31 January 2011

Stars & Sinks.

Betsy is "Star of the Week" this week at school.
It requires a poster, among other things.
Including: 5 show & tell items, a favorite snack to share, and a Q & A interview sheet.
After having to make many "Star of the Week" posters,
I have grown weary.
Plus, I like to wait until the absolute last minute.
That way, the pressure is so freakin' great that only my best ideas blossom.
Except this time.
Good thing I know Julie.
What are the chances that she was in the same pickle as I?
On Friday, I saw THIS.
My creativity issues were solved.
By someone else, but solved nonetheless.
Rest assured, you can do this without a MAC.
I am a PC girl, and did it pretty easily in a combo of Photoshop & Picasa.
I used photos from 2009 & 2010 taken by Laura Siebert and Brenda Shelton.
Both sites feature a photo or two that I am quite partial to.
Wink, wink.
I like the free fonts from HERE, too, in case, you're interested.
Then, I sent it off to Costco for some cheap {but good} 1-hour processing.
Now, she probably won't even get to use it.
We are going to have a snow apocalypse here beginning later today.
They say it will be worse than the "Snow Event" of 1982.
Yipee! {said tongue in cheek}
I can handle it, as long as the electricity does not go out. 
Food is stocked, sleds are greased up, but electricity is not negotiable.

I've had many of you email me or comment on the kitchen post about our faucet.
It is from Lowe's.
The brand is AquaSource.
I will admit being a little leery about buying an 'off-brand'.
But, this faucet is the real deal.
It's really heavy & substantial stainless steel.
It was easy to install, and we've had no problems with it.
It has an optional deck plate if you have a drop-in, over mount sink.
It also comes with a soap dispenser.
if you live near a Lowe's it is cheaper to buy it in the store than on-line.
Hope that answered your questions!

27 January 2011

a 'Harry' situation.

a ROUGH  version of the invitation

Have we discussed Rosie's near clinical obsession with 'Harry and the Henderson's'?  It's sick, twisted, a bit scary, and I love it.  THIS is all she wanted from Santa {and she got it}, and she wears THIS every other day.

After much debate {mostly from my end} between a cookies & milk party, a doll party, an 'Alice and Wonderland' party, and a Harry party.  We ultimately let the birthday girl have her heart's desire.

How the heck do I throw a Harry party?

Harry likes to eat woodland foliage, fast food fish sandwiches, potato chips and dip, and 15th birthday wrist corsages.  Hardly the menu I was after.


Let's stick our heads together.  If you are remotely familiar with this 1987 theatrical masterpiece, and have any ideas, shoot them my way.  If I can use it, I will give credit where credit is due.

For once, I am at a loss.

24 January 2011

Methane Studios.

First off, let me say, I was not paid or rewarded in any way to write this post.  Secondly, little Jake is sick, so I'll be quick about this.

I got a comment from a reader on this post, and based on what she told me, I had to check it out.

I was wowed.  Wow, wow, wow!

Her husband owns Methane Studios.  It is just fantastic.

Let me share with you a sampling:

love this one by Mark McDevitt
my favorite band du jour
and those florals make me swoon

LOVE Camera Obscura, LOVE this print by Robert Lee
think...little girl's room

this one is great by Staci Janik
would look groovy in a sewing room/studio

this one by Mark McDevitt
c'mon, we all know how I feel about Glen
and books for that matter

They sell gig posters, art prints, t-shirts, and lots of Dave Matthews posters, too.  The designs are so incredible.  

Additionally, if you follow them on Facebook here, you can get in on purchasing one of a kind test prints, and view rejected designs {personally, I think that is so cool}.  

If your design and musical tastes resemble mine at all...I highly encourage you to not only take a peek at Methane Studios, but buy something.  Treat yourself to a real work of art.  I have a feeling it's a purchase you won't regret!

22 January 2011

My semi-beauty not-so-secrets.

