March 31, 2011

Before & After: Sad Sandals Get a Quick Restyle

I ordered these Matiko shoes online seven months ago. They were on sale and I liked that the heel wasn't insanely high, but as soon as I got them in the mail I though blehhhh. They reminded me of men's sandals (maybe something along these lines) and I never wore them. But then I saw a pair of Jeffrey Campbell platforms, got inspired, and thought maybe if I just added fringe to the shoes everything would be okay.

I'd picked up an ugly leather coat for 99 cents at the thrift store and it happened to be the same color and texture of the leather on my shoes. So I traced the outline of the shoe onto the leather, used a rotary cutter and cutting mat to cut half-inch pieces of fringe, and then used OK to Wash It glue to glue it right on. I secured it with thread and needle in several places, but literally had to use pliers to pull the needle through the leather. The whole project took about an hour.

What do you think? Are you sick of leather projects? I hope not. I have some more in the hopper.

p.s. Tonight is the first night I get to go to Nashville Fashion Week stuff! I missed Betsey Johnson last night, but am so stoked to get to see Christian Siriano tonight and go to the Sleeveless afterparty. I'm going with Style Me Kimberly, so check out both of our blogs tomorrow for the full scoop.

The original shoes:

The inspiration:
Source: Singer22

The process:

The finished product:

'Scuse the home-done pedi on the fly. It needed to happen though. 

My Perfect Bedroom

I got a bunch of new catalogs in the mail yesterday and spent quite a bit of time browsing through them, dreaming again of redoing our bedroom. What I came up with was a clean white space with travel-inspired details, like enormous maps and vintage suitcases.

This wall color ... 
Source: Benjamin Moore, Ancient Ivory
... a simple mosquito net fabric bed canopy, suspended from the ceiling by pretty branches ... 
Source: El Cancho
... this headboard (that antique mantle over there isn't too shabby either) ...
Source: West Elm, Scroll Headboard
... this 8-foot world map, which adheres to the wall (the bar would stay downstairs) ...
Source: Pottery Barn
... a vintage suitcase repurposed as an end-of-bed bench ...
Source: Design*Sponge
.... pots of fresh lavender ...

... this bedding -- white, but with textural details ... 
Source: West Elm, Polka Dot Quilt
... this rug ...
Source: Anthropologie, Floral Fresco Rug
In some ways, my dream room is totally doable for us, and I don't think it would be that expensive to recreate. But there is one thing that will never work and that's white bedding. Because the truth is that we have two little dogs who sleep in bed with us every night. And no matter how many times we say that that's going to change, it never does. I will never sacrifice my snuggle time with Garp and Hattie, even if it means I'll never get to sleep in a pristine white bed. Some things are just more important. 

March 30, 2011

The Week in Blurry Cell Phone Pics

It's been a rough week. This year I've had more colds than ever before in my life. When I look through pictures of the last year, I can help but think, 'That's when I felt deathly ill' or 'That's when I had a stomach virus' or 'That's when I could barely get out of bed.' I've been telling friends, 'I promise I'm not a hypochondriac, I am really just actually sick again.' I'm told that's par for the course when you have a little one; they catch germs and pass them on to mama through copious amounts of smooches. But I don't know, this seems a little over the top. I'm going to try some all-natural immune-building stuff to see if that helps. 

This past week has been the worst; I've been fighting extreme fatigue (the kind that no amount of sleep can assuage) and on Saturday morning I woke up with stabbing pains in my lungs. On Sunday morning I went to the E.R. because I still had them and I was diagnosed with pleurisy, which is a bacterial infection in the lungs. Then, on Monday, I fell down my friggin' stairs. I was so concentrated on protecting Tessa, who was in my arms, that I fell like a ton of bricks right on my tailbone. 

The great irony of my life is that when I need sleep the most I can't get it. Yesterday, after tossing and turning all night, I woke up feeling like an 85-year-old woman on barbiturates so I called my mom and asked her to please take Tessa for the day. My mom is great and so she did. And I lay in bed all day reading this addictive book, and then swiped Nekos up for work and he and I ended up having the most perfect impromptu dinner date at Whiskey Kitchen. I am on the mend, I do believe! 

