Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Game Room Wall

Our game room was born with the purchase of a pool table at a flea market a few weeks ago. I had a bunch of different thoughts on how I would decorate but got a great idea flipping through a magazine at the doctor's office. I saw an ad for Wall-Pops, a sticky solution to wall coverings. I thought these perfect for my game room as they stick to walls, but can be easily removed without leaving marks. They come in different colors and shapes (long strips, squares and circles) and a few different patterns. During lunch with mom yesterday, I sketched my design on graph paper and went to Lowe's to get my "Pops". I finished the wall in only four hours. It was a lot of measuring and re-measuring, but it turned out great. I still have some work to do to finish the room, but the colors on the wall look great with my Grandmother's yellow bar stools and the blue pool table.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Day at the Spa

I am so excited for my mother to come visit Arkansas. We do not have a huge itinerary planned because its more fun to go with the flow. The one event that is scheduled is a Day at the Spa in Eureka Springs. I have only gotten a professional massage once in my life and I can hardly wait!! We have appointments Tuesday morning at the New Moon Spa located in the Crescent Hotel. We have a sauna, massage, facial and pedicure planned. Then we can go have lunch and see the sites in Eureka. What an exciting day it will be.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Magazine Rack

I was flipping through the most recent Crate and Barrel Catalog (my Bible) and saw a ladder magazine rack that looked oh so trendy. As I have been crafty crazy getting my guest room ready I decided to take on the project. With very little help from Evan, I constructed most of this myself. It was my first time using the power saw, but I managed to cut the 2x4s and drilled the dowels. I attempted the power sander (this is where Evan helped) and I painted and painted and painted. With a little wood glue it was finished. I couldn't believe how easy this project was. I spent $15 for the wood and $7 for paint. I could have paid $70 for a plain black version from my favorite catalog, but decided to spare a Sunday instead.

The Bench

Evan and I started the bench about 5 months ago. The first phases of the project went quickly with the design idea, purchase of materials and the seat of the bench completed in a few weekends. We struggled to decide on a concept for the legs of the bench which delayed our progress, but the motivational problems really began when the task of sanding presented itself. Different methods were attempted to work around the sanding step, but with no success. We put off the project and the seat of the bench sat alone in the laundry room for weeks and weeks. This weekend we broke down and bought a power sander and the boards needed to complete the legs. The sanding was still a difficult task, but Evan was determined and finished on Saturday. We put the legs together and mounted them on Sunday. (That was probably the easiest step.) Then it was time to stain. I thought staining would be the fun part, but I was wrong. We are not professionals at this, so it is not a perfect stain job, but the weathered look gives the bench character in my opinion. I still have stain all over my ankles, but THE BENCH IS DONE!!!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Redone Drawers

I have been working frantically to get the "guest room" ready for my first guest, my mother (in less than 2 weeks). This room previously housed all the leftovers (furniture that has seen many a college dorm room.) Because of the lack of storage space in my past 3 living spaces, some pretty dreadful drawer sets have managed to stick around long past their expiration date. I have been feeling crafty lately, so I decided to redo a set of drawers to go in my guest room. It was such an easy project that I may go crazy and redo all the furniture in the room. Here's what you do:

1. Spray, spray, spray - I bought black spray paint and sprayed the whole drawer set to cover all the chipped off paint and dirt and scuffs that have accumulated over the many moves.
2. Pick you print - I picked out some stationary pages at my local craft store and cut them into strips so they would cover the front of each drawer.
Decoupage - I bought a canister of decoupage mix, but you could use glue and water. I turned the drawer set on its back on the floor in my living room so I could do one drawer at a time. Just brush on the decoupage on the drawer, then on the back of the paper, then lay the paper on the drawer and brush the front so that you smooth out any bubbles. (Directions are on the back of decoupage mix)
4. Decide on Hardware - I could have repainted the original drawer handles, but decided to get new, snazzy ones. I went to Home Depot and picked out some new handles and screwed them on. It was easy as that and I am very very happy with my new set of drawers!

