Thursday, September 30, 2010

My Secret Love Affair

I LOVE Orla Kiely.

I remember the day I first stumbled across Orla. I was in college in Springfield Missouri strolling through a factory/reject store (clothes with broken zippers, missing buttons, items they had too much of at the department store, etc), when I found a super, super cute brown purse with a mod, graphic print. It had a very slight red line drawn on it that you could only see if you were really looking for it, and the handbag was made of a coated canvas. I loved it, but it was $30 so I almost put it back. But I carried it around for the hour that I was there, and finally sucked it up and bought it.

Years later, I am STILL carrying said bag, with only minimal signs of wear. It's held up beautifully.

So now I have a serious love for Orla Kiely. When her collection hit Target my sister and I were all up on that. I am kicking myself for not buying every single piece...hindsight is 20/20.

Needless to say, with the house search going on decorating is on my brain. Whatever house we end up in, I'll have at least a corner for my sewing set-up, and I really want to tie some Orla in. Because her stuff makes me so happy.

Do you SEE those chair cushions?! I can't afford her fabric, but I could easily embroider her iconic stem print onto a pretty solid and recover a chair seat. I can't talk about her furniture, I get too upset and I question my whole philosophy of "do what you love, who cares how much money you make if you're happy!" Which is dumb, and I know this, but that's how much Orla tempts me.

Wallpaper will never, ever make an appearance in Ryan and I's homes...both of us have spent way too much time scraping old wallpaper off various walls to ever willingly put it up. But, if we weren't so anti-wallpaper, and if it wasn't $98 a roll, this would be in consideration....


Here's Ms. Kiely's office in England:

Light, with a few pops of color. Simple.

My stubborn fixation on replicating expensive things that I love and can't afford has turned it's focus from wedding planning (*bouquets cough cough*) to Orla in my sewing space. Get excited, because I will have Orla's mod, unique and graphic touches without designer prices. Come hell or high water, it will happen!

But, I am thinking of asking for this for Christmas....

Do you have a fav designer you love but can't afford? Do you want to incorporate expensive stuff into your home without paying lots of $$$?

Monday, September 27, 2010


A part of Ryan and I's wedding photography package were 3 professional albums-40 pgs a piece, with 2 of them being smaller than 1. We're giving the smaller ones to our parents and keeping the big one for ourselves. We're greedy like that.

Our photog sent us the 1st draft of our albums 2 weeks ago. I guess I didn't really understand the whole process...I thought maybe we'd send her a list of our favorite pics or something? Anyway, she put the album together and then sent it to us for edits.

And do we have edits.

There are some pictures neither one of us care for, and some that we love that didn't make it in. Overall though, the way its organized and everything looks great. I think they're going to turn out really well, I just feel so nitpicky when I say "on page 33, take out this and this and this and replace with this and this and this." These are the only professional albums we'll have though, and I know we both want them to be perfect.

Did you get a professional album from you photog?

Thursday, September 23, 2010


So Ryan and I have been house hunting for months. After seeing every house built before 1970 in our price range (it's not a big town, we had to see everything because that's just how we decide on things), we narrowed it down to 3 homes. We put an offer in on our top choice this week and we're into the negotiating process. So far so good, but plenty could go wrong. Even knowing this, I can't help but mentally decorate. Our realtor says this is 100% normal.

The bathrooms are all generic, cheap and bland apartment looking. The house was built in 1924 (!!!!), so I think that classic basket weave tile would look amazing:

Plus, it's only $6ish a square foot.

The kitchen is screaming for a backsplash, and I LOVE subway tile.

We also need furniture....have you seen how much furniture costs? Luckily, Ryan is super handy, AND I found a blog that has furniture plans based on popular projects so you can build them! Ryan also doesn't work during the summer (his coaching job is a 10 month position) so I'm thinking that he'll have plenty of time to make some furniture, right? Right Ryan? I'm just kidding, I worked set crew in high school and I am super handy. Plus, measuring fabric and sewing can't be that much different than measuring wood and cutting it.

