Thursday, October 31, 2013


Happy Halloween! I got in the spirit this past weekend. I had the chance to go to my favorite Halloween party. It's actually hosted by Ginny's parents - they've been hosting this party for as long as I can remember. I think I've been there just about every year since I was in high school. And, of course, all of our childhood friends are invited to attend. Among those who still live in the area, turnout is pretty darn good!

Its a costume party - and I usually wear a costume, but one that's really lame. The party is at night, the weekend before Halloween, and its Minnesota. It's too cold to go crazy!

I started with this. I've had this blaze orange t-shirt since I worked for my uncle in 2009. Pulaski is a client of his, they were giving the shirts away, and somehow I wound up with one. I actually adore it! It's perfect for sleeping when it's chilly.

I decided to take it in a classic direction. I slipped on the inside-out t-shirt over my fleece jacket and I was off...

... but not without my favorite Halloween accessories! It was a wonderful evening filled with friends, laughter, a bonfire and WAY too much candy. I hope yours holds the same!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


I suppose most of you don't know the story about why I started blogging. I'll tell the abbreviated version right here: sometime in the summer of 2011, I began reading some blogs. Late adopter, anyone? Seriously - I knew what a blog was, I even knew some people who had blogs, but I wasn't a routine follower of any until 2011. The blogs that most captured my attention were those written by women about my age who all characterized themselves as "preppy." It's a little strange, right? I don't think that word has ever in my life been applied to me! (For the curious among you, the prime example of a preppy blog is Monograms and Manicures.)

As I read more, it became clear that Lilly Pulitzer defined this style. I'm not a terribly stylish person - I know this. Nevertheless, I feel comfortable saying that Lilly Pulitzer and her signature fabrics just aren't that popular in Minnesota. It's probably got a lot to do with the weather, and the fact that I'm not a member of a country club, and maybe a little to do with general Nordic plainness, but seriously: I don't think I've ever seen a woman in person wearing a Lilly print. But, the more I see these Lilly prints on the good ol' internet, the more I've begun to realize how pretty and fun they are!

With all of this background in mind, I hope you'll appreciate how excited I was to have something Lilly in my collection!
 I know it might not be what you were imagining when I began this description...

 To have two new items - neither of which can be worn - designed by a well-respected fashion designer...

But, they're here and they're mine and I love them! I guess I probably didn't really need these things, especially the whiteboard. I'm past the dorm room stage. But, as you can see from this one, I did some sweet, cheap damage at TJ Maxx when I collected these pretties. Yippee!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Work It

So, I know I've written at least once before about this fun tradition I have with my friends. Four times a year, our local IKEA has a holiday-themed Swedish mega-buffet. Score! We're not always able to make it to these crazy adventures, but we've gone a number of times. Our most recent experience was at the Crayfish Party this August. I know that, with November arriving in just a couple of days, this seems like ancient history. Honestly, it sort of feels that way. But, we had such an awesome experience I just knew I had to tell you guys about it.

Here's Daisy's collection: meatballs, mashed potatoes, salad, Scandinavian deviled eggs, and even a little dessert. 

It's possible to buy tickets in advance for these events, which is definitely recommended, especially if you're planning to attend with a large group. One problem, though, is that sometimes the tickets in advance sell out. Eek! We knew it would be possible to stand in line and hope we could still get in, but I was nervous about that. I think it was Magnolia and Daisy who had done that once before, and they were more hopeful than I. They convinced the rest of us, so along we went. We met up at IKEA and joined the huge line. 

It didn't take very long for us to get up to the hostess, who was way nicer than I had expected. She said she didn't know if she'd be able to get us in, but that we could wait. Handily, there were some leather Klippan couches right there (bonus points if you know what the Klippan looks like!), so we sat down and cooled our heels. The couch was facing the clear glass rail that overlooked the entry way, so the people watching was pretty darn great. We sat there for a while, which was actually kind of relaxing. Several minutes later, the hostess said they had a table for us. Given that we didn't have tickets, we needed to pay to enter, but the woman working the cash register was on a break. The hostess sat us at our table and told us we could go ahead, and that they would come get us when the cashier returned.

And here's Magnolia, modeling the lovely crayfish she's about to eat. Weird or yummy? 

Then the crazy fun began! It can be overwhelming, because there's often a very long line, which moves slowly because so many of the choices on the buffet are unfamiliar. But us? We're old pros. We raced up after having scoped it out to make sure the line was short. Each of us got exactly what we wanted and basically worked the buffet like a pro. Even though it was 2 months ago, I'm still kind of proud of us. Also, often when we go to these things, I run into someone else I know. There's one family - with two older parents and five kids who are about my age - who I've known for years. There's another guy who I've known for about 15 years - since before he met the woman he since married and who is now carrying their second child. It seems like every time we go to one of these things, I cross paths with one of these people. As much fun as it is, once I get engaged in talking with these acquaintances, I have a tough time extracting myself. It seems like often, my buffet buddies have made it through the line and back and eaten their first plates before I even make it to the serving area. I don't want to slow them down, and I'm grateful for the chance to see these other people who are old friends, but it can make the entire evening kind of harried. On this particular evening, the contingents of both of these families were particularly small, and did not include the people with whom I'm closest. I was able to avoid all small talk! I stuck close to my buffet buddies and spent the whole evening with them, which was so fun!

