Birthday month is here and it’s off to a great start!

Photo on 9-1-14 at 8.23 PM #2

Exhibit A – my complete task list!

I love my birthday.  And I celebrate all month long!  September 1 comes around and every good thing that happens becomes part of birthday month surprises and celebrations.

Today really was a pretty good day.

I finally got to this Zumba class that more than one person had told me was the best class in Columbus.  This class was huge.  Probably 120 people and it was like being in the club.  It was dark, there were disco ball and club lights.  Randomly people from the audience got up on the stage and “werked it” (I use quotations because I am assured this is what it is called – not because I would ever call it that) with the instructors.  I don’t know if that’s prearranged or they just feel the spirit inside of them.  Regardless, it was a workout, it was dancing, it was fun!

I got cleaned up and then met my mom’s cousin and her husband for a late lunch.  They are a super fun couple and it’s nice to see family, albeit family that is a first cousin once removed.  They live about 40 minutes north of Columbus and we chatted for a couple hours.  I won’t let so long go by before hanging out with them again.  At the end of lunch, my cousin was making a list of men he thought he could fix me up with.  I’m not quite ready for all of that, but that didn’t prevent him from texting me pictures of some of his top contenders.  :)

I made a stop at TJ Maxx and Target to look for a lamp for the bedroom, which I did not find.  I did find the PERFECT curtains, a couple throw pillows and the curtain rods for my bedroom.  I didn’t get much of that room put back together yesterday, so came home to get it done so I could stop sleeping in the guest room and get back to my new grown up bedroom.  The curtains and curtains rods were an awesome find.  It was destiny.  The curtain rods were a clearance item, marked down to $18 a piece!  That’s a steal.  The curtains are the exact cream color as the wall, have just a little shimmer, and are really long which means they pool just a little on the floor, which I think looks kind of elegant.

I came home, installed curtain rods, hung the curtains, vacuumed the carpet, moved all the furniture back in, dusted, vacuumed some more, made the bed and set up a few accessories.

I am soooooo happy with it.  It’s the feminine look I wanted, clean, good contrast with my espresso dressers and feels like an (almost) 35 year old woman lives in it.

Classy.

Classy.

Feminine.

Feminine. (maybe I should have turned off the tv.)

Oh, and see that mirror?  Same mirror I had before – here’s a reminder pic…

I know.  It's so messy.  Not anymore!

I know. It’s so messy. Not anymore!

I painted the mirror frame.  Annie Sloan Old White paint that I had leftover from the kitchen cabinets.

Mirror transformed.

Mirror transformed.

And now I'm here lounging.

And now I’m here lounging.

I need to find a way to do everything from this room.

Other awesome birthday month stuff:

I learned my car has automatic windshield wipers today – like they sense rain on the windshield and just start.  I did not know I had this feature and it’s awesome.

The Unofficial Saved By The Bell movie is on Lifetime starting right now.  Signing off to sit in my pretty new room and watch.  Because that’s what classy almost 35 year olds do.

The punch list

If you’re tired of hearing about my house projects, stop reading now. 

Yesterday I started the final significant home project of 2014. I needed to paint my bedroom in the worst way.  I have paid almost no attention to it since moving in, outside of buying a big, pretty bed. 
As of yesterday at 2pm, this is what my bedroom looked like:

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Yes.  I’m messy.  
But a lot of this mess was created as I was trying to move out the furniture and consolidate some other stuff.   Something to note in the top photo is that the closet door is open.  It has all the scarves hanging on it.  That door had never been shut.  Look for that in the after photo.  I also had this plastic dresser that used to go in my STL closet.  I keep pajamas and underwear in it.   It doesn’t fit in this closet so I’ve just left it there, but my classy grown up bedroom is not going to have a plastic dresser, so I am moving those items to the tall chest you see.  The laundry sorter under the window will not be coming back into the room either.   One of my most favorite things about the house is the laundry chute.  I mean, I didn’t buy the house for it, but I’ve grown to love it.   Clothes are going to just have to go straight down that from now on.  

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Painting begins.
Here is a better pic of my big, pretty bed.  You can also see the paint swatch there on the wall.   I’ve had that there for weeks.  Sure this was the color.   I nearly second guessed myself back at Lowe’s, but stayed true.   Because the bed has a champagne hue to it, I thought a more standard of white would look gray next to it.   I was trying to find a paint color that seemed like candlelight.  I thought I had.  