Thursday, July 19, 2007


It is rare that I am good at any game that requires physical coordination, but I think I may have found my game, BAGGO. Tuesday nights at a local bar they get a Baggo game going. I was dragged out this Tuesday and played with a small group that showed up for this event. I am actually good. I wouldn't say I'm am great because we lost the two games we played, but with a little practice I think I have what it takes to be a Baggo Champ. If you've never heard of Baggo, its a game where you throw a bean bag onto a board that has a hole in it, the object is to get the bean bag in the hole. You play with a partner and go until one team hits 21. We played best out of 3 games, but made it in the "loser" heat the first go around. Our oponents were all very nice and have been playing for a long time. The bar we played in was about 90 degrees inside and there was a band warming up for a show later that night. Needless to say the atmosphere left much to be desired, but a great time had by all.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Flower Power

I got an idea to create my own paper garden from j.caroline designs blog on Craft (my new favorite website) I turned my birthday gift bag that my brother gave me into my planter. I cut out flower shapes from some fun stationary and with a little help from Elmer's, attached the paper flowers to colored straws and a wooden bead for the center. The leaves are a georgous ribbon I found at the local craft spot, Hobby Lobby (which is very fun to say). Super cute.

Shoe Monster

I have two adorable kittens, Buzz and Bubbles, who are running rapid through the house. They jump on the counter and chase my feet under the covers when I am trying to sleep. This is normal kitten activity, so I overlooked the bad behavior because they are just so cute. Recently, an incident has occured that I'm not sure I can forgive and forget. THE CATS ATE MY FAVORITE SHOES!! I had no idea kittens ate shoes. They are lucky I have a few extra pairs to keep me going and that they are precious.

New Chairs

My new chairs are finally here!! I ordered two chairs to go in my living room about 7 weeks ago. I wanted a love seat to match my sofa, but I am glad to report EQ3 no longer makes my fabric, "Shamrock" green, forcing me to choose a different pattern. Evan picked out a wonderful brown with green swirls and we ordered two chairs to set together like a love seat. I love them, love them, love them.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

New York Trip Feb 2009 - Part 3: The Day After (extended)

Needless to say, I had a hangover the day after the show. Thankfully, we did not have grand plans for the day. It was absolutely freezing outside and everyone agreed that we could not spend the day wandering the streets. We had breakfast on the third floor in the hotel and my mother went to talk to the concierge about the museums. We stayed at the Residence Inn by Marriott and the service was absolutely awesome. The staff was really friendly and helpful and the room was a suite, so it was spacious enough for three people to share without trying to kill each other. This is an important statement considering that these three people were me, my mother and Evan. Not exactly the Three Musketeers.

We agreed on the Guggenheim Museum. None of us had ever been and it seemed like a good alternative to sitting in the hotel or braving the cold. We took a cab through Central Park to get to the Museum. It was really nice to drive through since I’ve only ever driven on one side. I did long for it to be spring since the park was pretty bare. There were quite a lot of people in the park considering it was a weekday (Friday) and absolutely frigid cold. While we were enjoying the scenery on Park Avenue, from inside the cab, we noticed that schools seemed to be letting out. A bunch of elementary aged children in school uniforms were swarming the sidewalks being greeted by Nannies and family members. It was a quick glimpse into the every day lives of wealthy New York families. We all enjoyed guessing where they were going and what their lives must be like living in one of the most expensive and exclusive neighborhoods in the US.

Once we arrived at the Guggenheim, I was pretty hungry (and hung over, did I mention that?). We wandered in the cafĂ©, but they only have, what Evan and I refer to as, Starbuck’s food, prepackaged sandwiches and salads. Nothing looked appetizing. We all realized that we were pretty tired so we decided to split up and meet in an hour and a half. The architecture of the Guggenheim is part of the art. It is a big winding ramp that goes around the outside perimeter of the building and each floor has rooms that branch out. The smart thing to do would have been to take the elevator to the top and walk down, but I didn’t realize that until I walked more than half way up. I really wanted to see the famous artist’s works, the Picasso, Degas, Pollock, Warhol, Manet and Monet. I am happy to say that I saw at least one of each. I didn’t make it through the whole museum in our allotted time and my mother and Evan agreed that I missed the two coolest exhibits. I guess I’ll have to go back.

