Monday, May 17, 2010

Heart list, wedding attire accessories edition

Okay, so our wedding's already happened. I did not wear any of these accessories. But I put this post together in a moment of pre-wedding accessory obsession. (It was the capelet that set me off.) And I still think they're fun, so I'm posting them! (I will post some wedding photos when we have them!)

PS: I'm totally stealing this idea from the sublime Mrs. French over at Bliss and from You Are My Fave's "Spotted and hearted" feature, so I hope they will forgive me.

I heart this feather capelet. If we were having a different type of wedding I would SO wear it with my dress. The fabulosity would be epic. I wish I had a life where this would ever be otherwise appropriate to wear. You know, like when a magazine comes to photograph me on my dream farm in New Zealand and I go swanning around in a print dress and feather capelet, as if this is always how I look whilst feeding the animals.
Can I justify buying it for dress-up time with the unborn chica? Maybe just have it displayed on a dress form?

I hear these shoes. (They also come in orange and pink and black & white.) They might be exactly the sass I need under my dress. Not sure I'd ever wear them again, though.

And I also love these shoes. I hear you saying that high heels are not practical for a six-months-pregnant gal to walk on grass and gravel and the like. But know what? I don't care. It's my wedding and I'll wear fabulous shoes if I want to (and bring flats.)

Speaking of which, maybe these would fit the bill for practical-yet-still-fabulous? I would definitely wear those again. (That's pretty much the color I had hoped my dress would be. Oh, well. white will be fine.)


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

New postings!

Coming soon! I have been um, really distracted the last few weeks. What with the wedding and all. BUT... I have about 40 (no, really-- 40) blog posts all lined up and ready to go. Sorry for the technical issues with the lining up pictures and texts in some previous posts-- I'm still figuring out how to format this stuff.
Now, as soon as I can get over the worries about what my random collection of posts will look like to other people (too consumerist? shallow? flaky? self-absorbed?), we'll be off and running!

Friday, April 23, 2010


I love all the inspiration and beauty I get online. Working in a very text-oriented, black-and-white-print job, beautiful blogs are necessary eye candy for me. BUT, I think the authoe of tehis Jezebel post hits the nail on the head when she talks about the sometimes pernicious effect of the "populist" ethos of these blogs-- as if you, too could have a life this beautiful, if only you applied yourself a bit more. And doesn't that turn "attainable" into another form of "aspirational"? How, then, are these blogs any different than Martha Stewart or Dwell or any other Aspirational Lifestyle media? I think they're not. Which is fine. Aspiration has its place. People want some fantasy and escapism in their lives. But, as I reminded myself upon opening Martha's May issue this morning, let's remember that all such media is created to present an image. And an image is never the full story, so let's not look at the aspects of our lives that aren't "blog-worthy" and feel we don't measure up, okay?

Jezebel: The New Decornographers: Bloggers With Beautiful Craftsy Lives

Here are my some of my crafty/lifestyle "inspiration" sites:
Young House Love
Design Sponge
Heart of Light
Ink on My Fingers
Oh Happy Day
Not Martha

Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Ummm, no thanks.

Inspired by Joslyne's post this morning about her no-ass swimsuit woes, and by the fact that it's supposed to be in the 80s (80s!) here this weekend to hang by the river, I started thinking about my own swimsuit situation, which falls on the opposite end of the spectrum. While I won't go into great detail about the changes pregnancy has wrought on my entire body, suffice it to say that I do not think any swimsuits from previous years will fit the 6-9 months-pregnant me. I am rather more... rotund around all kinds of parts these days. Some days I am more okay with that than others, so I need a swimsuit that will embrace that and make me feel like a sassy mama, not a freakish cetacean-woman. So, frugal little shopper that I am, I went over to see what Target had to offer me.

You guys, this isn't helping. That suit is hideous. In fact, pretty much everything in the Target maternity swimwear line sucks. First of all, most of it is straight black, and what prints there are are mostly BAD (see left). And they're all tankinis. Not sassy. This is seriously the best one:
Doesn't really scream "fun in the sun!", does it?

