Why payday is bad and my musings on bikinis.

(This post could also be entitled: And this is why I spend my misc. money on letterpress prints and jewelry, because fashion makes me batty.)

So, today I got my paycheck. The State is kind enough to pay me once a month...at the END of the month, so the next month, the Knight and I are required to be responsible and spread it out over 30+ days. Thank goodness his paycheck is biweekly!

Anywho, I know it is not proper to talk about money, so I'll try to hurry it up a bit. I always welcome the end of the month because that is time that we each get our "miscellaneous" money for the next month. Have I ever mentioned that we do the 'envelope system'? Well, we do, and basically, we set aside envelopes for gas, food, and misc. The rest stays in our checking account so that we can pay bills, but basically, the theory is that you can only spend the cash you have, and when it's out...it's out and you are done spending until next payday.

We've been doing the system since January, and it works fairly well. There are definitely months that we spend more than originally allotted (e.g., this month), but when we have to get money out after the original allotment, it hurts. So, we try not to do it too much, and I think it curbs unnecessary spending.

So, each of us gets about $300 for misc. money. Which probably seems like a lot, but that $300 is supposed to cover stuff like "fun" spending (movies, drinks with friends), co-pays if you go to the doctor or prescriptions, and gifts for other people. I inevitably spend more of mine on our house, and run out halfway through the month, and the Knight usually has to spend some of his to get me that much needed bottle of wine at the end of the month, but that is neither here no there.

I am telling you this because normally I spend my misc money on very little of "me" and a whole lot of "us." So, when I do buy something for myself, I feel giddy. Today, I bought three lovely things, and one is solely for me. Allow me to share:

First, I have been eyeing these two prints for a while.

LabPartners Flora Gocco Print ($10 plus $2 for shipping):

Dutch Door Tulip Tree Print ($15 plus $2.00 for shipping):

Love the quirky Dutchiness of them both. Makes me want to put red and pink tulips in a vase and dance around with blonde pigtails and wooden shoes (sorry for the stereotyping, but I love them so much!)

In fact, I have hesitated to share them with you until I purchased mine because I didn't want them to be snapped up (I know, bad girl!). So, finally, I have claimed one of each and they will hopefully arrive in a week. I plan on creating an inspiration wall of lovely color coordinated prints above the bed in the "aviary" guest room, and I think these will be perfect. I am planning on painting the room some sort of fresh stem green, and I think a host of different prints and paintings all framed in white will just practically POP off the walls.

Second, I stumbled upon these gorgeous bracelets while preparing the last "swanky" currently coveting post.

These three bracelets are cheaper than the price of one new bangle at Forever 21, and exponentially cooler. Can't wait for them to arrive.

Speaking of Forever, I went there this past weekend looking for a couple "fresh" things to take on vacation next week. That's right, my friends, I am finally going on vacation. We haven't been on a proper vacation in two years, and I. AM. READY.

This year, we are flying with the Knight's mom and dad in their little airplane, and so each of us can only take 20 lbs of luggage. I know, it seems impossible, but I think we can do it. At least its just the beach - going skiing would be a totally different story. Of course, I say this now, b/c I am a veteran at flying with the Knight's family. We (dating and all) have been together for more than 7 years, and in that span, I have flown to the beach with the Knight's family 5 times. The first year, I packed so many pairs of shoes, the Knight had to get rid of some of his clothes when we weighed our luggage to make up for my overpacking. That was SO embarrassing.

Swearing to myself that I would never to have to endure such embarrassment again, I now am a packing tyrant. My main rule is to keep all my clothes in the same color palette, so as to cut down the need for multiple shoes and purses. This year, I am only bringing 2 pairs of shoes - flip-flops (which I'll be wearing, so they don't count) and my running shoes. If you know me, you know that that is a HUGE accomplishment.

Also, when I go on vacation, there are three very important things I consider when packing: what we will be doing, where we will be eating, and the possibility of getting sun burnt.

Since we are going to Captiva Island, I will need the following - bathing suits and cover-ups for the beach (pack two of each, in case the one from the day before isn't quite dry), oh-so-soft clothes that go easy on the sunburn for dinner, and a few lounge clothes for taking that evening stroll down Andy Rosse Lane after eating at the Mucky Duck. Oh, and possibly working out.

In search of a few more beachy and soft things to wear at night, got these two little things:

brown bubble dress ($14.50)

orange floral tunic ($19.80)

Cute, huh?

I was hoping that my body would be "bikini-ready" for the beach, but after trying on all of my bikinis today and taking a hard look at reality (and my butt), I have decided to stick to the one piece. (one bikini might sneak its way in my luggage, but BIKINI? I'm watching you). It's not that I think I look bad in one, its just that I don't think I look good in one. I can take it or leave it, and this year? I'd rather leave it.