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It started off strong…

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Just enough tint to not be white, but be warm instead.  I want a very Monochromatic look in the room and I think I achieved it…

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But the later it got, the more the light bulb was the only light in the room, the yellower and less sophisticated it started to look.

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And yes, I’m clearly watching Community throughout this project.  That show is amazing. 

I finished the trim work and went to sleep in the guest room, hoping it would look better in the morning. 

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It does.   And see that closet door shut! Whoa! I didn’t even know it could do that.  

Now to reassemble the room and add some decor touches.  

Which brings me to the massive punch list I’ve been making over breakfast. 

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I’ve finished several rooms, and left some lite tasks in each one.   Time to wrap them all up today, and start enjoying the house tomorrow!

Home(less)

Landing in Columbus after a weekend in the Lou this past Sunday night I thought to myself, “It is so nice to be home.”  Typically, I have thought the opposite.  Not that it’s not nice to be back in Columbus, but that I was home in St. Louis.  This last weekend was a turning point.  I don’t live there any more.  I don’t have to stop at Hartford Coffee each time and wish I was still in the apartment upstairs.  I don’t live a block from the park.  I can’t see everyone I want to anytime I want to.  And… that’s okay.  I felt a little homeless in St. Louis.  I can love it, and miss it, and enjoy spending time there, but I have transitioned to making Columbus, OH home.

Not that the weekend back in the Lou was bad.  Spent a lot of time with my grandparents, had breakfast with the lovely and talented Claire, met my sisters for a wedding where he (the groom, my cousin) promptly passed out at the altar.  (He’s just a really nervous and shy kid, plus the church was hella hot.)  He rallied by the end, but it was for sure not the wedding ceremony that dear bride was probably counting on.  I hung with this kid between wedding and reception:

She's starting to understand toys and that they can all go into her mouth.

She’s starting to understand toys and that they can all go into her mouth.

Baby Avery!

Baby Avery has a lot to learn about posing for selfies.

I even let myself have fun at the reception.  It’s the first post break up wedding and I was prepared to be Avery’s baby sitter that night and skip the whole thing.  Bitter Betty, party of one.  Emilie had none of that of course and since she was driving, I was drinking.

Then again, so was my sister in law...she's the one there on the right.

Then again, so was my sister in law…she’s the one there on the right.

Sisters and mom

Sisters and mom

Sister selfie

Sister selfie

Sibling selfie

Sibling selfie.  We are so cute.

Mom eventually cut me off because she thought I’d be too hungover for the wedding shower I was throwing the next morning for the sister there on the right.  The baby of the fam is getting married and I threw Shower #1 this past weekend.  Mimosas & Matrimony!  That was the shower theme.

Invites!  (PS. This photo from the Etsy site Paperwork Envy - fear not - I didn't post my actual information.

Invites! (PS. This photo from the Etsy site Paperwork Envy – fear not – I didn’t post my actual information.

I got the invites from Paperwork Envy, an Etsy seller.  Everyone loved them and they set the tone for the shower.  Once I found them, the rest of the party took care of itself!

Which means Mimosa Bar!

Which means Mimosa Bar!

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Carafes of juice and bottles of champagne chill nearby

Carafes of juice and bottles of champagne chill nearby.  We did cranberry, pineapple and orange juices.

Favors!  Take home Mimosas!

Favors! Take home Mimosas!

 

 

The wonderful signage came from Etsy shop Happily Ellie After.  She was great to work with customizing the tags for me and adding Jess’s name and wedding date to the tags.  I got the favor idea from Meg’s maid of honor Becca who did this for Meg’s shower the week before in Richmond.  Genius and super cute.

By the time it was all over, as I said at the beginning, I was ready to come home.  Home to my house where I’ll be taking on the last of the major home improvement projects I’m willing to do in 2014 this weekend.  More on that later, right now, to paint a bathroom…

 

Brides “old” maid

 

 

I am really honored to be a bridesmaid in my friend’s Meg wedding.  There are few people I’d agree to be a bridesmaid for at this point in my life.  I love Meg.  I am thrilled she thinks of me as one of her closest friends.