Even worse, though? are THESE:
Yes. Swim skirts and swim SHORTS. Target, I'm pregnant, not disfigured. Is it too much to ask for swimwear that accentuates and celebrates the curviness, rather than hiding it away in the matte black fabric of shame? Where's the sassiness? Where's the retro-glam that flatters curvy women?

Maybe that mojo only exists in the regular swim section? Maybe, just maybe, can I mix and match pieces from the regular swimwear in larger sizes?

Um, no. I know this SAYS it's for women and all, Target, but I'm gonna need a little more coverage than that. Well, more like twice that much fabric.

Sigh. What to do? I'm caught between a tankini and a skimpy place. Send help soon!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Like I need another hole in the head...

is how much I need another bag. But, mmmmmm... striped bags.
I feel ya, sister.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Painted murals

One idea I've been mulling over for a long time is the idea of creating a painted mural instead of a traditional headboard in our bedroom. It's an odd space and a traditional headboard (besides being expensive, hard-to-find, and impractical for a California King size bed we don't plan to keep for more than 5 more years), just won't fit with the window. The murals I like all seem to be trees. The big ones are made easier with a projector to trace the image onto a wall, but if you're truly gifted, you could probably freehand it, too. Here are some that I love:
Cherry blossom mural from Young House Love

One of several awesome birch tree murals in a nursery (also love the branch and birds mobile here!)

Birch trees in a grownup bedroom! From Design Sponge.

Fantastic 3-D tree & birdhouse mural from Ohdeeoh

Lovely simple tree mural, also from Ohdeeoh

This gorgeous mural would be insanity to create, but maybe in a "forever" house?

This simple tree mural allegedly only took 4 hours to make, and there's a tutorial on free-handing it!

Lovely, simple line-drawing murals from Australian artist Jane Reiseger. These are lovely and charming and whimsical, but look simple enough that even I might be able to handle doing it! A good reminder that a mural doesn't have to be complicated to make an impact. More of her murals at Ohdeeoh.

I know murals can sometimes be worse than wallpaper borders on the tackiness scale. A badly -done mural can totally ruin a good space. What do you think? Is it worth it to take a risk with some paint?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Stuff and Sensibility

Last night we watched Michael Moore's new movie, "Capitalism: A Love Story",* which could be the subject of a whole other post, but DH and I were discussing it this morning (mostly the points where we felt the movie came up short), and touched on the pervasive feeling of "not enough" in our society/culture. How often do we hear people express contentmen with what they have and a lack of desire for more, better, newer, different? Appreciating what you have, knowing that you are enough and have enough, living simply rather than in pursuit of material gain-- these are goals I and I think many others of our generation share.

Oh, but it's hard to swim against the tide of wanting, of STUFF. It's so hard to train yourself out of the impulse to acquire when faced with beautiful things. But I also know that STUFF takes up physical and mental space, requires upkeep, and ties one down in a variety of ways, not to mention the environmental impacts of each person's consumption of physical goods. I try to find peace with this by a) only buying items that are necessary and useful and b) saving up all my "wants" for gift requests. Not a perfect system, but a start, perhaps. Anyone else want to talk about how they balance this in their own life? (Image from The Benchmark Institute)

(*Yes, I know the comma is supposed to go inside the quotes in American English, but I personally believe the Brits have it right in this instance, and since it's my blog, I'm going to follow the punctuation rules as I see fit. :P)

Aaaand while you ponder, here are a few of the pretty, spring-y things on my "want" list lately:

This gorgeous ruffled pie dish. (from The Kitchn)

Pretty much anything and everything from the new Liberty of London collection at Target, but especially this dress.

This print, for our bedroom (only $25!). It's just right. First Mother's Day present, anyone? (Spotted courtesy of The Lil Bee)

Happy spring!
your Material Girl

Tuesday food lust

It's one of my personal secular holidays-- Ben & Jerry's free cone day! (Awesome ice cream image from here.) I am taking my umbrella and standing in the rain for my cone. Maybe I can talk them into giving me an extra scoop? (For the baby, you know.)

It's not quite 10 AM and I have already planned 4 dinners for this week. And I'm adding the below to the "To make" recipe files. Food-obsessed much? Well, yes. And not ashamed at all.

Milk-braised fennel and Gnocchi alla Romana (which is really baked polenta-- not at all as intimidating as it sounds), from Lottie and Doof via Saveur.