Here are some crappy Blackberry pics of my little superstar (a.k.a. the perfect antidote to any sickness) this past week. 

Playing with my eyelash curler and headbands. 
Damn, it feels good to be a gangsta.
Jessica Seinfeld's spaghetti pie -- so dang good. Nekos says, "Best spaghetti ever." 
Tess liked it too, even though it had broccoli and carrots in it. 
Tess sleeping on me. Kill me now, I am in heaven. 
In her beloved swing, wearing her new outfit from Aunt Molly. 
Playing with my makeup. Not trying to push anything on her prematurely
because I don't care if she's the tomboy of all tomboys, but it appears I may
have a girly-girl on my hands. 
Hope you are all having great weeks! I have a cool DIY coming up, and this Friday my "style" is going to be featured on one of my favorite blogs, so I can't wait to share with you guys.

March 28, 2011

Before & After: Fugly Leather Coat Becomes Slouchy Fringed Purse

So this is one of my favorite things that I've made ever. It all happened in about an hour and a half, with me getting inspired all of a sudden and working furiously until it was finished. Early last week I went to a thrift store and bought a pile of ugly leather jackets, selecting them not for their style but for the materials they were made of -- different colors, textures, etc -- because I want to use them to make jewelry, belts, random crap.

On Friday afternoon, I saw this fringed Free People purse online and got inspired to turn one of the ugly, oversized coats into a fringed purse. I picked the coat with the most supple leather because I knew I wanted the purse to be slouchy, and I thought I could maybe work some of the lacing detail into the purse. The hardest part was feeding all this leather through my sewing machine. The sewing machine needle even broke at one point; I'm pretty sure it's not meant to do what it did. But I think it was worth it!

The fugly coat 
The fugly coat's close-up
The new purse, outside my house
The new purse, inside my house 
The new purse, on my dining room table, just in case you hadn't seen it styled enough ways. 

March 25, 2011

My Closet Makeover

I did a post a couple of weeks ago about  how junky my closet was looking and how I'd finally sprung for some matching hangers. Remember these before shots?

Before: Gross
Well, I put everything on these black Huggable hangers and made a sash out of felt hearts, just 'cuz. I have lots more room now and rediscovered lots of things I'd forgotten. I fantasize about painting my little closet electric pink or some or highly girly color, but for now, I really like the new look.


The biggest space saver? These tiered hangers, which I hang skirts, tube tops, and strapless dresses on. 

A Happy List

This sweater. I liked this sweater so much that I ordered it right away, even though it's a men's sweater and even though it's pretty much already spring here in Nashville. Sometimes you just love what you love. I hoping I can wear it at least once (with a skirt and tights? with hole-y jeans and Converse?) before I put it away for next winter. 
Source: CaviNYC

My new "hand ornament." I've been seeing these cool Jen Shon bracelets on Planet Blue and wanting one soooo bad. So I made one for myself yesterday, and I totally love it and want to make more. I was thinking I might do a tutorial about how to make one for the blog. But it looks sort of self-explanatory, so maybe not. Let me know if you're interested?

This board book. My friend Joy gave this to Tessa for her birthday. But let's be real, this was a present for mama. It starts off, "Mama wants a martini ... Daddy wants a margarita ... Grandma wants a bloody mary ..." I grin every time I see it. It's from the folks at McSweeney's and there are lots more where this briliance came from (Baby, Plan My Wedding, Baby, Do My Banking, etc.) 
Source: McSweeney's

Amos Lee. I got to interview Amos this week for articles for both Gibson Guitar and BMI. I think I'm in love; he talked to me like we were old friends and he'd just been waiting for me to come around so he could really hash some things out. His newest, Mission Bell, is such a fine record.

