Saturday, December 31, 2011

Top 2011 Happenings

It was a pretty big year. I started school. The same week I left my full-time reporter job, I was given a fancy writing award. I got married. We went to Ireland. There were many instances of cool art and yummy food. I worked a lot with kids, and these kids were both difficult and adorable. Out of all this activity, I have chosen the top five (pleasant, enjoyable, fantastic and happening) happenings of the year. 

Happening #5: The Beach

There is something very specifically beautiful about the ocean in winter. It's so dramatic and the wind is so bitterly cold. I love it. We went in February (we visit and stay with Robert's granddad), and then went again in the summer. The summer trip was typical fun in the sun and I wore my 8-year-old retro bathing suit that never goes out of style because the last time it was in style was 1959.

Happening #4: The Mountain House 

My parents fulfilled a long-time dream and bought a house in the smoky mountains. It's very cozy (check out that fire!) and has a gorgeous view. We celebrated an early Christmas there, and it was just very merry. (Pictured above are my niece, sister and my sister's boyfriend.)

Happening #3:  My Thirtieth Birthday

This one time I turned 30, and I accepted it. As exhibited here. We had fun party and I snuggled up to my younger man feeling very Demi and Ashton (This was back when it was positive to feel Demi-and-Ashton, not like now when it's depressing to feel like Demi-and-Ashton. Also: A two year age difference is really no biggie. Except when you turn 30 and he is 28. Unacceptable.)

Happening #2: Honeymoon in Ireland

I think "Honeymoon in Ireland" says it all when it comes to explaining the awesomeness. 

Happening #1: Our Wedding

It was romantic and beautiful and sappy and funny. It was what we wanted it to be, officiated by our artist friend Karen Banker and attended by a small-ish group of our loved ones. The following party was hearty, the beer was delicious and the resulting marriage has been wonderful.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Dog, Fish

This is a story of love. 

Love between a dog and a girl wearing a fish tunic, leggings and full-on pirate boots (pirates are awesome).

Love. True love. 

Forget diamonds, dogs are a girl's best friend. That's what I say. (On a semi-regular basis.)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My mumu

Pictured above is my mumu. I guess it's actually a maxi dress, but it definitely serves the same purpose as a mumu: sweet, precious, lazy comfort.

I bought it this fall when the weather was frigid. I came back from my thrift store adventure with this and a little black dress and a little red dress. The black and red dresses could be worn at holiday gatherings or in everday life with layers. This maxi dress, however, screamed SUMMER. Robert laughed at me when I showed it to him. "You don't always just thrift for the season you're in!" I told him. It's one of my thrifting rules. Find something awesome? Snatch it up. Summer will come again.

But I didn't wait for summer. This is my new mumu. The semester is over (All A's, what what!), and I have two weeks before student teaching starts. Allegedly, I will spend these weeks getting my house in order. So far, I've spent my days reading The Hunger Games trilogy (SO GOOD) and making country music mix CDs... and wearing this maxi-dress mumu maybe a bit too much.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas 1988

This is a Christmas ornament from 1988 picturing yours truly, which is currently hanging on our Christmas tree. "You grew into your glasses," Robert observed. So true. The '80s were not really a great time in eye wear. In other news: I think I might get those bangs again. They're super cute.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Mountain moon

I woke up this morning at my parents' house in the mountains, and the full moon was gorgeous and the sun was rising. "That is so so so beautiful," I thought. "I should take a picture." But before I went to sleep, I had given my mother my phone (the only camera I had with me) and she was playing Fruit Ninja, which is a pretty amazing game. So I assumed the battery was dead. And wasn't just seeing it in the present enough? Yes. It was.

But I found my phone, charged it really quickly and took the pictures anyway because eegads that's beautiful.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


I am in love with "Wonderland" by Dene Scott Smith, an artist who lives in Denver, N.C. This was at the Festival of Trees in Lincolnton, and I was just so enchanted with it. The above photo (ie: the amazingly gorgeous photo) was taken by Robert.