Usually I find Martha Stewart too fussy and fiddly, but a few of the recipes in this month's issue... (Yes, I have a subscription. No, it was a GIFT.) Ahem. Several of the recipes in this month's issue spoke to me and my gaping, grasping hunger. The goddesses of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia have not posted the recipes online yet, but here are facsimiles I found elsewhere:
Zucchini-ribbon "lasagna". Finally, a dinner I can share with the carb-free DH!
Crisp Baked Lemon Cod. I would probably use regular bread crumbs for this, since I don't care about being gluten-free, but its nice to know there are options for my gluten-free friends.
Meyer Lemon Crepe Cake. O.M.G. Yes, please. The link has a picture of this delightful confection and part of the recipe. (The other part looks like it's coming later.) I want this so much. I must not die without eating this.
And finally, Jim Lahey's no-knead whole wheat bread (pane integrale). This guy is the KING of bread, I am convinced of it. His stuff is so easy and so good. I meant to make his original no-knead recipe this weekend but never got to it. That may be a good thing, as it leaves me free to try to whole-wheat version!

The Foggy Bottom Fresh Farm Market opens for the season 2 weeks from tomorrow! (Not that I've got it on my calendar or anything...)

Other food notes...
Awesome young-farmer group the Greenhorns held a vernal-equinox hogget cook off last Saturday. (A hogget is a lamb under a year old that has never been sheared. I never knew that until now, but it made me connect it with the name of the farmer in Babe.) I wished and ached to go, but it was in upstate NY, just a little too far away for a short weekend's drive. I hope someday, in my next phase of life, to have an annual spring equinox lamb-roast tradition, too. (Vicarious enjoyment thanks to Jenna W. here.)
One spring, probably 10 years ago, I was driving through the Lake Champlain islands and stumbled on a vineyard where the owner, and older man from Greece, was roasting a whole lamb on a spit for a party. He let me try a piece. It was incomparably delicious, and I have been smitten with the idea ever since. It seems like a fitting way to mark the change of the seasons and embrace the return of life and growth and warmth.

Happy eating,

Monday, March 22, 2010

Good ideas: Re-usable coloring placemat

This is a great idea to stash in the virtual "crafts" file for when le bebe is a bit older. A set could even be a cute (and cheap!) gift for a toddler or a couple of kids.

The coloring placemat from Wee Baby Stuff via OhDeeOh

Just Because

I know I before that I was going to post more... but then I got busy. Really busy. But not too busy to READ blogs. Never too busy for that. However, when it comes to posting, I think the perfect has been the enemy of the good. I've been feeling like I need a Focus and a Purpose or you, my 3 blog followers will be confused and annoyed by my randomness. But you know what? I follow a zillion blogs. I am collecting ideas from the internet all day. Mostly I print them out, and take them home and file them. Seriously, I have a specific folder I carry with me to and from work each day to collect the ideas I print out from the internet and file carefully at home, in my basket containing folders with names like "gardening", and "gifts", and "parenting". (Yes, I have a parenting folder even though I am not *technically* a parent yet. Don't judge. I believe in preparation.) Anyway, it occurs to me that that is stupid. I should be posting things here, so that they remain in a virtual collection, indexable and accessible anyplace there is internet access. And, heck, one of my 3 lovely readers might even find something I post useful or fun, or be introduced to a cool site they never would have found otherwise. Plenty of people have blogs that are just virtual collages, so why not me? It's not like I really have some aim to take over the world with my blog, so why all the insistence on Focus and Purpose? How about Just Because? (Well, because, Just Because can be hard for a type-A-ish personality like me, but that's all the more reason to give it a try.) Here we go!

This wallpaper (also pictured above) is seriously rad, but probably also seriously expensive. I think it would be awesome in a small bathroom. I am pretty sure DH would never go for it. (From That Girl via Basically Anything That is Awesome.)

I read Sam Harris' Letter to A Christian Nation and watched a talk he gave. He is an impressively smart guy. I am looking forward to watching his TED talk here. (TED is an interesting group that is about bringing smart people from different disciplines together and making their ideas accessible to all; you can learn more about it here.)

Making perfect hash browns, via the NY Times.

