Friday, November 30, 2007

Day 154

Today, my mom and I are hitting the Christmas gift trail. Per usual, I've been giving a lot more thought to what I want to give this year than what I want to get. Here's a taste of what's on my gift radar:

Graphic Image makes these gorgeous leather-bound dictionaries an aray of beautiful colors. What a fun gift for a college student! If a dictionary isn't your thing, maybe an address book, journal, golf rule book, agenda, photo frame, album or scrapbook in a fun color will suit you better. During the wedding planning process, I had a little pocket notebook that said "Bride's Notes" on the front. It was much, much more handy than fishing through wads of post-it notes when trying to share ideas with vendors.

In my mind, Illume candles cannot be beat. I burn the gardenia scent year-round, but the holiday flavors are incredible. I recently walked into a store burning Angel Food, and I thought they must have added food to their repetoire it smelled so delicious. And they're pretty, to boot!

Okay, so this one might actually be on my Christmas list ... I love a good calendar and I love anything that's letterpressed, so this is perfect! You can find this pretty and practical stocking stuffer at Paper-Source.

Day 153's disturbing news

Don't leave us, Tommy Tuberville.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Day 152

Wes and I spent two days this week getting our Christmas tree up, and the process stirred up lots of memories for both of us. For me, it started at the tree lot. We always had live trees when we were growing up, and as soon as I stepped out of the car and put my face into a Fraser Fir, I was instantly transported back to childhood. They say that smell, more than any other sense, triggers memory, and man, do I have some great memories of Christmas.

My mom really knew/knows how to do Christmas right. She'd make a pot of soup, or something equally appropriate, and put on her and Dad's old LPs of Bing Crosby, Gene Autrey and Nat King Cole. Dad's job was to get the tree in the stand (not so easy, as we found out this week) and then to set the mood with his pipe. He only smoked it twice a year: once as we decorated the tree and then again on Christmas Eve. I can recognize pipe smoke anywhere (again with the scent memories!).

When we moved to Tennessee, things really got out of hand. There was a lot more space to decorate, and we added an entire second tree. We spread the tasks among the three of us. BA helped mom with the trees, Allison did the snow village and the snowmen in the breakfast room and I usually put the garland on the stair rail, over the front door and on the mantle. I don't think our house ever looked better than it did at Christmas, and I really really wish we had thought to properly document it last year. I don't think any of us actually thought Mom would have sold the house and moved to Birmingham by now! But I digress.

Naturally, when it came to decorating our first tree, I emulated what I learned at home. I made chili. I turned the TV to the "sounds of the season" channel (man, I miss those LPs). And I insisted that we have a real, live tree. Which wouldn't have been such a big deal, if I had remembered that a hack saw is absolutely necessary when setting up a tree. One quick trip to K-mart, and we were in business. I took over Mom's job and strung the lights, all 470 of them. Then we realized that we didn't have ornament hooks. Whoops.

So most of the decorating was put off a night, and we finally got the tree wrapped up last night. If I do say so myself, it looks great! Wes' mom has been collecting ornaments for him since he was born and my mom has been buying them for me for my birthday (she gets them on sale after the holidays - smart!) since I was in high school. No first-year empty tree for us! I'm not one to subscribe to the thought that a Christmas tree has to be totally matchy-matchy (or that anything should be, for that matter), but boy do we have one eclectic tree. There are at least two plastic M&M people, soccer balls of all imaginable materials, a couple of wooden rocking horses, some pretty silver balls, my collection of blown-glass ornaments of all shapes and sizes and much, much more. Though I can't promise that the plastic M&Ms will make it onto the tree next year, for now, it's absolutely perfect. I can't imagine a better way to decorate our first tree, than to have it completely covered with what we both love.

(this tree is from Southern Accents, pictures of our tree coming soon!)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Day 150

War Eagle!

Whew, what a week/weekend. Quick recap: Little Rock was lots of fun - as spending time with the Joneses usually is. Geography dictates that we don't all end up in one place very often, so it was great to spend time with them. We rounded out the weekend with a trip to Auburn to watch the Tigers trounce the Crimson Tide for the sixth, count 'em SIX, time in a row! We both grew up in North Alabama with lots of redneck 'Bammers (none of whom actually went to the University of Alabama - I can tolerate those kind), so beating 'Bama once is a thrill, six times in a row is an absolute treat.

Unfortunately, I left the Plains without two very, very important items:

1. I guess all of that furious clapping was too much, because I lost a stone in my wedding band (again), and had to leave it with my sister to be repaired by the jeweler there. I feel naked without it.
2. Somewhere between Toomer's Corner and our tailgate (what, a mile maybe? maybe not ... ) I lost most of my lucky "Beat Bama" button. I still have the metal pin, but it just doesn't have quite the same effect on it's own. That button saw Auburn through six straight wins, so I might have to wear the metal pin next year, just in case.

Wes and my cousin Jess found a, ahem, more creative way to illustrate the winning streak

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Day 143

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wes, my sister and I are headed to Little Rock in the morning for a little holiday-prompted family fun. My other sister is flying in from Colorado Springs, and it will be the last time we get to see her before she departs for the middle east, or east Asia, or wherever Yemen is. Although it'll be our first real holiday since the wedding, I don't anticipate it to be much different than the last few. Well, except for that whole sleeping-in-the-same-room thing.

In honor of the holiday, take a look at this 360-degree view of my current favorite dining room. The rest of the home is pretty great, too. Enjoy!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Day 142's daunting task

With two of three Thanksgiving meals down and the December weekend calendar filling up before my eyes, my focus has officially shifted to Christmas. I'm trying my darndest to enjoy what is left of fall, but, let's be honest, I'm really just ready for scarf weather and our first Christmas tree!