Saturday, December 3, 2011


This is a ridiculously healthy breakfast that I can't get enough of: vanilla Greek yogurt, dry oats and a cut-up granny smith apple. I am incredibly healthy 50 percent of the time and incredibly unhealthy 50 percent of the time resulting in rather average health. This breakfast was one of my healthy ventures, but I tell you, it pleases both the health freak and the hedonist in me. Deee-licious!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Small town Christmas parade

Today, Robert came home from work and immediately said we should walk downtown because Main Street was closed and clearly something was up

Look, Robert! It's a parade! I LOVE parades!

Christmas time is here!

Nothing says Christmas like Shriners in kilts. Am I right or am I right? 

Can we discuss the spats? Since when did ROTC students wear spats? If this had been going on when I was in high school, you can bet I would have been up in that club.

Look out behind you! There are uni-cyclists! And kilted Shriners! And spats!

The very best part of any parade or high school sporting event: The marching band. Notably the drum section. Nothing is better. Except for maybe those kooky feathered hats. And spats. Spats are better. But that's it.

Monday, November 28, 2011

A potter perhaps?

Face jug by Luke Heafner in downtown Lincolnton, North Carolina
In 2008, I did a series for the newspaper I was working for on Catawba Valley potters. Now, I'm doing a big web-based project on Catawba Valley potters (and using my old articles as references, which seems kind of obnoxious, but very handy), and I can't help but notice all the Catawba Valley potters are men.

Now, this makes sense in that making pottery in the Catawba Valley tradition is a terribly manly thing to do. These potters make pottery the way people did in the 1800s. As in: Dig your own clay, grind it up using a mule (okay, maybe not everyone is still using mules), make a glass/ash glaze, turn it on a foot-powered wheel, throw it in the groundhog kiln you built yourself and then fire it up to 2,000 degrees.

So I've been writing about all these rugged, clay-digging dudes and the crazy pieces they are producing, and I thought to myself "Why don't I become a Catawba Valley potter?" And then I thought "Because I don't like digging clay or building kilns or creating giant 2,000-degree fires." And then I thought "But we need a woman to do this! I'd be filling a niche! And I could totally market the hell out of myself. And I'm creative even if I'm not very crafty."

If I'm being honest with myself, I have to accept being a Catawba Valley potter is probably not going to happen. It's not because a woman can't do it. It's because this woman doesn't really feel like doing it. That said, there has to be someone out there just itching to get started. Some woman. All the Catawba Valley potters I've met have been fabulous (and by fabulous I mean often gruff and grouchy and yet charming in their gruff grouchiness). They're doing their part, holding down the tradition but breaking the rules too (a gas mask face jug, Michael Ball? Terribly interesting.) I just hope the next time I do some giant project related to Catawba Valley pottery (because I feel the third time will be the charm) there is a woman to write about along with all these manly man.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Catawba Valley Pottery

I am doing a big project on Catawba Valley Pottery for school so I took a few pictures of the few pieces I have. They're all by Luke Heafner because I know him and I like his pots. 

This one time, I told Luke I liked his studio and he said "Does this look like a studio? It's a shop."

This other time, I mentioned that Luke was an artist and he said "I'm not an artist. I'm a craftsman." 

Luke is a curmudgeon. But I like him. And my close friend Allyson likes him too. A lot. 

The picture at the top is the very first piece of Catawba Valley Pottery I ever bought. The above picture, is where I usually keep my jugs -- on a bookshelf all front and center like. To be honest, they look much more at home outside, but Allyson has kept pieces outside before and they have a tendency to get snatched up by thieving Catawba Valley Pottery enthusiasts (or just troublesome hoodlums). 

Look! It's a turtle! Adorable. This was last year's Valentine's Day present from Robert and me to each other.