Found this "collage" site today through a link. Could be a dangerous time-suck. Crush Party

More tomorrow! Happy Monday!

Friday, February 19, 2010


I had a really bad morning at work. Like, really, really bad.

There's a wonderful list that was published on McSweeney's Internet Tendency entitled "Classes My Top-Tier Law School Should Have Offered as Warnings About the Profession." Here it is:

Cutting and Pasting Legal Lingo

Explaining Business Associations to the People Who Are Running Them

4 A.M. Word Processing and the Law

Ethics of Conspicuous Consumption

Forwarding E-mails: Theory and Practice: Seminar

Arbitrary-Deadline Negotiation Strategies

Crying Quietly: Clinic

Jeans-Friday Advocacy Workshop

Cutting and Pasting II: Plural to Singular

Yeah, that "Crying Quietly" one? That's no joke. (Neither are most of the others, but that's a topic for a different post.) Point being, I actually wept salty tears of anger and frustration in my office this morning while having it out with a colleague. (And after.) Which, I believe, is the first time in the neary 4 years of my legal career I've actually cried about work at work. (Between you and me, I'll admit I've cried about it a home a few times. Maybe more than a few.)
I realize I may be on the verge of committing a Dooce-style crime here, so I will refrain from sharing details, and they don't really matter here anyway. The point is, I felt I was justifiably angry and frustrated, thinking about quitting, and really, really upset. So I emailed my Emergency Squad. DH (that's darling husband) Jade and his sister, my DSIL (darling sister-in-law, sometimes just DS) Abra. And with one phone call and 2 emails, they had me feeling all was right with the world again. Or at least that it was survivable.

Abra gave me some good coping advice: "Smile, nod and plot their ultimate demise." I want to post those words secretly somewhere in my office so I can look at it every time I allow myself to feel alive enough to struggle against this wretched, soul-killing, b-s-filled place.

So today, I am grateful for Jade and Abra. Though they are of course different individuals (and not twins), they are also so much alike. It's like I get to have my best friends in boy and girl form, and how cool is that?

Friday, January 22, 2010

I want this...

This diaper bag sounds pretty freakin' rad. Jade and I have begun checking out diaper bags here and there, and it is HARD to find ones gender-neutral enough for moms and dad to carry. All the manufacturers seem to think that just because babies are cute, everything remotely associated with them also needs to be cute. Not so, manufacturers, not so. Don't compete with the baby's cuteness. Simply fade into the background and do your job. That's where the Kemby bag comes in. It's got all kinds of thoughtfully-designed features to help you keep your shiz organized, PLUS it turns into a hands-free baby sling, PLUS it looks like a saddle bag, especially in brown, so even no-frills moms and dads can carry it with pride.

I know this is of GREAT importance to to the one person who actually reads my blog (Hi, Emily!), but I get an extra entry in this giveaway if I do a blog entry about the contest, so here I am, shamelessly whoring out my blog already. What? Baby stuff is expensive! Don't hate. We are committed to buying used as much as possible for this kid, but I don't think I want a used diaper bag. That just sounds... unsavory.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Dear Bean, one more thing...

Whether you are a girl or a boy, we promise to never, NEVER get you anywhere near a baby pageant.

Toddlers and Tiaras

Choose Choice

So, I noted below that we'd come to the abortion politics in time, and since the annual "March for Life" in DC (commemorating the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision) is tomorrow, that time is now.

One of the best classes I took in law school was about the intersection of the law and social change. We read a book called "Lobbying for Social Change", which I now see every day as it holds up my computer monitor at work. One of the book's points is that law alone is an ineffective means for creating social change. It demonstrates this with a case history of the fight over abortion. From what I recall, prior to Roe v. Wade there was not much of an organized or motivated anti-abortion faction. The split of opinion in the populace was probably about the same, but the only people passionate for the cause were the underdogs-- those who believed that it was a travesty and a crime to force women to bear children they did not want when a simple and safe medical procedure could prevent it. The Roe decision upended the game: for the last 37 years, the anti-abortion-minded have viewed themselves as the underdogs, victims of a heavy-handed government regime and crusaders for the downtrodden and voiceless. Kind of exactly the same way the access-to-abortion activists felt before Roe.