At the museum my mom asked for a recommendation for a good restaurant. We were referred to Three Brothers a few blocks away. It was a cozy neighborhood restaurant that had just about everything you could imagine on the menu. I had a tomato orzo soup that was delicious and really warmed me up. At this point, I started to feel better. We decided to go back to the hotel and rest since we still hadn’t heard from my brother and didn’t know if we would get to meet up with him. We got to our room and immediately, the phone rang. He wanted us to meet him at his Management office and have dinner. We had just eaten, but why not go for another meal? We’re in New York!

We took a taxi to Soho and stopped by the building where my brother does business. The entrance into the building was a random steel door on a block full of shops. It was actually an entrance onto an elevator manned by an operator. The operator never made eye contact or spoke a word to us. He took us directly to the floor where the office was and we were greeted by my very tired brother. The office was a huge open space with hard wood floors and low cubicles on one side. All of my brother’s clothes from the show were on racks around a large conference table. It was clear that he had been doing buyer meetings all day. My mom and I ran to the racks to pick out what we wanted him to make for us. We both tried on jackets and snapped a few photos. Then he kicked us out.

His Manager, Mariah, walked us what seemed like a million blocks to the restaurant where my brother had made reservations. Obviously, she didn’t know that we take taxis if we have to go two blocks or less. My brother had one more meeting, so he told us he would meet us after. I didn’t catch the name of the restaurant, but it was designed to look like a boat on the inside. We weren’t really hungry, but I knew my brother was buying, so I talked my mom into splitting the surf and turf with me. I don’t eat seafood, so I figured if ever a better time to try lobster (except probably in Maine) would be in a fancy New York restaurant when someone else was paying. (Thanks, bro!) To be perfectly honest, it wasn’t all that great. Either, I don’t like lobster, or people just make way too big of a fuss about it.

After the dinner, Evan and I were off to the theatre. We had tickets to see Avenue Q. Only one person we talked to the whole trip had actually seen it. Everyone else said they knew someone who had seen it and liked it. I thought that was kind of weird. We sat in the second row, which was almost too close. I prefer to sit in the front row of the balcony. I really enjoyed the show, but Evan thought it was just so-so. The musical was about people and puppets in their twenties trying to figure out what to do with their lives. The songs were quite cheeky with titles like, “It Sucks to be Me”, “The Internet is for Porn” and “Everyone is a little Racist”. I thought it was a good combination of silly and sweet. I wouldn’t recommend it if you have never seen a show in New York, but if you’ve been to a BIG Broadway show before and were just looking to be entertained, this would be a good one to check out.

We decided to walk back to the hotel so that we didn’t have to fight for a cab. It was pretty cold, but we only had about 10 blocks to go. We quickly rushed past the crowds from all the shows letting out. We walked through Time’s Square that was lit up and filled with people. Then we past the Fashion tents in Bryant Park. It was like a quick recap of the days events, except that everything in New York looks different at night. It was a nice ending to what turned out to be another busy day.

Monday, July 2, 2007

New York Trip Feb 2009 - Part 2: The Afterparty (extended)

There is always downtime in between the runway show and the after party. I assume this is because New Yorkers like to do things late in the evening. The problem with this is, if I am left in a hotel room with a King sized bed after 8pm, there is no way I’ll make it. We decided that dinner was a much safer option. Jenn and Jenny from CIBU came with me, Evan, my mother, Jan and Molly to eat at Salute a few blocks from our hotel. The concierge recommended the restaurant and I am so happy that he did. This was by far the best meal we had the whole trip. It was only two blocks away from our hotel, but we managed to get lost and ended up right in front of a Payless Shoe store which made us all chuckle a bit. We finally found the restaurant using Molly’s GPS on her phone (thank goodness for those things).

I found this review on opentable.com and agree that it is right on. The service was absolutely fantastic. The whole restaurant experience was what you expect from fine dining in New York. I had a wide noodle pasta dish with fresh mozzarella, Mom had a soup with beautiful meatballs, Evan had a meat ravioli dish and Jan and Molly had a beautiful salad with filet minon. The meal was amazingly light and filling. Usually, after eating at an Italian restaurant, I am ready for bed, but this was the perfect portion in a lovely atmosphere. I would definitely recommend this place to anyone staying in the Midtown area. Go there for dinner!

