Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas Wish List

I don't really want much of anything for Christmas, actually, besides time with my family and Bailey's in my coffee in the morning. I do like getting presents, don't get me wrong. I will happily accept all the presents. I've just gotten to this funny point in my life where the things I tend to want most are boring, unacceptable Christmas wish list things. Like thick socks, or more shampoo because I'm almost out, or someone to clean my bathroom. Not really appropriate for an email to the Mother-In-Law, you know?

So mostly I say scarves, or markers for grading, or headbands (which I legitimately love and wear all the time).

But! I saw this dress on Etsy, and now I need it so badly I may cry. The print - stunning. The cut - perfect for my body. It looks like the most fun thing to spin around in ever ever ever. Right?!

I would wear it on dates. Or to the store. Or to work. Every day.
It's $325, which means I'm not actually getting it, but oh man, if I did, I would wear the shit out of it! It's the perfect Ms. Frizzle dress.

And it got me hunting around Etsy for other fun things I really like and will never get, or use, because they're totally impractical. But isn't a Christmas wish list kind of all about the impractical and not needed?

Like this vintage storage pot:
It's just too dang cute

I have no idea what I would put it in, it's so tiny. On the other hand, if it had cheeks I would want to squeeze them because it's the most adorable little painted pot ever.

And then there's these silly things!

If pencils could be hipster...
They're the most twee pencils I've ever seen. OOOooooh, idea!!!! I could keep these pencils in my tiny painted pot! Perfect!

I do legitimately need a new bag. The strap on my purse is currently halfway off. Luckily, Ross gets me a new purse every Christmas! If you're reading this, babe, I like this bag a lot!

And then there's this one. I have no idea what's actually going on here. Is the bird crash-landing? Having such a great idea that he's falling flat on his face? I think it would be very well placed right over the toilet...the bird will look surprised at whatever it is you're up to. Regardless, this picture made me laugh so hard when I saw it and now I want it. And at only about $8, if I don't get it for Christmas, I just may order it for myself.

Ooh, whatcha got goin' on down there?

Thankful today for my husband's excellent cooking, which he does while I blog. For the backyard garden at Wild Side West, because I've had some of the funnest, funniest conversations of my life there. For garlic, just cause it smells so good. For an adorable little bookstore called "Badger Books" because they had the best selection of indestructible books there. Books with real stories, so my rambunctious 2 year old can read away without shredding the pages. I bought him two, for Christmas. Almost gave them to him as soon as I got home, but I decided just the bag was enough, and he didn't seem to mind even a bit. And finally for baby giggles. My kiddo still has them, and I'm so glad.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

SEO, or learning how to tag

This whole thing really is an adventure in learning how to work the internet. I really thought I understood how search and other stuff worked, but I definitely did not. I learned yesterday that the tags I use on Etsy should be phrases, not individual words! I'd been putting up all the individual words that I thought would make up the searches people would use to find our stuff. So my tags for the cute little Penguin Painting on Etsy yesterday read something like this:

kids room
But that's no good! People would need to just search for "painting" or "black" in order for any of Ross's work to show up. So now, I've been slowly working on updating the tags, and it actually helped already! Now, the tags look more like this:
greeting cards
paper goods
butterfly cards
blank cards
thank you cards
custom cards
monarch butterfly
A couple of the things I edited have already started getting some more action on Etsy. People are favoriting them, and following the shop, which is awesome! I'm also trying out the tag "Mother in law gift" becaue I feel like that might be one of the toughest gifts to figure out, and I think that the butterfly cards in particular would be good for moms in law! We'll fingers are crossed!

I'm thankful today for egg-nog, space heaters, mirepoix, colleagues who keep me sane in the midst of a ton of crazy, and my sister, who told me that it's ok to let things slide, just for a bit, every once in a while. And she's so right.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Links Round Up

A whole bunch of things I've found on the internet lately that are fun. Or interesting. Or really dumb, but they made me laugh.

1. Paul Rudd is an hilarious jerk. He could definitely be my friend. Apparently he's been playing the exact same clip from a terrible movie called Mack and Me every time he goes on Conan. Love it.