Despite having a fairly flat tummy, I (well, my entire family) is unusually predisposed to cellulite. We are all very solid people, and even at my thinnest (Size tiny in high school), I still had it. Despite the fact that my torso seems to be lean and long under clothes, when revealed, I even have tiny dimples of cellulite on my sides. I know, I know - GROSS, right? Right, I would agree with you, it is gross. And, quite unfair, considering that I know people much chunkier than me who have no signs of the stuff. Ugh. Vacation brings out my ugly desire to be an Italian supermodel to the fullest. The Knight and I have been doing the South Beach diet for several months now, and I have been training for a 1/2 marathon. Despite this what I consider "healthy" lifestyle, I still have hints of the dimps. Dimps...that almost sounds cute. Almost.

To that end, no two-piece. I hate that I am too insecure to wear one this year, but I truly feel it is for the best. Plus, it doesn't help that Maggie (the Knight's sister) has had two kids and is a tiny size 4, sometimes size 2. Love her to pieces, but wish I looked as good as she does.

Still, I will feel secure and comfortable in my bathing suit, knowing that I have been dieting and running like a madwoman, and this is just as good as its gonna get right now... Sure, sure, I know one pieces are all the rage this year, and I have to admit, mine is quite cute. Think navy and white nautical version of this Louis Vuitton print, with a deep halter neckline. But, I fear that once you go into one-piece land, it is impossible to leave. I certainly do not want to appear matronly at the ripe old age of 27. I am convinced that one-pieces are the quick sand of the bathing suit industry. Here's hoping I won't get stuck.

One leg in and one leg out,
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Goodnight, Sweetheart

Betty made me promise to show this to you. So cute!

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Should these be saved?

The curb "finds" that I have found so far have created a burning addiction for me...an addiction to finding free stuff. I now daily check the free section of Craigslist and get all the Memphis Freecycle emails. Most of the stuff is junk or just stuff I don't need, but occasionally, something will come along that piques my interest.

For example, last week, a lady posted an offer on Freecycle for two matching brass table lamps. "Lamps! Matching! Table! What a rarity to find matching lamps!" I thought to myself.

I confirmed with the lady that I would be right over to pick them up, and she warned me that they were quite ugly. "Ahh" I though to myself "A little spray paint, and I'm sure these ugly lamps will be most beautimus."

Well, I picked them up, and I have to say...I kind of agree with the lady. I can't decide if they are truly ugly or just unique - oh, and please pardon the dust...haven't had a chance to clean them off yet!

We need lamps in our office (they are so expensive, and we have so few), and I kind of like the "urn" look.

Plus, the fact that they look like little kegs is quite intriguing. If only they were functional, working in my office would be a lot more fun. :)

What do you think? Keep or toss? And if I keep, what do I do to improve their look? Please weigh in - I could really use some help.

Here's to well-lit kegstands!

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Pure Swank

Okay, so I don't know if it is my recent obsession with the AMC "Mad Men" Series (saw the first season marathon last Sunday, and am hooked) or my recent vintage finds, but I am ALL about the fifties and sixties swank, lately.

You know what I mean... The Jetsons meets Leave It To Beaver meets Hollywood Regency.

I have always been drawn to the fashion from those eras, as well as the decor. Thankfully, objects from those eras are pretty easy to find, and the clean lines of most pieces make it simple to incorporate in today's design.

I don't typically do "theme" posts for my Currently Coveting posts, but this week I couldn't resist. AND might I say that most of the finds came from my favorite...etsy. I'm telling you, Etsy has even replaced eBay for me (for most things).

Here we gooooo!

Okay, this is the first thing I stumbled across, and it really started the whole hunt. I don't exactly know what this was used for (I'm thinking coffee?), but it is all kinds of awesome.

12 clams for this beaut - I think it would make the perfect housewarming gift for that debonair bachelor who just got a new apartment/house, no?

In keeping with the "things the pour stuff" category, this adorable argyle pitcher ($27) screams swank. If I already didn't have like 6 pitchers, it would so be on my way to my house right now. But I do have 6 pitchers, so it is yours for the taking!

Basically, I throwing you a swanky 60's swinging cocktail party. You've got the coffee for the DDs, the pitcher of margaritas/mint juleps, and now all you need is the appropriate bar ware. Don't worry, my dashing friend! I won't leave you hangin'. All you need is this fabulous, and I do mean fabulous, set of Eames wineglasses and matching carafe. $40 bucks will bring you the 6 wineglasses, the carafe, and the stand. Not a bad price, especially when you consider how cool that smoky glass is.

So, you've got the drinks covered, but what about snacks? This darling little bowl ($4!) goes perfectly with the coffee thing mentioned first, and would be perfect for nuts, pretzels, or even hummus!

Wanna serve more than nuts? How about these two cool Mosaic platters ($15 for the pair)? They are prolly a little more 70s than 60s, but I think the orange, gold, and blues in the tiles would tie in perfectly with the rest of the pieces, and they are both just really cool platters. So there. Please buy it before I do.