Let me preface this post by saying, that although I have a love affair with fashion, I am no beauty.  I wear little to no make-up most days, I am not into hair {hence its shortness}, heck, I don't even wash my face every night.  Gross, I know.  Ironically, I've never had an issue with acne.  That's a sore subject with my sister.  So, if you should ever meet her, don't ask her how she felt about the fact that I had a scuz face in high school and her's was clean as a whistle, yet she had a battle with the zits, and I did not.  She wouldn't like that.  Looking back, I can understand why.  I wouldn't say I'm a girly girl.  I do like dresses and such, but I'm not into primping and prodding.  I am what I am, body parts have settled where they've settled.  I have the face & body that the Good Lord blessed me with.  All 6 feet of it.

However, there are certain things that I cannot live without in terms of my beauty regimen, if that's what you call Dove soap and a good scrub.  Just little things I do everyday.  My skin is pretty nice for being almost 33, I've never had hair issues, my teeth are big like a horse, but nice & white, etc.  So, I will pass on simple things I do to keep me looking and feeling my best.

1. Keep a tube of toothpaste and a toothbrush in the shower.  Go ahead and kill two birds with one stone.  This is a little something that my parents did, and now my sister and I do.  My husband finds it nauseating to brush with warm water, and refuses.  Personally, I find it exhilarating to step out of the shower COMPLETELY clean.

2.  Baking soda as a toothpaste.  Every so often I kick it old school and dip my toothbrush in a box of baking soda {NOT the same one I use to bake}, and scrub my pearly whites.  My teeth never felt so good.  It's the best at home teeth cleaning ever.

3. Apricot scrub.  I have used this for years.  I use to exfoliate mainly my face, but will use it on any rough patches.  It also has salicylic acid in it to diminish blemishes and blackheads.  I don't use it everyday.  Maybe once a week, but it's awesome. I feel like it makes my skin glow.

4.  Moisturizer.  After a shower or face washing slop it on.  I have combination skin, but this is still really important.  I have done it forever, and have to say my 32-year-old face thanks me more and more everyday.  Particularly, because I use one with SPF.  Which leads me to...

5.  DON'T TAN!  You may think you look fantastic, now, with your very obviously fake orange glow, but when you're in you 40s/50s and your skin is all wrinkly and saggy, you will not.  Contrary to what you think, it doesn't make you look thinner or prettier {really, it's all in your head}. Your face is still your face, just a shade of tangerine, and you still weigh the same. What is wrong with pale, ivory skin?  I find it refreshing and radiant.  I was guilty of tanning bed visits in my late teens early 20s, but never had an obsession.  My skin has thanked me.

6. Use a razor made for men.  No one on Earth can convince me that a Gillette for men is the same as a Venus for women, or any manly razor is the same as any Daisy.  I'm telling you ladies, if you're not using a razor for men on those legs, you're missing out.  You will never have a closer, smoother shave.  You're legs will be glossy, they're so hairless.

7. Use good perfume.  I've decided if you like fragrance, don't skimp.  Cheap stuff is full of alcohol, and that evaporates quickly.  Splurge on a sent you love.  If you can do it, get the eau de parfume or the eau de parfum {yes, that one letter makes a difference}, NOT the eau de toilette.  It is waaaaaaay more concentrated leaving the scent on your body, not evaporating into the atmosphere, and you need to use way less of it.  IF I use perfume, I like clean, light, fresh scents that are subtle and not overpowering; Donna Karen Cashmere Mist, many of the Philosophy scents {I love Pure Grace}, Fresh Citron de Vigne {all of which can be found at Sephora or Nordstrom}.

8. Spritz some perfume on you hair before you dry it.  I swear by this.  I only do it when we go on a date, or out somewhere.  Something about the heat sets the scent in, but makes it subtle, too.  Every time you turn your head you get a wiff.  It's lovely.

9. Great Lash mascara.  Out of all make-up, I love mascara and lipstick/lipgloss the best.  If you can slap those two things on, you can look polished.  I have used a bagillion different kinds of mascara.  Expensive stuff, cheap stuff, you name it.  Nothing compares to Great Lash.  Classic ole Great Lash.