Let's be honest, Ryan isn't going to let me go near his power tools.

Moving on!

This headboard was a door:

Very doable.

I have big plans my friends, big plans. But first things first, scoring the house.

I'll keep you posted!

Are you house hunting?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Our wedding was really and truly the most fun day of my life. It was laid back, everyone was easy going (for the most part and minus some minor stresses like missing suit pants and late arrivals), and it was celebratory in every sense of the word. I've had lots of people tell me how beautiful our wedding was, but I've had way more people tell me what a blast they had.

Both our caterer and the coordinator of the Polish Heritage Center told us that there was absolutely no way we'd go through more than 2 kegs. No way, especially since we also had wine and a signature drink. We had to tap a 3rd keg by 10, and we were 95% through with the 3rd keg at 11 p.m. when the bar shut down. That's 600 beers in 3.5 hours. Sweet success.

This is just a fraction of the dance floor, it was packed all night.

This a former professor dancing with one of my former classmates:

Sisters are the best!
Have you guys played that Wii Dance game? We LOVE it, and we know all the moves to "You Can't Touch This." We replicated the entire dance, don't worry!

This is Jason, one of Ryan's best buddies. They miss each other, and reunions are always happy and full of love.

Ryan's dad TORE UP the dance floor!

Every pretty little detail and DIY project aside, our wedding was outrageously fun, and completely joyful. We were surrounded by all of our favorite people, and they were all there with bells on to celebrate with us. And there is nothing like that feeling...I hope I never forget what that felt like.

That closes out the wedding recaps! It was the most intense, blissful, overwhelming, celebratory, hysterically fun, most spilling-over-with-love day of my life, and I wish that everyone could have a day like ours. I feel selfish saying that I want more like it...but I do. How could I not?

Monday, September 20, 2010


How awesome is this!

It's a desk made from books! I would've but the spines out, but this gives it a much lighter look, don't you think? Maybe I can get Ryan to make me one like this....

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I just finished reading...

...lots of books. I am way behind!

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement, by Kathryn Joyce.

This was scary. The Christian Patriarchy movement, where women must obey their husbands without question and happily bear as many children as God blesses them with is chronicled. I wish the author would've gone more in depth of the women's every day lives, but she focused on leaders of the movement and their philosophy. The movement is just twisted and champions the breeding of children to increase their political prowess.

The Year of Living Biblically, by A. J. Jacobs.

This is the second time I've read this book, and I really want a copy for myself so I can read it again. It's hysterical. The author goes an entire year following the Bible as closely as possible. He meets with a wide variety of religious personalities, from Hasidic Jews to a snake handling Tennessean. He had a great deal of respect for everyone he dealt with, and he really drove the
point home that it's impossible to NOT pick and choose what you honor from the Bible. Fun fact: The author's wife got mad that he wouldn't sit on seats she had sat on when she was on her period because they were "unclean."

The Well and the Mine, by Gin Phillips.

A very ethereal Southern novel, very Kaye Gibbons-esque. The setting is a poor mining town and the book is mostly a character sketch. It was a great light read.

City of Thieves, David Benioff.

This was so good! I've read lots of WWII novels, and this was an entirely new perspective. The book is about a Russian Jew (I think he was Jewish? But I'm positive that he was Russian) escapes from a besieged Russian city alongside a Russian deserter to steal eggs for a Russian general's daughter's wedding. They are stuck in enemy territory full of starving people and have to get the eggs and make their way back. They strike up quite a friendship, and you see a side of WWII that you don't see all that often.

The Stand, by Stephen King.

BEST STEPHEN KING NOVEL EVER. Yes, this book does indeed warrant all caps. I am a big Stephen King fan, and this was the best one. You should read it. If you're going to read it, stop reading this now, spoilers ahead!