Catawba Valley Pottery has a long and storied history in this area. Back in the day, the pots were made to be used. They're still absolutely useable, but I'm not putting moonshine in this guy. He's too fabulous. He was made out of dug-up, red, North Carolinian clay. The glaze was equally natural. He was burned in a groundhog kiln. He is an old-school all the way.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Bell Jar

This is my/Robert's Valentine's Day present for 2012. A bit early, right? Well, we decided on our first Valentine's Day to start a tradition of buying art together instead of roses or fancy dinners or what have you. The problem is, fabulous art doesn't show up only in February. I discovered this gem about a year ago. It was created by my friend Stacey Pilkington-Smith, and it is so so so lovely. I was immediately like "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!" and she was all like "I have to put it in exhibits first."

It's called "The Bell Jar." Those pages are from the book by Sylvia Plath. I read it at age 15 (as one should, or so I thought at age 15). I actually wasn't a big a fan of "The Bell Jar," but damn I love this work of art, which has made its home in our foyer.

We sadly couldn't afford the original, so we bought a limited edition print. She is beautiful and sad and she makes me happy. Robert loves her too. It was a lovely early Valentine's Day gift.

Doesn't she look at home? She's the first thing you see when you step in the door. Can you spot Sunshine in the background? Cute, little tail-wagging doggie. In this photo, Sunshine is all about eating dinner and has absolutely no interest in the new artistic arrival.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Fried Turkey

Robert fried a turkey this weekend. He did so while wearing a flannel shirt. The whole thing was just really, very manly.  

I watched a turkey fry this weekend. I did so while wearing a thrifted black dress and white sweater and a non-thrifted snuggly scarf. The whole thing was just really very cozy.

Frying a turkey doesn't take too long (30 minutes to get the oil hot enough, 45 minutes to actually cook it in that crazy medieval looking vat of boiling oil).

But the turkey frying and turkey resting (terribly important to let that poor turkey rest after all it's been through) leaves plenty of time to fly paper airplanes over a fall-leaf-filled backyard.

When it was time, Robert had the honor of carving the turkey. This was his first time doing so, and his grandmother provided expert advice. Then we all sat down and enjoyed an extra-crispy Thanksgiving dinner.

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

With a splash of sassy

My approach to Netflix Instant is to pick a television show and then just watch the hell out of it. Sometimes these shows are socially acceptable. For example, I watched all of "Arrested Development," and adored it. I'm so excited about the new season and movie. Bring it!

But sometimes my Netflix Instant choices are a little more... 75-year-old woman. Not that there's anything wrong with 75-year-old women. I should know, I apparently am one.

And so, I am all about "Murder She Wrote." That Jessica Fletcher, she sure is one smart woman. She lives in Maine, writes best-selling mysteries and always finds herself in a situation where a loved one is being wrongly accused of murder. She is so warm, intelligent and lovely. I kind of want to be her best friend.

I considered writing a "Jessica Fletcher/Angela Lansbury Style Icon" post, but let's be honest, that woman enjoyed collared shirts and big button earrings, neither of which are my thing. That said, I really think she owns her preppy/fuddy-duddy look, and I love it when she wears pearls, dons giant glasses and looks pensive while sitting next to a typewriter.

Most of us know Angela Lansbury as this not-so-sexy lady. We know her from "Murder She Wrote," "Bedknobs and Broomsticks," "Sweeney Todd" and "Pirates of Penzanze" (or at least that's where I know her from). But you know what? Angela Lansbury was once young woman starring in the pictures, and I have the photos to prove it. She looks like such a sexy kewpie doll! While the difference is notable, I think no matter what age she's at, Angela Lansbury is prim and proper with a splash of sassy. And that is why I love her.

Here, she's very Marian, Madame Librarian, adorable and innocent yet alluring... (That's right! Angela Lansbury: Alluring)

 In this photo, she's really turned up the heat. Look at that knowing smile! Angela Lansbury as Mae West. She wants you to come up and see her some time.