Me, Angela and Meg at a super fun beer event in STL a couple years ago

Me, Angela and Meg at a super fun beer event in STL a couple years ago

Meg and I at Food Truck Friday back when we were roommates....

Meg and I at Food Truck Friday back when we were roommates….

This is the night we brought UNO to the bar to play while we waited for Karaoke to start.

This is the night we brought UNO to the bar to play while we waited for Karaoke to start.

The night we went to Sanctuaria in STL where I introduced them to my bartender crush.

The night we went to Sanctuaria in STL where I introduced them to my bartender crush.

The night of my Eat, Pray, Love & Do a Little Drinking party.  Also a night we learned that tarot card readers and drinking don't mix.

The night of my Eat, Pray, Love & Do a Little Drinking party. Also a night we learned that tarot card readers and drinking don’t mix.

Right before this picture Meg was telling me how good I look in this hat.

Right before this picture Meg was telling me how good I look in this hat.

NYE at the Casino

NYE at the Casino

 

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And here we are now… Meg’s bridal shower last weekend

I’ve been feeling a little apprehensive about the past weekend.  I’m the oldest one in the pack of adorable, smart, interesting women Meg has chosen as her bridesmaids.  And as I see 35 on the horizon, for some reason this has been making me talk badly to myself.  I even (just for a nanosecond) considered calling in sick to the event knowing I may not be up for group fun with the gals.  The bachelorette weekend is in a few weeks and I’m saving all my shenanigan behavior for that event.

Honestly, though, the weekend was fine.  Of course it was.  I did feel some of my classic “fear of missing out” pangs.  These women are younger and successful and live in more interesting places… I’m such a comparer.

We're a lovely bunch

We’re a lovely bunch

By the end of the weekend I knew I had done my part as the old maid bridesmaid.  While the ladies who knew each other from school hung together, I greeted Meg’s relatives, told lovely stories about how I met her and the first time she talked about Bill, I listened to family and family friends tell their stories.  With age comes party grace, perhaps?  The bachelorette weekend is in Florida at a beach house and I’ll be doing my best to engage in dance parties and drink out of phallic shaped straws.  Maybe I’m glad to be a little too old for some things….

 

#Ferguson

I have so much to say about this that I don’t think I can say anything about it.  Everything I have to say is speculation, opinion, and questions and there is probably enough of that already out there.  Not probably, there is already enough of that out there.

I grew up in Ferguson.  The school district that still can’t send kids back to school was my district.  The Andy Wurm Tire Store they were shooting tear gas in front of is where my dad got tires for his construction company’s trucks.  I’ve driven up and down Florissant Road hundreds of times.  My Ohio friends and co-workers don’t believe me when I say this is my hometown.  But I spent 24 years in this community.  Grew up there.  My family is there.  The first place I lived after college was in a house in Ferguson with my cousin in our super cute, little house just down the road from all this madness.  I can’t imagine what it must be like there now.

I think part of the problem is the immediacy that social media brings.  I think that prevents investigations and facts.  I also think this is so much bigger than the event that sparked it, not discounting that it was a tragedy.  I think my feelings are most accurately portrayed by this video – which is worth 15 minutes of your time:

 

Anniversaries and stuff

August 13th would have been my nine year wedding anniversary, if I were still married.  Instead it was my 4th not-anniversary.  Which is okay, too.   I know not everyone gets the “my ex husband is my best friend” thing, but it’s one of the things I’m most proud of and protective of.   It takes a strong and honest friendship to text your ex “happy not our anniversary” and know that the other person will be happy to hear from you.   Ex hubs and I chatted briefly about that recently and he put it far more poetic and succinct than I ever have.   “Sometimes you should marry your best friend, but sometimes you shouldn’t.”  So, happy not our anniversary to you ex Hubs and dear friend. 

One year ago I graduated grad school.  I miss school.  I miss learning and the academic environment and the group of people I would have never met otherwise and feeling smart and earning it.   It’s amazing what’s happened to me in the year since.  I’m so grateful for what that degree and experience brought my way.   Earlier this week I had a phone call with Mr. Head of the Leading Change Mgmt Research Company and he told me a joke and we talked about OD vs. CM. This afternoon I got pulled in by my program manager to help with another huge layer of change.   I bought a house, became a full time associate, made new friends, and just all around figured it out.  