270 Madison Avenue
(corner of 39th and Madison)
New York, NY 10016

After dinner, we were ready to party. The party started at 10pm (way past my bedtime) at the W Hotel. I don’t remember which W Hotel, but I do know that a few people went to the wrong one at first. We got lucky with travel for the first time on our visit. We jumped in a cab and got there with a few minutes to spare. The bar at the Hotel was all roped off with girls with clip boards at the door. I gave them my first name and while they searched for me on the list, my mother pushed through announcing, “I’m the mother.” At this point, I decided to follow her lead and headed for the bar.

I think that I had 10 glasses of champagne in the two hours that we were at the party. Amazingly, I was not the drunk person in the room. Some of Chris’ friends from home had not had a meal during the downtime and seemed to have spent it somewhere having cocktails. It is pretty difficult to embarrass yourself at a party when everyone there is simply looking for the most famous person in the room. Needless to say, that that person was not me or any the friends from home so we were off the hook. I had fun mingling with friends, Chris’ interns and random people at the event. We got to talk to Chris for a minute, but it was obvious that he was exhausted and was there mostly of obligation to thank all of his team and for some quick photo ops.

Tori Spelling showed up for a little while, but that was almost annoying. She is extremely nice, but she came in with the film crew from her reality show and sat at a small table across from where we were. This is when we realized that Evan had been filling his glass with the vodka and orange juice that was reserved for her arrival. Oops. All of the sudden every camera in the room, including Evan’s, was snapping away. In my opinion, it sort of ruined the mood. I totally understand that it was good that she came and I of course appreciate her support of my brother. It was just kind of a buzz kill for a few minutes while all the flashes were going.

My mother proved that she really has no shame when it comes to her behavior at these kinds of events. There were a few Bravo celebs at the party and for some reason all seemed to want to talk with her. I mean she is entertaining, but why they flock to her I’ll never know. She went from one to the other with her wind up, disposable, Kodak camera and snapped photos with each and every one of them. They all loved the wind up. The climax of this mania was when she pulled out blank index cards and sat three of them in a row to sign autographs for her to take back to school with her. It was unreal to see, Malan and Kevin Christiana, both from Project Runway and Ronnie from Make Me A Super Model all lined up on the couch bent over their index card writing essays to my mother. It was the same way I imagine she gives an assignment to her elementary school students and these three men didn’t dare refuse.

I spilled a good amount of Champagne on the front of my dress, but luckily I was wearing black and it was dark. I think the only person who really noticed was Evan. The bar closed at midnight and shortly after, we decided to go. My mother got caught using her pre-pay cell phone by the LG sponsors. They told her that they would send someone to show her how to use the LG Lotus Phone that they gave her at the Spring Fashion Show and offered us a ride home in their Hummer Limo. That part was a little weird, but the ride back to the hotel was pretty short. I’m pretty sure I passed out at this point. It was a long day and I’m not a big drinker these days. Jumping in to a King sized bed with lots of fluffy pillows was the perfect end to a hectic and wonderful day.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

New York Trip Feb 2009 - Part 1: The Runway Show (extended)

As promised, I plan to post details about our New York trip throughout the week. We did so much in the three days we were there. It was an absolute blast!

The trip started off with a bang. Actually, it was more like a thud. It was the sound of our Amtrak train hitting a dear on the tracks. We had to stop for about 15-20 minutes so that someone could clear off the debris. Gross. Then we had to stop again because of who knows what, but we made it safe and sound to our hotel with plenty of time to relax and recoup before the runway show that evening. Or so I thought. I had a bag waiting for me at the desk with an amazing brown drapey skit, brown tights and the most amazing pair of his Payless runway shoes in a teal hieroglyphic print. The only thing missing was a top to this look. Did this mean I should go topless? Is that what is happening this season? A note said, “Maybe a turtleneck would look chic?” No color, no real description of what goes with the brown and teal. I wear all black at work everyday. I’m not good with color. What the hell? At this point we were about 4 hours away from the runway show, and Evan and I were off on a mission. My mother was in agony with an abscessed tooth, so she sat in the hotel lobby, looking pitiful and the concierge found a room she could check into early.