And here her Bette Davis eyes are almost as impressive as Bette Davis' Bette Davis eyes. And she'll tease you/ She'll unease you/ All the better just to please you...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Snack time

Yesterday, I was at my in-laws home and was a bit hungry so my mother-in-law whipped up a "snack" in 30 seconds.

It looked like it belonged in a food magazine -- spinach and peppers, pork tenderloin, mandarin oranges and a delicious homemade curry dressing. 

I was impressed, but I wasn't surprised. You get some seriously elegant/yummy food when you visit their place. 

Robert didn't cook at all when we met, but he's always been a foodie and has turned into a fun, try-anything chef since we moved in together. I think this is because I don't cook a lot and when I do it's healthy hippie food (He has little interest in discovering what tempeh is). He grew up with his mom, the amazing cook, and later moved in with his best friend Mike, the equally amazing cook (although Mike's aesthetic is less elegant and more "How can we make this so hot our heads explode?"). Then he moved in with me and realized if someone was going to make the fab food, it was probably going to be him.

So now he's always making delicious things. And then his friends come over and make delicious things. And then we go to his mother's or grandmother's and they make delicious things. It's not a bad life to have.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Tonight in social studies class, we took a multiple-choice quiz on American history. We were not required to know the answers. The lesson was more about kinds of tests and what is the best way to assess your students. That said, we did get to raise our hands to see who got the most right. And guess what? It was me. "Nerd," the guy sitting behind me said.

I am a nerd.

Why do I know that the Articles of Confederation gave each state one vote and that Kentucky was the only slave-holding state to enter the Union in the Civil War? I just do, dude. I just do.

Thirty minutes later, I was at UNCC's Barnes and Noble bookstore and saw the above bags and freaked. Two of my favorite books! And no one can deny that "The Great Gatsby" has one of the best covers ever. I've considered buying book-cover shirts for a long time, but I'm pretty darn cheap and haven't actually done it. These bags were $1.99! You do not get cheaper than that. My inner cheapskate sang a song and then pushed up her nerdy glasses.

My only problem is that I realize these are meant to be shopping bags. I want to use them as bag bags as in I put my wallet, keys and phone in them. Is this socially acceptable? If not, how much do I care? Not much? Not when "The Great Gatsby" is involved? Yes. That's what I thought.

I am such a nerd.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Fall night

Leaves, moon, fuzzy boots my cat ate holes in, thrifted dress and bare legs because it's not too cold.

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Monday, November 7, 2011


Black bean salsa was waiting for me at home after a stress-inducing class. Happy six-month anniversary! Best hubby of six months ever.

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Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Fair!

This year I have gone crazy about the fair. I've had fair enthusiasm before, but I'm finding it more magical than ever. 

I mean, look at the Midway. It's full of lights and corn dogs and cold drinks. There's gambling! And giant produce! Pig races! Tractor pulls! (Okay. Actually: I learned this year tractor pulls are as boring as they sound.)

Above, my friends (the hot hotties in the center) play Fat Albert. A game of chance involving rats where you put down a quarter in hopes of winning a cheap toy sheep. That's right: Gambling is apparently legal at the fair. Woot!

I tried my first pickle chips at the fair two years ago and fell madly in love. Of course, I had to have them this year as well (on both visits -- with ranch dressing).

My friend Allyson was in the pit of despair because she kept almost winning Bingo, but never actually won Bingo. Life is hard. Also pictured: The sheep my friend Sarah P. won when playing Fat Albert.

I'm scared of heights, but I like Ferris wheels. How does that make sense? It doesn't. It also means I clutch the edge of the seat throughout the entire ride.

So pretty! It's all lit up like Christmas, but there's fried food and pop music instead of eggnog and Christmas carols.

I love giant produce. I love watermelon. I love giant watermelons.

I also love carousels. Can we say whimsy? Whimsy.