And here's my plate: I know its not exactly Paleo, but I did skip the mashed potatoes and I ate a salad. I'm sure I made up for it with extra sweets and the soft flatbread. It was an indulgence, and well worth it. 

All of that was just the lead up. As we were enjoying the end of our first round, the hostess came back. I had kind of hoped she would forget about us - I know that's a selfish thing to hope, but these deals are so totally chaotic, I could imagine it happening. Seriously - it seems like everyone there, staff and patrons alike, is totally stressed out by the atmosphere. There are tons of people everywhere, the buffet is always running out of this or that, lines are long, children are crying, and it seems like no one is having fun. But, like I said before, we are pros at these events by now. We were totally relaxed and having a great time. As she was walking towards our table, I was thinking of the terrible music you hear in movies when the villain is approaching. And then the music totally changed when she started talking: She told us that, because we were having such a good time, the whole meal was on her! Woohoo! We ate our fill and then charged around the marketplace, picking up everything we could think of. We were feeling some pretty serious goodwill towards the establishment after our delicious, comped meal. 

I got this soup bowl, which sort of matches my dishes, and this set of pink and green dish towels. 

I don't have pictures of the shopping craze portion of the evening, but I'm sure you can imagine it. As the lights went down, to remind everyone that the store was closed for the evening, we got in line to settle up with everyone's favorite Swede! 

Friday, October 25, 2013

New pretties

One thing I've been up to recently is making some jewelry. It can be tough to get excited about finicky, tiny work like bending loops this way and that - the essentials of jewelry making. But, with the way my place is set up, I make jewelry at the kitchen table. Once I go through the hassle of bringing out the beading design board, and the 5 plastic boxes that hold all the supplies, I usually make more than one thing before packing them up again.

There were a couple of neat pieces I made recently!

I spotted these white beads quite a while ago - so long, I can't even remember which craft store! Ack! Anyways, I bought two strands of them and knew I wanted to make a necklace to keep. I was thinking I needed something that I could wear with my work clothes. I knew I didn't want black, but I was hoping for something versatile. I considered pearls, but I decided to go in a different direction.

It's not exactly a statement necklace, but it does add some volume with a scoop-necked dressy t-shirt. Since I only own about a dozen of those (almost wishing I were kidding...), I knew it would come in handy!

I also made another, longer necklace that was all about these pieces:
I found these sweet quatrefoil connectors when I went to the fancy bead store looking for the chain I needed to make the lighter-shaded tree necklace. I originally made this one with some extra thin jump rings, and then some of them came open the first time I debuted this necklace. The result was a tangle of doubled-up chain. But, with some diligent un-knotting, and some sad but necessary throwing away of perfectly good but totally screwed up chain, I was able to put together the finished product!
I'm pretty happy with how it turned out! The only bad news was that I wore it for the first time with this really pretty kelly green t-shirt... and then felt like I was the world's oldest Junior Girl Scout. Note to self: leave bright green + quatrefoil for the middle-schoolers and wear this one with any other color!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Guess who's back?

Finally - me!

I've been thinking for several weeks about how this return-to-life blogging post was going to go. And, during this same time period, I've had an ancient mix CD in the rotation in my car that features this song. Sorry for bringing him back to you, but I do think this is Eminem's best!

So, yeah, I've been away from blogging for a really long time. I had my surgery on July 9, precisely as scheduled. It was a nail biter until the very last minute, but it went without a hitch. We had basically three goals for surgery: completely eliminate two aneurysms, and have me wake up as myself. My surgeon had explained to me that he probably wouldn't be able to completely eliminate one of the aneurysms, because it was weird. We both hoped he might be able to take care of it completely, but he couldn't. It's not been totally resolved, though it's better than it had been. And, the two other goals were completely achieved: the other aneurysm is gone and, best of all, I got to wake up and still be myself!

I recovered in the hospital with the help of these cheerful balloons!

And I got to enjoy this awesome summer view of the Minnesota State Capitol every time I took a lap around the floor where I was staying. I actually managed to cut two days off my hospital stay from last time. I had surgery on Tuesday afternoon and was asleep in my bed at Mom and Dad's by Saturday night.

Recovery after the hospital went pretty smoothly. Last time, I had to take this medicine that made me feel tired and discombobulated for 3 months after surgery - and this time I got to skip that one altogether. That's part of why, when I was invited to go to a mid-day Twins game during my last week of FMLA leave, I was able to say yes!

I had the chance to enjoy the beautiful summer days, like this one, which are starting to seem like an awfully long time ago. Recovery certainly wasn't without bumps in the road. I'm sure there were days when you wondered whether I would ever return. I wondered that myself, actually, because there were lots of days when I was too tired to think about the energy I'd need to do cool projects and write about them. I kept thinking to myself that the gnarly medication had been to blame for how I felt last time I recovered, so I didn't understand why I felt so icky this time around. I guess the real answer is as much as the meds (it's Keppra, if you're curious) SUCK, surgery really takes it out of you either way.

But, eventually fall got here, and things suddenly seemed like they were back to normal. With one big exception, of course: the blog! So, I have a few things that happened during my break that I'll be able to share with you soon. I'm looking forward to more. Thanks for sticking with me despite this long hiatus. I know the real fun is about the begin!