10.  Water, exercise, sleep!  The tri-fecta. Possibly my favorite tip.  I didn't realize the importance of water and exercise until the last year or so.  It does something to your insides that inevitably reflects on your outside.  I have always enjoyed my sleep.  Ask anyone who knows me.

11.  When in absolute peril Photoshop.  I jest, but if you look worn down, and feel like you need it, it's a  photo lifesaver.  Fix a blemish, brighten your smile, diminish under eye circles, liquefy if you have to! Sadly, Photoshop only works on PHOTOS. Remember the golden rule of Photoshop, subtle, subtle, subtle.  It still needs to look like you.  Let's be honest, we've all needed a little Adobe help.  However, I cannot stress the importance of subtlety.  Remember a photo is not the genuine you, in real life you will still have that zit, those dingy teeth, those eye bags, and that fat.  A sad reality, but true. People will start to wonder why you don't look as fantastic in real life.  Use it sparingly!  Personally, I don't do beauty PS, unless I have a hair or something across my face or big under eye circles.  I'm afraid I KNOW I'll become too reliant.  

The End.

21 January 2011

If these walls could talk.

family room in progress
don't mind the lack of baseboards

If you were a fly on the wall in this house when I have my 'we've-been-here-for-months-and-I-want-it-to-feel-like-our-home-not-just-a-house' meltdowns, you would be thoroughly entertained.  Thankfully for my nerves and my dear, sweet husband, those fits have been few and far between these days.  I can be a real whiny, rhymes-with-rich sometimes a LOT of the time.  When I feel control slipping away from my paws, I don't know how to deal with it.  Enter the crazy, ball bustin' Beth.  And, let's face it, who has total control in a house full of four kids ages 3-9?!?!  Routine, yes.  Total control, no.

The big joke around these parts is that I keep Jake's nether regions in a jar.  I like to pretend that it's a vintage mason jar.  You know, for aesthetic reasons.  That makes me feel a bit better about my issues.  That pretty jar with not so pretty male anatomy resting inside.

Then, I snap out of it, and realize I am eternally screwed up.  More than anything, I'm so grateful that such an incredible man decided to love me.  Control issues and all.  A man who hung stuff up for me.  Because he loves me, and tolerates my psychoticness.  A man who cursed his drill {because it was 'screwing' up big time}, but stuck with it so a certain glossy red curtain rod could be placed in order for me to sew up some panels.

There is a calm settling over this house.  I am blissfully content, but I am sure my man is happier than I.

17 January 2011

Concert posters are rad.

I have decided that a pretty affordable way to add some 'art' to your abode is with concert posters.  Many musicians commission artists local to the city they're playing in to create a unique-to-that-city/show/tour image.  It's a great way to commemorate the event, too. It certainly isn't a new idea, but I love it all the same.  Here are some great examples:

I employed this idea in our old house with a 'The Swell Season' poster from the November 2009 show we attended.  It is a really great image, and is on super nice, thick archival paper.  Bonus:  it was about $15.  The other great thing is that these prints are usually poster size, can be framed affordably, and offer a big graphic punch to otherwise boring walls.

I will be hanging leaning that poster in the new house, too.  We're doing a couple of 'gallery' walls with this shelving from Ana White.  I have a plethora of photographs and artwork, and thought this would be a good way to display all the framed things I love.  I can easily rotate things, too, which will be nice on our plaster walls.  Everything will be unified by white frames and/or mats.  It will be super.

While in Knoxville for the Mumford & Sons show, my sister and I each purchased a tour poster.  While it's not unique to the particular show, it does honor the North American tour {well, the second one, anyway}.  The deer head sold me.  This poster is HUGE, and was $10.  I scored a thick, chunky poster frame on clearance at Target for $11.38.  The only problem was the dimension of the poster...I think it may be a standard METRIC measurement, but not a US standard measurement.  So, no poster frames fit it exactly.  I got a white mat board cut, and solved my problems.  By the way, you can have this done on the cheap at just about any place that does framing.  They will usually do it while you wait, too.

Isn't she a looker?  Even if I didn't like Mum, I would love this graphic.  Those antlers are beauts.