Here's the link to the video if the embed doesn't work for you:

2. Fox News has taken their whole "War on Christmas" deal a bit too far. It's one thing to be annoyed about people saying "Happy Holidays," (a stupid thing, yes, but still not too wacko), but it's another to insist that both Santa Claus and Jesus are white men. Jon Stewart did an awesome takedown of the whole thing, and you should watch it.

War on Christmas - S#@t's Getting Weird Edition: Fox News clears up the historical record on Santa Claus.

3. This is such good reading. Seriously, I happily procrastinated on my grading for at least 30 mins with this article. When I was home sick, The Price Is Right was one of my very favorite shows. I haven't managed to make it to a taping yet, buy you better believe when I do I'll be re-reading this article before I go. Slate's Complete Guide to Winning the Price Is Right - Without Knowing Any Prices

4. The Awkward Yeti is just my kind of humor. Ridiculously and unabashedly punny. My cousin Nick loves them too, and that dood knows puns.
5. President Obama did something pretty awesome about the Olympics, and the homophobic (btw I hate using that word to describe discrimination against gays - as Morgan Freeman said, you're not scared, you're a bigot) laws that Russia has recently passed. His Olympic delegation includes two very openly gay women and one not so openly gay man. White House Picks LGBT Icons to Open Sochi Olympics

6. This website, Bad Engagement Photos, is too dang funny. The blog's tagline, "Dedicated to poking fun at the big, bad wedding machine" is right on. I have an hilarious one that I may the end of our engagement shoot in the Redwood Park in Oakland, we'd gotten to this little campsite and we were tired. We were almost out of light, and had a couple of pieces of clothing that our wonderful stylist still wanted us to try to use, and while at the time we thought the pictures were adorable and hilarious, I don't think we realized just how silly this one set of pictures actually was. It might not be up there with this gem from the site, 

but it's still pretty bad, in all the best ways:
I don't remember who found the giant stick, but I'm so glad they did. I'll never not smile when I look at this!

Monday, December 16, 2013

National Chocolate Covered Anything Day

According to an oh-so-reliable looking website called "Holiday Insights," today is "National Chocolate Covered Anything" Day. I like it, and I'm going to take it to heart. I missed my chance to celebrate at breakfast, since I didn't know, but I packed curry and an apple for lunch, and had salad planned for dinner...I may have to make some adjustments. Unless there's a good recipe out there for chocolate salad....

Thursday, December 12, 2013

List #6 - I'm Into It

1. Scandal. Oh my god, Scandal. This show! It's so good! We're almost halfway through season 2, and I'm loving it! Kerry Washington has the most amazing snarl-face, Joshua Malina is as sassy as ever, and the President's Chief of Staff is just brilliant. I wasn't sure about it for the first few episodes. See, in the pilot episode, Olivia Pope goes and rescues a baby from some kidnappers, and then when she brings the baby back to her office, she leaves the baby in a box while she and her associates eat Chinese takeout. Not cool, Mz. Pope! But about 3 episodes in, it gets reeeeeally good. I'm glad we stuck with it. I was figuring it would end up as one of those shows that we watch just to make fun of, but instead we're totally obsessed. If you like West Wing or House of Cards, Scandal is right up your alley.

2. Salad. All the time. Now that I've got my salad dressing down, it's like the only thing I want to eat. Except for

3. Soup. I've been craving it pretty regularly. Ross makes this hot and sweet and spicy noodle soup that's completely inauthentic but so good. Cook down some small-diced onions and garlic on low heat til they practically disappear, add in homemade vegetable stock, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, a spoonful of sugar and a ton of Sriracha and Sambal Olec, and then let the noodles cook in it. So nice on a cold night, which is all the time right now.

4. These boots.

 Like I said, it's been cold. And they're warm and fuzzy and comfy and go with almost everything I have that's warm. I get compliments on them all the time, and I have to restrain myself from being like "I totally got them on sale at Target" because that's not what the cool kids say. But seriously, they're from Target, and while they don't have them in the lovely green and brown anymore, they do have white and black.