"Violin" is my favorite from Mission Bell:

Speaking of music, Nekos and I are going to see Jessica Lea Mayfield at Mercy Lounge tonight. It's been awhile since I got to soak in some live music and the Mercy is my favorite venue in Nashville. Just the perfect size.

Tessa/sleep. And, ok, I can't stop talking about this ... but Tessa has started falling asleep in my arms for the first time since she was teeny tiny. Last night I put her to bed in her crib and heard her fussing about an hour later so I went into her room and scooped her up. I rocked her for a couple minutes and she fell totally asleep on me. I couldn't bear to put her back in her crib so I carried her back to my bed and she slept on my chest while I read my book. Like, this is seriously the reason I wanted to be a mom. It makes me so happy. This is the best.

March 23, 2011

One Year Ago Today - Tessa's Birth Story

Every year on the night of my birthday, no matter how old I got, my mom and I would crawl in her bed together and she would read me the story of my birth. I loved the tradition, loved watching her relive what she considered to be one of the best days of her life, and I want to do the same thing for Tessa Jean. This is the story of her birth, one year ago today.

Dearest Tessa,

The night before you were born, I couldn’t sleep a wink. By that time my belly was so enormous and my back was so sore that I that I decided to sleep downstairs on the couch rather than in bed with your dad. We had to be at the hospital at 6 a.m. to get labor induced, so I kept opening one eye to see what time it was, pretending to myself that I was sleeping at all. I couldn’t wait for it to be morning so that it could officially be The Day You Were Born.

At 4:30 a.m. I finally decided enough was enough with the tossing and turning and went upstairs to wake your Dad up. I was too excited to put on the charade of sleep anymore. He was pretty agreeable to getting up because he was very much ready to meet you as well. We’d spent the past nine months trying to imagine who you’d be and what you’d look like and working on your pretty little nursery and happily rearranging our lives to make sure we’d have everything ready for you. While I was taking a shower, your Dad made me French toast, even though I wasn’t supposed to eat anything before going to the hospital. But, frankly, I couldn’t do that to your dad; I’m not very nice when I don’t eat and I wanted to feel as well and cheerful as possible on The Day You Were Born. Anyway, it was delicious, of course, because your dad is one hell of a cook.

We got to Baptist Hospital at 6 a.m. on the dot and your dad went right to work making the nurses and hospital personnel laugh. We waited for our “suite” for about half an hour before a nurse escorted us back to the room where you would be born. It was a huge room with a big picture window. At 7:30 a.m., Dr. Phillips Altenbern came in to break my water. I was nervous about it but it was painless. I was also started with a drip of Pitocin, which is what they give you to get contractions going. Getting the IV in my hand made me feel really faint, and your dad got me a wet washcloth for my forehead. By 9:30 a.m. I started feeling definite contractions but they just felt like no-big-deal period cramps.

When we arrived at the hospital that morning, I was already one and a half centimeters dialated. By 10:30 a.m., I’d only progressed to 2 centimeters. The contractions got much closer together — about a minute apart — and more painful, and I asked for an epidural and received it by 11:15 a.m. After the epidural was in place, I felt next to nothing. It was heavenly. Your dad and I had agreed not to turn on the TV in our hospital room, and I decided I didn’t want to talk on the phone to anyone either. So your dad fielded the phone calls, while I leafed through fashion magazines.

The monitor showed that I was having insane contractions, but I didn’t feel the physical pain, only the exhaustion it was causing. I snuck bites of a Snickers bar your dad was munching on. By 12:15, I’d progressed to almost 3 centimeters, but that would barely budge at all in the next couple hours. I started to get nervous that I might have to have a cesarean birth if I didn’t continue to dialate. Your dad told me to chill out, that everything was going great.

Reading Us Weekly, but of course. 
By 2 p.m. I was officially 4 centimeters. By 3 p.m., 5 centimeters. By 4 p.m., 7 centimeters! By 5:15, fully dialated and ready to start pushing! The nurse was amazed how quickly your head had dropped. So were we.