It's all about a flu that sweeps the planet and kills off 99.8% of the population. This is a fatty book and will take you a while to read. I was reading this book during the wedding and brought it along with me in case of downtime...HAHAHAHAHA. Anyway the superior (so superior its sometimes tedious) character development that is typical of Stephen King sets up a large variety of characters. The book culminates in a massive battle between good and evil with the vindictive God of the Old Testament/Hebrew Scriptures and not the forgiving God of the New Testament. It rules. I read it, then turned around and read it again. So good.

World War Z, by Max Brooks.

This was super funny. If you liked The Zombie Survival Guide Manual, then you'll like this.

The Lives of Pearl S. Buck, by Irvin Block.

I love Pearl S. Buck, and this was a biography about her. I loved hearing about her early life in China and about the writing process for books.

Kitchen Confidential, by Anthony Bourdain.

Loved it. This was another 2nd reading. I got this book for pennies at a thrift store. It has some coffee damage, but who doesn't like to enjoy a good cup of coffee while they read a book? Bourdain details the gritty behind the scenes life of professional kitchens. Lots of profanity and real life stories of restaurants made me feel like I was waitressing again!

Dragon Seed, by Pearl S. Buck.

I landed this pretty copy at an antique store for $3. This wasn't my favorite Buck book (that would be Imperial Woman), but it was still good. It was all about WWII in China. Holy crap do women get the short end of the stick in wartime.

Blooms of Darkness, by Ahron Appelfeld.

Not so great, I wouldn't recommend it. This was about a Jewish boy who hides with a Russian prostitute during WWII. It was very ehhh. The plot was really weak and there was no connection to the characters.

Mockingjay, by Suzanna Collins.

This was the last in the Hunger Games trilogy. While I wasn't crazy good about the ending, I was glad that the author didn't tack some happily-ever-after ending on. The characters had been through so much, it just wouldn't have been honest. The trilogy was wonderful, you should read it if you haven't! Be sure you block aside some serious time, you won't be able to put them down.

Joy Comes in the Morning, by Suzanna Collins.

SO GOOD. This book is all about a female reform Rabbi who works a lot with hospital patients. I loved the descriptions of the Jewish prayers when waking up and before eating, I really want to look them up. This book was great, I highly recommend it.

A Desert in Bohemia, by Jill Paton Walsh.

This was all about Communist Russia from the end of WWII until the present day. One family was followed throughout the years, and the loss of their property was chronicled. It was OK, but I wouldn't read it again.

I feel like I've been on a book binge and need a vacation from reading! The last 5 or so books I picked up I couldn't get into, so I'm on a bit of a hiatus. I'm working on quilts, which I can't wait to show you!

What are you reading right now?

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Big Announcement

Ryan and I had a big announcement to make at the wedding. Up until a week or so before the wedding, we had absolutely no idea where we would be going. Ryan and I were both committed to him pursuing a college coaching career, and things were still up in the air. Ruthy, I SO know how you feel!

Anyway, a week before the wedding, Ryan got the opportunity of a lifetime to coach a Division I cross country and distance track team. In my hometown. It doesn't get any better! We kept it a secret from most people (which was super hard, because every single person we knew asked us "So where are you two going to be living after the wedding?" Daily.) We waited to announce Ryan's new job at the wedding reception after the toasts.

I stood up and thanked everyone for being there, and told them all how much it meant to us that they could celebrate with us that day.

Then I handed the mic over to Ryan.

Who was quick to clear up any discrepancy. "There's no baby!" Much to his Dad's chagrin...

And he got a standing ovation. My heart burst, it was absolutely beyond words.

My cup runneth over.

We truly could not be more lucky/blessed to be starting off our married lives the way we are. Ryan is so, so happy, and I am so, so happy for him. Having a husband who comes home every night fulfilled and content is the best feeling.

Did you have any big announcements to make at your wedding?

All photos courtesy of Gail Fleming.

Thursday, September 9, 2010