Speaking of Christmas trees, what in the world is going to go under our's??? I've come to terms with the fact that Wes is impossible to surpise, and even gave in to buying a few gifts in front of him over the weekend. So what about me? What does my little heart desire? I have no idea. Absolutely NONE. We walked all over the mall on Sunday afternoon, and nothing so much as struck my fancy - not even in Banana Republic!

I've got my eye on a pair of lamps at a local shop, so that's an option. But part of me is afraid that by the time December 25 comes around, I will have moved on. Lamps might be a commitment I'm not willing to make for Christmas. I know what I really want: a new couch. I've got my eye on one of those, too. But it's just not really within our decided-upon budget.

I would like a few of these white Pottery Barn frames for our wedding pictures. 8x10 or oversize 5x7? I can't decide ...

With both Wes and my mom on my case, I've got to come up with something, and fast! Suggestions?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Day 139, still

It's official. I'm laying claim to my grandmother's game table, which I believe was her mother's - yea for family heirlooms. I'm always on the look-out for the perfect hall/entry/console table (part of my obsession with useless furniture), and when I saw this image of a table EXACTLY, I kid you not EXACTLY like Kaki's, it was love at first sight.

I've loved that table for a little while, but seeing it here with those glorious light walls and the artful arrangement of modern-ish accessories around makes it look oh so fresh and wonderful.

Day 139

Wes and I are discovering that there are plenty of perks to working for a big company! Last night, my company rented out (for lack of a better term) the Birmingham Museum of Art, specifically, an exhibit on archaeological pieces from Pompeii. This is the first time that many of the pieces have traveled outside of Italy, and the exhibit is getting a lot of national attention. Free admission to a museum exhibit complete with wine and hors d'oeurves, sign us up!

Being a bit of history nerd (and lover of all things Italian!), I've had my calendar marked for this event for weeks, and it did not disappoint. They shipped over several beautiful frescoes, marble statues, armor from gladiators, personal pieces found with bodies, and, of course, a few of those really dramatic casts of bodies that the are so telling of the tragic event.

The personal effects were the most interesting to me. When the residents of Pompeii (and the less-known surrounding villages) began to flee, they naturally grabbed their most valuable possessions. I was so fascinated with the rings, necklaces, earrings and other jewelry because it was so similar to what is popular today - 2000 years later! The rings were simple gold bands with single stones set in them - mostly emeralds, garnets, a few amethysts and pearls. Remarkably similar in style to a classic engagement ring with a center stone.

Another thing commonly found with women was silverware. More specifically, their family's silver patterns - how interesting! I guess I've always considered silver collecting to be a fairly modern tradition, and primarily one of the English-speaking worlds. Shows how much I know! I guess I just thought it was really really interesting how similar people are, regardless of their country of origin or century of birth.

If you're going to be in Birmingham, this is a great way to spend a couple of hours!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Day 137

Spoiler Alert - if you think you might be on our Christmas card list, and don't want the joy of opening the card and seeing it for the very first time ruined, look away. And if December 25 rolls around and you still haven't gotten this in the mail, sorry. I'm picky, and the good ones are freakin' expensive! You may consider this your digital holiday greeting (how terribly unchic of me).

I'm working on a Web story, so my cube is currently bursting at the seams with lots of fun holiday stationery (cards, gift enclosures, invitations, etc.) and gift wrap that's more expensive than I'll ever justify spending (probably). Since I'm in the spirit, I finally broke down and ordered our Christmas cards today. I'm very very very pleased so far (my wallet, however, is not), and I hope that when they come in the mail (I ordered them online) I will still be pleased. I've had my eye on this company for a while, so I hope that my allusions of grandeur aren't dashed by poor paper quality or laser-jet printing or some other tragedy! They're called tiny*prints, and they do some pretty stuff. You can upload your photos directly onto the site, which I thought was cool. And the prices were comparable to what I found locally.

Without further ado, the card:

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Day 130

Well, it's Wednesday afternoon, which means we're officially half-way through the work week. As I look ahead to the weekend, I thought I'd share a bit about the last. Frankly, it will be hard to beat.

Wes and I began the weekend with a trip to Bed, Bath & Beyond and used a gift certificate from the wedding and a mail-out coupon to take the sting out of purchasing a down insert for our duvet cover (and it was a good thing we did, too. This morning it was 34 degrees outside when our alarm went off!). Getting anything at a discounted rate is enough to put me in a good mood. We followed that up with a fantastic dinner at Carrabba's, where our waiter, Wes, tossed an entire loaf of that delicious bread into the carry-out bag! Three cheers for carbohydrates.

Saturday was full of glorious weather, football and old friends - what could be better?? - and topped off with a great parking spot at Twist and Shout to hear our summer 2006 favorite Tim Tyler's debut on the dueling pianos.

Far too much salsa verde and queso at La Paz after church meant we spent most of Sunday laying around watching DVDs of the first season of "How I Met Your Mother" (which is awesome, by the way). All of that laziness led to a small revelation on my part. Those of you in our close circle know there's been a lot of recent talk of Baby Elliot, our future/fictional daughter. So much talk and seeing pictures of co-workers' new additions has put me in a MAJOR baby mood. I even went so far as to think that it might be sort of fun to have one soon. Well, as I lay in my pajamas, in bed, surrounded by laundry that would wait for me another day, at three o'clock on a Sunday afternoon, it hit me: if we had a baby, this would not be possible. I might still be surrounded by laundry and (maybe) in my pajamas, but it wouldn't be on my terms. Fun and cute as they may be, we're just not ready for that yet. I hope "Aunt B" won't be too dissappointed!