3 years ago I got this cat…
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The orange one there. Tonight he, Quinn and I are just hanging out on the patio.
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It is an amazingly gorgeous night here. Cool and no humidity and perfect for grilling. It’s the only way I’m going to cook around here.
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Slicing buns is about all I was willing to do in my still pristine, new kitchen.
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Luckily I have a grill.
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A grill with a side burner. All cooking can be done out here.
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I made some burgers with Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes. They were really good and perfect for patio dining.

In the spirit of selfie stories :
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I bought a new shirt today while at the food truck festival during lunch. I’m a happy Ohio-an. And that feels great.

Pecha Kucha with you?

Do you know Pecha Kucha?  It’s a method of presenting that forces focus and values succinctness.  The presenter gets 20 slides (no more, no less) and speaks to each one for 20 seconds (no more, no less).  It promotes storytelling and connection.  No one is looking back at slides filled with text, they are speaking from their heart about images that prompt story.  It’s awesome.

This night was awesome.  I went to the Pecha Kucha event in Columbus tonight – their 30th event.  The event was at 400 West Rich which is this cool, hippie space that is a catch all for classes, co-working and art.  It had this kind of broken down, yet awesome courtyard where the event was.  Open to the sky and stars, more than 200 Columbus-ites of all walks of life were hanging out on this perfect evening. It was kind of magical.

It is also attached to StrongWater bar and restaurant.  I attended my first ever MeetUp tonight.  Dominika has been encouraging to try one out for a while now and I finally got the guts to join some strangers for a night of dinner and presentations.  And it was great.  There were 10 of us at dinner and just about everyone was interesting and everyone was friendly.  I’m generally socially awkward with new peers, but I think I did okay.  My typical gauge is if I didn’t dance on a table or make out with anyone inappropriate then I’m doing okay.

So – the Meet Up aspect was fine.  The presentations were mixed.  Two were okay.  Two were really good.  One was awesome – she was a photojournalist – and it isn’t just because obviously her photos in the slide show would be top notch – it’s that she was good at telling a story.  She told her story – how sometimes it’s hard to be the one to document the visual aspect of what might be someone else’s hardest day.  She said a few years ago she was really struggling with the work but eventually came back to the fact that it’s a privilege to tell someone else’s story.  No one has ever gotten mad at her for taking their picture when they were sad or angry.  They were glad someone was paying attention.  She ended with that idea – tell your own story.  She recommended documenting it in pictures with whatever camera you have.

I thought of this silly blog.  I come here to tell stories.  I come here to document my life.  If it weren’t so late, I’m confident I would have created a little Pecha Kucha slide show to insert here.  Don’t think that still isn’t coming.  For now – I’ll leave you with just one picture and it’s story.

Of course it's a picture of me.  Duh.

Of course it’s a picture of me. Duh.  This is me right now.

Slowly, this house is becoming my home.  The kitchen helps.  The throw pillows on the window seat help.  The cats help.  There’s still a quality that’s missing and I can’t put my finger on it.  Flipping through old photos I found several shots of me, similar to the one above… some taken after a run, one taken right before my 33rd birthday, some taken because I thought I was having a good hair day and mostly all in my old STL apartment… but tonight I’m thinking about stories.  What was the story behind each one of those selfies?  Most of them have one.  In an album full of selfies – maybe it’s not as selfish as we think.  Maybe it’s not always an act of vanity (I mean, because sometimes it is about a good hair day).  It’s about showing that picture and telling that story – even if it’s just to yourself later on.  It’s the making of a visual memory.  So tonight – this picture of me on my bed in my bedroom.  I’ll talk about the time I was trying to decide what shade of white to paint my bedroom (which will lead the ridiculous-ness of so many shades of white) so there were swatches painted on the walls.  I’ll talk about the giant notes I write to myself when I give myself pep talks – which is what the paper hanging on the wall behind my big hair (today is not one of the aforementioned good hair days).  Thank goodness for all that packing paper I have hanging around in the basement.  Sometimes you just need to write yourself a note and a post it does not provide the needed emphasis.