Now that you know all about the numbers regarding your birth, let me tell you how I felt. Terrified! Once it was announced I would be starting to push, I started trembling — it was a tremble that not even a pile of warm blankets could touch. This was the moment I had been waiting for my whole life. I was about to meet you. But I was nervous that you might not be healthy, nervous that it would be too painful to deliver you. It wasn’t! Your dad had one of my legs and the nurse had the other and with each contraction I would push, push, push. With each contraction, I was closer to you. Finally, when the nurse saw that you would soon crown, she called Dr. Altenbern and he came over from his office next door. (By the way, during your delivery your dad and I were playing this moody, magical music from an Icelandic band called Sigur Rós and it gave the room a really spiritual feeling. Well, your birth was helping with that feeling too.) When the doctor arrived, he put on his scrubs, shined a spotlight on my business, and pulled up a stool, ready to get to work.

You were born at 6:34 p.m. and when the doctor lay you on my chest, I burst into tears and said, “She’s beautiful!” Kid, you were one good-looking newborn. With a head full of dark hair and wise eyes. They took you over to a nearby warming bed to clean you up and check your vitals and weigh you. Your dad wanted to comfort me and make sure I was OK but he looked as fidgety as I had ever seen him. I realized that he wanted to go over and stare at you and I told him to go right ahead. I didn’t have to tell him twice. He went over to watch you and take pictures of you while the nurse wiped you down and exclaimed over how extraordinary looking you were. You were then weighed — a healthy 6 lbs., 9 oz., my dear.

I couldn’t wait for my mom to meet you, so Nekos went out to the waiting room to get her. She began to cry as soon as she walked in the room and saw you cradled in my arms. She was the first person to hold you after me and your dad. She was taken with you right away. We had a ton of other visitors to the delivery room in the hour or two after your birth: your grandfather John, your great Aunt Bugs, your godmothers Brooke Cawthon and Molly Kincaid, and our dear friends Rock Yosek and Lenore Kinder. We were all so proud of you, Tessa.

What just happened to me?
When they wheeled us to the hospital room where we’d spend the next two nights, a parade of friends and family followed us there. I’d thought I would want you all to myself, but I wanted to share you with everyone. It was someone else who first pointed out to me that your eyes were blue. The deepest, darkest blue.

That night, after everyone had left, your dad and I unwrapped your swaddling and looked hard at you. We couldn’t imagine that this was real, that we had made you, that you were ours. We loved you right away. We always will.



March 22, 2011

A Mixed Tape from Nekos

My husband Nekos is known for his mixed tapes. If we run into a former girlfriend of his, she'll invariably tell him that she still has some CD or another that he made her and how she still listens to it. Gag! But now he's mine all mine, and I'm so happy that he still makes me mixed CDs. This is the one that he made last week (well, this is most of it). 

Nekos' mixed CDs will be his regular contribution to this blog. Maybe once a month or so? So here's the first guest post from the man whose mixed CDs make panties drop:

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Note: didn't have all the songs that were on his most recent mixtape. 

This is the original tracklisting:

Tribe Called Quest "Can I Kick It"
Billy Stewart "Summertime"
Bobby Fuller Four "Let Her Dance"
Passion Pit "I've Got Your Number"
Slim Harpo "Shake Your Hips"
The Civil Wars "20 Years"
Thieves Like Us "Shyness"
Little Feat "Willin'"
The Ambassadors "I Ain't Got The Love (Of One Girl On My Mind)"
Neil Young "Don't Let It Bring You Down"
Dave Rawlings Machine "Ruby"
Astrud Gilberto, Joao Gilberto & Stan Getz "The Girl from Ipanema"
Beck "Sunday Morning"
Etta James "I'd Rather Go Blind"
Serge Gainsbourg "Je t'aime ... Moi non plus"
Lykke Li "Get Some"
Lenny Kravitz "Sugar"
Penny & the Quarters "You and Me"
Preservation Hall Jazz Band "My Blue Heaven"
T. Rex "Cosmic Dancer"
New Order "Ceremony"