Even if you don't get out much, or live music isn't your thing, you can still own some of these posters.  Most band's websites have a merchandise section, and they often sell leftover posters.  Just remember, most of them are made in limited quantities, so if you're after a certain show, jump on it when you see it.

P.S. How cute & colorful would a nursery or kids room be with lots of concert posters?  Check this out on Ohdeedoh for some super kid friendly posters.

P.P.S.  I am completely unmotivated to do anything else today, but dance...to THIS.



First off, let me say, my ISO was set wrong, and that is why these photos are sub-par.  All I can say about that is: 1. I'm too lazy to retake them, and 2. I'm just glad this didn't happen whilst taking photos for someone else.

Secondly, I use the term 'done' loosely, only because there is a lot of knit-picky finish work to be done.  The hardware would all be installed, but the company we got our cabinets from needs to send us several new drawers due to differences in drawer height.  Those drawers are on their way this week, thankfully.  Also, we need to add the toe kick, fill nail holes, add trim pieces to the island, and seal the marble back splash one more time.

The stools came from Overstock.com, and I love, love, love them.  The kids think eating breakfast at the island is boss.  Oh, to be young again, and find such unencumbered pleasure from such a small thing. The warehouse pendants over the island are from Lowe's and they were something like $32 a piece.  I think they're really for garages and such, but who cares?

We also added a pantry, configured with cabinets which we placed right on top of the counters.  It has really been quite an asset to the kitchen.  With such an open floor plan, we don't really have a designated pantry.  There is a triple wide hall closet that I put back-up pantry staples in, but it's nice to not have to walk into the hall every time I want a bowl of cereal, which is about 35.9834 times a day.  I love carbs.  There, I said it.

Some open shelving was a must.  Since we ordered 'in-stock' cabinetry {which isn't really in-stock, by the way}, your custom choices are quite limited.  Which meant Jake had to get creative.  We purchased corbels through the cabinet company, but he had to make the shelves out of melamine shelving and trim that he picked  up from the hardware store.  Voila!  I love them!  He did a GREAT job!

We went with Silestone counter tops.  They are fantastic.  You don't need to seal them like granite, they don't stain, you can chop away on them, and set hot stuff on them.  They are great with littles in the house. I chose 'grey expo' because I thought it looked like poured concrete counters, which I love.  The industrial-esque faucet is from Lowe's.  It is the best, most practical faucet I've ever had or used.  It reminds me of the one we had in the pizzeria I worked at in high school. Fond, fond memories.

You need to think outside of the box sometimes.  Case in point, the over-the-sink light fixture.  It's really an outdoor fixture.  I've used these before in our old house, but I will always love them.  Bonus: they are less than $30 at Lowe's.  You really can't go wrong.  Simple bamboo shade is from Home Depot.  As you can see, I am not loyal to one home improvement store over the other.  Ha!

The marble subway tiles are from Home Depot.  In an ideal world, I would've gotten carrara marble counter tops.  However, they stain.  Enough said with four kids under the age of 10.  This was my way of incorporating the marble without it being on a used & abused surface in the kitchen.  All of our appliances are Kitchen Aid.  This go round we purchased a slide in range.  Holla for slide in ranges!  There are no gaps on the side for gross stuff to fall into.  No more cleaning the sides with a toothpick or fork.  Yipee!

As for the hardware, when it all goes up, it will look like this.  We went with black for contrast.  Classic knobs on the doors, and a more contemporary handle style pull on all of the drawers.  These are all from Lowe's.  Super cheap!  They also have brushed nickel if that's your preference.

It has been a labor of love to say the least.  With this project nearly finished, we can start hanging things on the walls!  You have no idea how happy that makes me.  No idea!  I still really want one of these to lean on one of the cafe shelves, a butcher block cutting board for the island, and a stainless shelf above the range, but, overall, I couldn't be happier.

If you have any other questions, let me know.  Email or comments, and I'll get back to you.  If I can get it together, I am going to do a budget breakdown.  Oh, the receipts.

I've never done this before, so, we'll give it a try.  I'm linking up...

mmm button

14 January 2011


This is the most pathetic sight I've ever seen.  
She is a very sad, sick little.