5. Sake. See above, about the cold.

6. Wearing my hair like a giant cinnamon bun on top of my head. It looks like this, but less sticky, and I think it's very festive. If I could glitter it too, and still be work appropriate, I would.
Image via Another Good Thing
7. Christmas. We decorated the tree today, and put up lights. Ross says it looks tacky, and then we had this conversation:

Ross: I really prefer a classy and elegant "Courier and Ives" Christmas decorative theme. All white lights, all wooden ornaments, blah blah blah artsy stuff.
Me: Babe. You know I've never made anything look classy or elegant. You want Courier and Ives? Get out here and decorate.
Ross: Bah humbug and harumph. Also, why are you hanging things where we can't see them?
Me: grrrrrrrrrrfalalalala-la-la-la-la
Ross: Good point. I'll go do some more art in the other room now.
Anyways, here's our poor little crooked Tree-in-a-cage and my tacky (aka awesome and sparkly) decorations. I love it, and Santa will definitely know where to find us! E likes it too. He calls the tree a flower and smells it all the time. My kind of kid!

I'm thankful today for warm sweaters, living near enough to a Target to be able to run out at bedtime to get more nighttime diapers because we ran out and forgot, living in a neighborhood that really does it up for Christmas (just wait til I tell you about Christmas Tree Lane - it's too cool), enchiladasagna lunches, and the mini marshmallows that come in packets of Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Gift Guide for My Sister

So Kelle is the best. Like the absolute best. My best closest friend, possibly the funniest person I know, with incredible taste to boot. Her style is edgy, funky, playful, and dark. Think Tim Burton meets Marilyn Monroe, as styled by Yolandi, with just a touch of Lisa Frank thrown in there for fun.

something kind of like this...(images from here and here and here)

Once, she dyed her hair cotton candy pink and shaved her eyebrows off. Another time, she singlehandedly brought novelty socks back into style. She can rock a tuxedo like no other woman, and she's got this amazing ability to raise her left eyebrow in a way that totally transforms her face. She goes from funny face to evil eye in less than a second, and it's stunning.

So I put together a list of things I found on Etsy that seem right up her alley. A gift guide, of sorts, for someone like her - someone who's a little spooky (she loves zombies, ghost stories, and wearing real animal skulls), a little posh (I mean, she was featured by Bumble&Bumble), and a whole lot unique.

A few highlights:

This stunning vintage dress just screams Kelle to me

And I know she'd hang these keys in her house, probably right next to her cow skull

This is my favorite find, though - an antique suitcase complete with toiletry set. It's totally impractical, probably haunted, and super cool.

You can check out the rest of what I hunted down for her here: Gifts for the Spooky Romantic and follow me on Etsy if you're not already!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas music was playing in the background to all of this

When I walked in the door with our little Christmas Tree today, Ross looked like he'd been run over several times by a toddler. (Do you capitalize the "tree" in "Christmas tree"? I think the lots just always do the whole thing in giant red-and-green capital letters...) Anyways, we did a quick kid-swap. I think he was out the door within 5 minutes, poor thing.

E's reached this stage of constant chatter. And, believe me, this kid was chatty before. He loves to talk and loves to ask questions and is really a pretty cheerful guy. He's just also loud about it.

So we've started counting some of the most frequent phrases. Today's count:

"s'Daddy dooooing?" - 64
"s'Mama dooooing?" - 10
"s'Dat, Mama, s'dat?" - 28 (between 5:45 pm and 7:15 pm)
"s'Dat, Daddy, s'dat?" - Ross has no idea
"Nank yoo" - 7
"Oh, ok!" - 31
"Daddy, a twain!" - 3
"Post. Office." (with arms up in the air) - 39
"Kitshen" (only said while opening the baby gates to get into the kitchen) - 6

So Ross needed a bit of quiet time. Fair enough.

