gotten so many compliments on them! i also scored this fabulous [and now retired] owl pendant necklace on sale .i actually bought it with the intention of gifting to my sis-in-law who is an owl-aholic. sorry jenn. talk about compliments. i saw it on "whitney" last week too.

i loved the bling, so it seemed like a fun idea to host one of my own. while cricket was sequestered upstairs with a cooler watching football, the girls giggled + tried on lots of jewelry while sipping champagne cocktails. some of my favorite pieces...

the la coco chain: (versatile and more bronze than the pic shows)

leather wrap bracelets:
 starry night pendant: (subtle sparkle for everyday)

 chantilly bracelet: (it has just the right amount of delicate sparkle in this show-stopping cuff)
the serpent bracelet: (for channeling my inner cleopatra)

see anything ya can't live without? you can shop directly from my neighbor's site, just enter my name as the hostess. orders arrive to your door in just 3-5 days, in a cute little box--perfect for gift-giving. shop away!

Monday, October 10, 2011

fall in north georgia

saturday was glorious, so we packed up the dog and headed north for the day. Lula's been acting out a little, so we figured an adventure would do her spirit some good.

we started the day driving around lake rabun, specifically tame turkey road. we hit a spot and were taken aback by how breathtaking it was. you could see the neighboring mountains & there wasn't a cloud in the sky. sorry, too stunned for photos.

when our bellies started growling, we headed north to dillard, ga to find a bite to eat. just north of dillard on hwy 441 is an amazing farm stand: osage farms. they always have fresh veggies, amazing prices, and, of course, a crowd on the weekends. right next to the farm stand is tomlin bbq. we tried their brisket sandwiches--yum--and baked beans--okay. it was messy & delicious. we sat on the back of tailgate, letting bbq sauce drip down our fingers and hit the dirt parking lot, with Lula curled up in the back of the truck. oh, and we matched. both in black pullovers with red shirts underneath. it would have been a perfect Christmas card...if our hands hadn't been too sloppy to operate a camera.

it was a popular day at the farm stand for several reasons: it's the end of the season, so only a few weeks remain. locals were stocking up on ears of corn by the bushel, crates of potatoes, and pumpkins! they had some awesome varieties of pumpkins. cinderella pumpkins, fairytale pumpkins, swan gourds, and more i'd never heard of.  i wish i'd bought some, but still not sure why i didn't. actually, cricket convinced me they'd rock around in the back of the truck too much. really? i'm a sucker.

after nourishment, we scoped out a few hikes for our adventure. we opted to either check out the chattooga river or try something new. we'd talked about trying the panther creek falls trail, but it's like 15 miles. no thank you. cricket found a waterfall hike near clayton, ga, so we headed to the trailhead on warwoman road. the trail was a total of 10 minutes, including our 4 minute "break" to take in the falls. and by falls, i mean gentle trickle down a cliff into a slightly-wetter-than-dry creek. Lula had fun with the new smells, though.

all in all, it was a great day in the mountains. the leaves were starting to change, the weather was a high of 71, and it's just good to get out of town every once in a while. and Lula, i'd say she had a pretty good day. poor little dog.