Hope you have a better weekend
than Miss Betsy will be having!

13 January 2011

A Helping Hand.

Betsy tickled pink about her bowling success or laughing at my 'Bat Cape'.  One or the other.

Recently, Betsy bowled in a local Special Olympics event.  She got to use this fancy-fangled contraption at the smelly bowling alley to help give her ball the momentum it needed to get down the lane.  Since then, bowling has become a favorite activity of hers, and luckily, ever since St.Louis County passed the "Smoke-Free" legislation, the lanes are much more enjoyable.

It got me thinking that we could all use a thing-a-ma-jig to help give us momentum.  To get our figurative ball rolling.  For me, it's my husband, my sister, my mom, my friends.  Even music, or my camera, or a good book, or a long run.

I prefer an honest, good hearted shove in the right direction.  But, I've learned, sometimes you have to ask for it. People aren't mind readers.  But, boy, oh boy, sometimes I wish they were.

I'm not sure why I wrote this, but I'm bored.  The snow continues here, as it is everywhere.  49 out of the 50 states have seen it in some form or another. I love winter, but I'm cold to my bones, and for the first time in forever, I'm ready for spring in January.

I need a vacation.

Do you?

11 January 2011

Average people are cool.

Once again, I would like to thank Heather at "Blessed Little Nest" for the header help.  I was really at an impass, and couldn't creatively translate what I wanted on my own this time.  I think she nailed it.  She also tweaked my new tagline a bit, and I lurv it!

So, on that same thread, I will share with you the 'average' peoples' anthem.  "Where Have All the Average People Gone?", written by Roger Miller, performed by Mr.Scott Avett, and, yes, I met that handsome man.  Scott Avett, not Roger Miller. {Lyrics below, and I hope I'm not the only one that can identify.}

The people in this city call me country,
Because of how I walk and talk and smile.
Well I don't mind them laughing in the city,
But the country folks all say I'm citified.

The fighting men they say that I'm a coward.
Because I never push no one around.
Gentle people call me trouble-maker,
Cause I'll always fight and stand my ground.

Funny I don't fit.
Where have all the average people gone?

Some pious people point and call me sinner,
Because to them I've never seen the lights.
Other folks think of me as a preacher.
I'm just doing what I think is right.

The wealthy people think that I'm a hobo,
Lean and hungry, writing mournful songs.
And the poor, poor people think I'm a rich man,
But really, I'm just trying to get along.

Its funny I don't fit.
Tell me where have all the average people gone?

And the government has given me a number,
To simplify my birth and life and death.
And still my woman thinks I'm awful important,
Like the moon and the sun and the sea and the sky and breath.

Yes, its funny I don't fit.
Where have all the average people gone?

It's funny I don't fit,
Where have all the average people gone?

06 January 2011

Update: on progress...

Okay, so, I'm getting some makeover help from sweet Heather over at "Blessed Little Nest".  If you don't know Heather, pop over and say hello.


She will make you smile.  Anywho, that will begin on Monday, so there will be some delay in the new layout.

Also, I'm going to keep at the ole blog until I don't.  I'm hoping as our house finally gets settled, I will discover new fervor for blogging.  I don't ever want to feel like it is an obligation.

Thirdly, I was going to share with you a few things that are giving me good vibes as of late.

Number 1:
I love Disney's Robin Hood.  It is one of my favorites.  Roger Miller's Alan-a-Dale is arguably one of the most delightful, most memorable Disney characters EVER.  Well, the other day, while meandering through 'Mumford & Sons' and 'The Avett Brothers' You Tube vids {both of which are all I've been listening to the past several weeks, sad but true}, I found a gem.

Those young boys from England are something else.  They recorded 'Not in Nottingham'.  Brilliant. Brilliant. Brilliant.

Why, if I was about 12 years younger, not married, no kids, and had absolutely nothing else keeping my back in the Lou, I'd have to find those young Brits and hug them tight.  Real tight.  And thank them for plucking and crooning just the way I like. Then, I would marry Marcus.  The End.