E and I put the lights up on our tree while he was gone. It was adorably, ridiculously, infuriatingly cute. He was totally uncooperative, except for when I asked him to hold the lights. He spent most of the time either scared of the tree and asking for hugs, or throwing a little nerf ball into the tree and then running up and getting it back. By the end of it he was shouting "Cwissmuss" at the top of his lungs and really into the lights.

I think tomorrow we might try to make ornaments. It's going to be a huge mess. Ross is gonna be really anxious about his table while we're doing it. I'll take pictures.

Today, I'm thankful for vodka sauce, the fact that I don't work in a post office around the holidays, the Christmas decorations my grandmother made, and the terrible and excellent comics I saw today. The first got me in trouble with my cousin's wife, because he loves puns SO much that he works them in every chance he gets, and he's driving her crazy. He is the king of dad jokes, so I posted this one on his Facebook:
From Cartertoons by Carter

to which he replied "I always love it when new puns are throne out there!" This guy is a genius! I love it!

And then this one, from the always awesome XKCD, shared by a buddy on Facebook:
It makes no sense and also it's totally logical and wonderfully geeky and just my sense of humor. The only thing I'd add is glitter, because that makes everything better.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Random stuff about my day

The kiddo just woke up from a nap, and walked out to see Ross hard at work on a set of animal greeting cards. He ran over to the table, excitedly said "Daddy painting!" and when Ross agreed, "Yes, I'm painting, thanks for letting me know that," E replied with "Hooray, goojob daddy!"

Too cute. Probably way cuter to me than to you, but it's kind of my job to think he's the best.

Ross finished up a set of cards today - they're super cute. Haven't photographed them yet since the sun went down before they were completed, but it's been very bright and sunny this weekend, so I'm hopeful for tomorrow.

E learned to open the baby gates this weekend. We have SO much kidproofing to do, it's ridiculous.

On the better side of kid learning, he also learned to talk about himself in the first person. Kind of. Now, instead of "Emmett did it" he says "I did it Emmett." So we're close.

Friday, December 6, 2013

List #...5?

1. We have a big fat pile of art to do this weekend. Yay!

2. I graded SO. MANY. PAPERS. this week that I think my eyeballs are going to fall out of my head.

3. This week's episode of Once Upon A Time was cray. Damn you, Peter Pan. Also, Jared Gilmore is not a good enough actor to pull this off. Damn you, Casting Director!

4. This shit is crazy too. Facebook, get it together - 2 year old girls can be naked. Really. It's ok. And while we're on that topic, it shouldn't matter if the topless person is 2 or 20 or 80...if men can be naked on the top half, we should be able to also. Stupid double standard.

5. The desk chair is broken, so I'm writing this with my butt at a 45 degree angle. If anything I'm saying seems crooked, that's probably why.

6. For about 20 minutes tonight, right at bedtime, we were pretty sure we'd lost all the binkies. It was potentially tragic. But we were rescued by the fact that my sister's house is like rightthere, and she has a stash of the kiddo's stuff.

7. It's ridiculously cold. As in, real frost on my windshield. As in, wearing tights under my jeans. Not cool, California! Even Gawker noticed that we've got a "chilly apocalypse" going!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Etsy Etsy Etsy

We've sold 5 pieces! And have a request for a custom order on a 6th! This is so exciting! The stuffed animal paintings seem to be the biggest hit, with the butterflies a close second. We're scrambling to get everything ready to go - for some reason, I thought it would take longer for people to make purchases, but nope! They're buying away! I just love the thought of Ross's art hanging on people's walls - it makes me so happy having it here, I just know it'll make other people smile too.

Here's what we've sold so far:
Butterfly Greeting Card Set
Penguin Painting
Animals Greeting Card Set
Blue Butterfly
Panda Bear Painting

I've been having fun figuring out all the little nooks and crannies on Etsy. I started following several people; mostly family and friends, but also a few people who have excellent taste, like Anastaisha and Denise.

I also started using Treasuries, which is kind of like creating tiny little shops or museum displays. Hunt down items that fit into a particular theme, display them, and ta-da, mini-Pinterest! I have no idea which of the two came first, but I love using both of them to organize my ideas. So far I only have one treasury, called Ooooh, Sparkly, all about the things I would have loved, or did love, when I was younger and highly motivated by glitter. (To be honest, I would still buy all those things now, because I'm still highly motivated by glitter. And Neil Diamond).