Lots of people smarter and better-versed in this topic than I am have spent lots and lots and LOTS of time writing and thinking and talking about the merits of this issue on both sides. However, 37 years on, the pro-life-anti-abortion-anti-choice-whatever-you-want-to-call-it faction has gained unprecedented (and to me, distressing) power (often by linking up with the evangelical religious right). I'm not well-versed in the day-to-day of abortion rights, but I pay enough attention to know that a number of states have created a de facto ban on abortion through waiting periods, limiting clinics, making sure prices remain high, requiring "options" counseling, viewing ultrasounds, and even requiring the doctors to tell their patients lies about the risks associated with abortion. (South Dakota, I'm looking at you.) Further, the movement has become so radicalized that some members believe they should kill the doctors brave enough to pass the picketers every day to perform abortions for the women who seek them. And that seems to be okay with the movement as a whole. The utilitarian logic seems to be "sacrifice one to save many"-- since they believe that embryos and fetuses occupy the same plane of "personhood" as you or I.

And that's really the rub here. We have a fundamental disagreement between these camps about when "personhood" begins. I know this is no big news, but regardless of what happens in the courts or the legislature, we're going to continue to have an ugly, and even violent, battle over this until there can be some kind of consensus on that point. How do we move forward? How do we build a consensus? I don't know. I think the pro-choicers-pro-abortioneers-anti-lifers-whatever-you-want-to-call-'ems need to get just as creative and passionate about educating people on their views as the other side. They don't play with reason and they don't play fair, because they are so convinced in their cause that they believe the ends justify the means. Children are being brainwashed at 4, 5, 6 years old that God wants them to be a soldier to protect unborn babies. Women are being plied with emotional appeals and told that somehow, having less choice is empowering to them. Against that, playing to logic and fairness is a losing game.

Related: The Pro-Life Movement Is Not Pro-Woman: An Open Letter To Sarah Palin

Hi, Bean!

Well, Bean, you have been in existence (in one form or another) for 3 months now, so I guess it's high time we started documenting. It is funny how this process goes, because it's not like you just "pop!" into existence the moment sperm and egg meet. (Regardless of what some anti-choicers and the Vatican may say... but we'll leave abortion politics aside for now.) It's more like you... become. Every day, as you developed in the last 3 months, you became more real. You had a lot of hurdles to overcome-- a lot of things that could have gone wrong and made you... not be. But, from everything we can tell, you've got everything you need, all in the right spots, and now you've just got to grow and get ready to live outside of me! We think you're pretty rad already. In the next weeks you'll be big enough that I can feel you moving around in there. It is so strange to remember that I have an independent proto-person inside my body.
Your dad and I still are having a hard time believing that you're real and everything that your coming into our lives will mean. But we've seen you twice now on ultrasound, and we heard your heartbeat clip-clopping along yesterday. (Really-- it sounded just like a horse trotting!) The last ultrasound was so cool. Your face finally looked more human than alien, and you were moving and kicking! It was amazing. From what I read, you are now 3 times bigger(!) now than you were then-- you're actually the size of a lemon, and your brain is starting to develop all its creases and folds. It has been so fun for your dad and I to follow along with your development in the fetal growth book we bought. (He is very strict about not wanting to look ahead, but sometimes I sneak peeks when he's not in the room.) The next ultrasound will be very cool, too, because we will find out if you are a boy or girl. I think you are a boy, and your dad and Grandma Joan think you are a girl. We will be ecstatic either way.

We are so excited to meet you and show you all about how cool the world is. We have so many goals for ourselves as parents. We want to raise you to be a confident, independent-minded person, and we want to give you the freedom to be whoever you want to be. But we know there is so much bad in the world, too. We have been working for years to prepare for you, little Bean, and to orient our lives in a way that will allow us to raise you in the most healthy, wholesome and fulfilling ways we know. Sometimes it feels like a long uphill climb, but knowing you are coming into our lives has made me all the more aware of how important it is to live a good and ethical life. I'll be writing some future posts about things that have influenced our thinking on this, and maybe someday it will help you understand why we chose all the things we did.

We can't wait to see what you have to teach us, too. So keep up the good work, little Bean! We'll check back in on you soon.