Number 2:
We received a really cool wedding gift almost 11 years ago.  A vintage, green vinyl, double wide, chaise lounger with a reclining and vibrating mechanism that actually still works.  It never found a place in our 2 previous homes, mostly due to space restrictions.

But, in the new abode it has been resurrected from storage.

It has already brought much joy to our family.  Acutally, I'm sick of feeling the floor shaking all the way in the kitchen because of the vibrating feature.  The littles think it is pure genius.  Eventually, I would love to have it recovered in white vinyl, but that is a LONG way off.  Disabling all of the mechanical features may be a nice way to go, too.

Number 3:
Several little painting projects are keeping me quite occupied, but I'll have to say, the piece that is getting a coat of this green is really making me happy.  

And, I thought it wasn't easy being green?!?!?!

P.S.  Have I ever told you about affinity for mini paint rollers?  Whomever thought of those deserves a big trophy.

I know it must be killing some of you not to see photos of the house, and all I can tell you is, it's SLOW GOING.  That is really difficult for me to deal with, but I know when it's done, it will be so worth it. 

Thanks for the encouraging words the other day, and thanks for sticking with me.  Because sometimes...I am a loser.  And, that is okay. 

04 January 2011

The Fork in the Road.

image via kaushik.net

As I struggle with my blog issues:  do I want to continue to blog?, if I continue, what direction do I want this blog to go in?, will a drastic change mean less of you coming along for the ride?, etc, I do know one thing in this sea of uncertainty...

I know I want this area of the Internets to be a nice place to be.  Maybe not super 'Suzy Sunshine' at all times, but nice.  Basically, I want to share what I think would interest you.  Things that keep me going back to blogs that I read.  Let's face it, blogging is narcissistic.  I read this once somewhere, "Nowadays anyone with a crap laptop and an Internet connection can sound their barbaric yawp, whatever it may be.".  I can't remember where, but it's true.  This is a me, me, me culture, and I never thought I'd fall pray to it.  This blog has evolved so much in the last 2 years, and I'm not happy with the place it is currently.  

I look back on all the posts, and really have mixed feelings.  Sometimes I'm so whiny, sometimes too boastful, opinionated, self-righteous, even proud.  Seasons of life, I suppose.  Because there are the funny posts, the informative posts, the moments of good writing or pretty photos.  

I don't think I'm great, but I'm okay.  And okay, is good.  Okay IS great.  Okay is a happy place to be.  I want everyone to think that their mediocre okay life is just as awesome as I think mine is.  Perspective.  Okay is the new cool.  That's what I want everyone to take away from here.  Okay is super.  There is beauty and amazingness in okay.  And, if I can't succeed in doing that, well, I will close up shop.  Just because I can arrange a mantel vignette or shoot my camera in manual mode, I assure you, there is nothing extraordinary about me.

Maybe during this trial period I'll get that loving feeling back for the blog.  Maybe not.  But, whatever happens, I'll be okay.  Okay is good.  Okay is great.  Okay is super.  

02 January 2011

Howdy! Happy New Year!

Hope everyone had a great New Year's!  

We spent ours in the dark with candles all around.

A smallish type tornado hit a mere mile from our quiet little hood on Dec.31st.

Thankfully, no one in our area of the state was hurt or worse yet, killed!

My parents neighborhood was hit harder than ours, but all homes are still standing.

I can't say the same is true for other homes in the area.

Please keep these families in your thoughts and prayers.

FYI, we do not live rurally.

We live 10-15 minutes from downtown St.Louis in a very populated suburban area.

Lesson: tornadoes don't just hit the plains of Kansas and Oklahoma, peeps.

On a happier note...

The kitchen needs minor details: hardware, crown molding, accessories.

I am very pleased.

I apologize for the doo-doo photo.

I will take more impressive photos as we complete the project.

The before and afters are amazing.

I canNOT believe Big Jake did it all.  

I am a lucky duck.

I will be back for reals near the end of this week.

I'm tweaking my new look, and hope you like it.

I already have enough posts floating around in my head for about 2 weeks.

Now, let's see if I can stay focused enough to pull it off.