We really didn’t know where we were going. Usually when I come to NYC, I shop in Soho at Bloomingdales, Club Monaco, Urban Outfitters, etc. We had to not only find stores to shop at, but find the perfect top to go with the outfit my brother had made for me to wear in a few short hours. We jumped in a cab and went one block and realized we were a block away from Macy’s and the mega chain stores. Douh! We paid the driver 5 bucks and said we changed our minds. I went in H&M and Forever 21, but was overwhelmed with the clutter and chaos. I walked in the GAP, but everything was pastel. I bought a shirt in Bebe, but wasn’t too excited about it. Then I had a mini breakdown and had to get a slice of pizza from Sbarro. Finally, we went in to Express and found a bunch of teal and neutral colors (at reasonable prices because we budgeted for dinners out not shopping sprees). I got 3 shirts and a clutch. I said a little prayer to myself that one of these was going to work.

We got back to the hotel and had about 1 ½ hours before we needed to leave. I started trying on shirts and the first three I tried were just absolutely awful with the skirt. I almost had a panic attack, but luckily the last shirt (that was really the wild card) worked perfectly. Thank goodness I didn’t have to go topless. My mom’s friend, Candy, met us in our hotel. We all got ready and met my mom’s friend from high school, Jan and her daughter, Molly in the lobby. We knew we wouldn’t all fit in one cab, so we decided to split up. My mom, Evan, Candy and I jumped in the first cab and took off. The trip was two blocks. Again, we were “those tourists” that had to jump out of the cab before the meter even moved. Another 5 bucks for the trouble and we were at the tents. Fortunately, we were able to catch Jan and Molly and told them not to waste their time with the cab and walk the two blocks.

We got to the show and the backstage was all a flutter, like always. My mother took off immediately. Her abscessed tooth miraculously healed with the adrenaline and excitement. My brother quickly grabbed me to "accessorize" with Tori Spelling jewelry that was featured in the show. Finally, my look was complete. Evan and I hung out with Brad, Jack Mackenroth and my brother’s friends Chuck and Justin while we waited for things to get started. The doors opened and the people flooded in. Celebrity sightings included, Aubrey, a weird girl that got kicked off Danity Kane with her dog died pink (no joke) and some very strange looking escort, Nina Garcia, Katrina Bowden from 30 Rock, and of course, Tori Spelling. There were a handful of the previous Project Runway contestants including, Jack, Kevin Christiana, Kit Pistol and Victorya Hong (who I didn’t get to see). I don’t really get star struck at his shows anymore, but I did big time this year. Sitting two seats down from me was the CEO of Payless! That was my big celebrity moment. She was really nice and shook my hand after she noticed the Payless runway shoes I was wearing. She gave my mother her card and told me she would send me the store versions of his Payless collection. It took everything I had to hold it together after she said who she was. All the Payless people were extremely nice and seemed generally happy and excited to be there. The shoes were an absolute hit.

After what felt like hours of people just wandering around the tent, they finally took their seats and the crew pulled back the plastic from the runway. The lights dimmed, the bass thumped and the show began.

I’m not very good at describing the actual fashion, so if you want to read about the clothes you can check out one of these links.



Chicago Tribune

Style Hog Blog – with video

I will comment on a couple things about the show from a big sister perspective. The coats are amazing and I’d like one of each. Sessile Lopez, the model we met at Thanksgiving, is absolutely incredible and totally stole the show with the final look. Just in case this slipped past you, the Christian Siriano for Payless line isn’t just shoes. He did bags with them as well. Two of those bags were featured in the show and one of those bags is named after me! The Shanbag! Is that not awesome!?!

I have so much more to share about our trip, but I really need to get off the computer. I’ll keep the updates coming this week. I have to write all about the after party at the W Hotel, our trip to the Guggenheim Museum, our fantastic dinners and the shopping excursion that had Evan and I both begging for mercy.