It's also a lot like my Pinterest board called Sparkly. Like I said, glitter. I'm always amazed when people get upset about being glitter-bombed. That's a dream come true, not a weapon!

 I'm working on another treasury called Hauntingly Beautiful (I know, it's stolen from an episode of How I Met Your Mother, but "The Pineapple Incident" is probably the best episode of that show ever. So there!) I had it all done, but I must've forgotten to hit "save" or something, because my description is there, but my items aren't. Dangit! I'll redo it and share it at some point.

Also, I think there's a chance I could get Ross into creating Treasury lists. He likes hunting things down, seeing threads of connection between things that others might miss, and really really loves things that contrast harsh and delicate in adept ways. That's kind of what he likes to do with his art, so it makes sense he'd like it when other people do it well, too.

He also got really into my Pinterest board called "Ross Makes Things." The second I showed it to him, he was off and running with ideas and critiques, so we may start adding wooden toys and other things to the shop sooner than later!

I'm thankful today for being an adult. It means I can have pie for dinner if I want, which was exactly what I did want. Also, for Lysol. It was needed. Hot toddies with lots of lemon and honey and whiskey and Grand Marnier left over from Thanksgiving (we're getting sick around here - the kiddo is crying and being consoled by Ross as we speak). And for a job that lets me bring my kid to work when necessary without batting an eye. I'm so lucky to work where I do. Finally, I'm thankful that Ross turned on the heater. Seriously, the man NEVER does this. But today (probably because he's getting sick too), he did. Which means I'm almost warm for the first time in ages!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Email Sent!

So Ross and I sent out an email letting all our family know about the art he's been making. I'm so nervous and excited that we've really done it - we're actually trying to get his wonderful art sold, and I love it! Here's the gist of what we told everyone:

     Happy Holidays family! Here's hoping you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and that you're all headed into an even better year-end celebration. Ross and I definitely have a lot to be thankful for this year, and one of those things is the recent chance to start a business together!
      As you may know, Ross is an artist. Way back when, before I stole him away from art school in New York, he had plans to be a professional graphic designer, painter and art teacher. His art was actually one of the things that made me love him so much - it was thoughtful and striking and so gorgeous. Once he moved out to California, other jobs became his priority, and rather than being his career, Ross's art became a hobby.  
     Recently, though, a few of his pieces were featured in a benefit auction (full disclosure - I planned the auction and convinced him to let me include his work), and, just like I knew they would, his paintings sold quickly! Soon after that, I was able to convince him to give "artist" another shot as a career choice, and now here we are, launching our business together! He makes the art, I write about it, and we're hopeful that you all will like his work as much as I do (being a serious artist, Ross will never admit to liking anything he's created...but he sure does beam with pride when Emmett asks him to tell stories about the bear and penguin he's painting!)
Called "Paint By Number Parents," our home-based, online, decorative art shop offers unique and one-of-a-kind paintings and photographs created by Ross, with the occasional addition from me. Our products are designed with both kids and parents in mind - art that is sweet and kid friendly, but also appealing to parents. 
     It's been great fun brainstorming design ideas with Ross, and I think a lot of the fun shows in the things we have for sale - adorable animal watercolors, custom made name or initial paintings, fancy and impressive watercolor greeting cards, canvas mounted photographs, with unique lighted paintings and more soon to come!

We offered a coupon there for some awesome items like Ross's Stuffed Animal Greeting Cards, or one of my favorite photographs from our honeymoon, and I'm going to throw a great deal out here too! 

Use the coupon code "Holiday2013" and we'll give you 30% off anything in the shop. Free shipping! We'd love for you to use it, hopefully on something you really like. 

Crossing my fingers, cause here we go!

I'm thankful today for butter on popcorn, tin foil, Thanksgiving leftovers, rock-paper-scissors, and driving around with the heat on and windows down