Now, everyone knows you can't have a proper party without excellent lighting. I SWEAR I saw these exact lamps on Don Draper's desk in one of those Mad Men episodes, so I know that I am right on with this one. $50 for this double-headed, oh-so-sexy lamp.

Need a little more "mood" lighting? I think these Danish modern candlesticks would be perfect ($34.50).

So, your guests are drinking, and eating, and are perfectly lit (someone's getting lucky tonight!), but where will they sit? How will your single cousin and your hubby's work colleague ever hit it off if they don't have a place to sit and chat about your cousin's recent trip to Prague? Well, don't worry, I have it all figured out.

First, these chairs are incredible. And only $75 for the pair. Can't you just picture them recovered in some stylish modern fabric?

If your little get-together has more than, say, two people, you might want to have more seating. If so, this dandy sectional would be swell.

So, maybe you aren't into partying, but you are into decorating. Two more finds for you, my friend. First, this darling little kitty is purr-fect for any mod fashionistas home...even if you do have allergies.

Second, these magenta barkcloth panels are just lovely. Can't you picture them in a room of charcoal, light gray, and touches of magenta and silver? At $28.50 a panel, they are way cheaper than most curtains, and so much cooler.

Well, that's all for this week. If you were disappointed with my finds, don't worry, I'll be back to my normal hodgepodge of fun finds. But let me know if you did like the theme idea, because I have to admit...it was fun for me!

Oh, and thanks to everyone for their happy comments about our anniversary. We had a wonderful day, and I'm already looking forward to the next one. In true form, the Knight and I celebrated our anniversary by eating breakfast at IHOP, and then that night, watching John Adams (another fabulous miniseries) on DVD. I know, I know...aren't we glam? But, in our defense, we just bought a house AND we are going on vaca in one week, so we were trying to save our pennies. Besides, its not what you do, but who you are with, right? Right.

Okay, well, I'm off to do some more work and get ready for yet another set of company this weekend. Sheesh. I love our friends, but I have to admit...I am looking forward to a weekend alone. Of course, then I'll be lonely and start whining about how I miss our friends!

Fresh towels and chocolates on your pillows kisses,

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To my lobster

Four years ago today, you and I got married. The white dress, the absurd huge number of people on the guest list, the missing flower girl (remember how she showed up just minutes before I was to walk down the aisle?). That day - so many little things went wrong, but I didn't care. All I knew was at the end of the day, we would be married, promised to one another before hundreds of witnesses. And that was all that truly mattered.

Even though we dated for over 3 years prior to our wedding, on the day we exchanged our vows, as I walked down that long aisle, I saw you as if I had seen you for the very first time.

You stood there so proudly. And maybe a tad nervously. Earnest, loving, and tender-hearted. Those gorgeous blue eyes. And those dimples. . .

! You took my breath away. That day was a wonderful, beautiful way to start our married life together, but I'm so glad it doesn't end there.

A couple of days ago, we were joking about how you couldn't survive without me because, if it weren't for me, you would forget everything. The funny thing is, I feel the same way about you. We have come to rely on each other, depend on each other, for so many things. If you weren't in my life, I would feel as if I had lost a most important and significant part of me.

We've been married four years now, and sometimes, it is easy to forget to really "see" the other person in the hustle and bustle of our crazy busy lives. Just last week, you finally mentioned that you had gotten a haircut a week prior and I hadn't noticed one bit. I'm sorry for that. But, just so you know, sometimes, I'll look at you, and you still completely slay me. You really are my "Knight" in shining armor.

Here's to us, honey. May our love only grow deeper and wider the next four years. May we always remember that home is really where the heart is, and that it is a rare and wonderful gift when our spouse is also our best friend. I hope you will continue to challenge me to be a better person, and I can continue to do the same for you. I hope our journey together is long, full of love, and full of laughter. And I pray you never lose those dimples.

I love you, honey. Happy Anniversary.

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1/2 way there.

Hope you guys are all having a happy Tuesday. I'm feeling a little discombobulated and crazy-crazy pants, but for me that's normal, so I'm good, too.

So so glad everyone liked the announcements. I'm loving them, and loving my family calling and saying "did you notice that the dog on your announcements looks like Betty Rascal?" Really? I had NO idea. Does my own family even know me?

In other news, it is so good to see that Operation Nice is going swimmingly well in bloggyland. I've already seen two friends (one from the blogosphere and one from college) featured on there with their NICE stories. Applauding your efforts, Mel! Still trying to incorporate niceness into my life everyday. I mean, I already hope I come across as nice, but I'm always wanting to be better. Plus, I've been in a bit of a grumble-funk lately, and snarkiness doesn't suit chubby people (i.e., ME). Better to be fat and happy, I always say.

Maybe my apparent bad mood is coming from my work environment? As of last week, I started working from home. After my previous boss passed away, the new boss got appointed to the job. He's great, but he also lives 75 miles away. With these gas prices, a daily commute like that was a big, over the top, obvious "Uh, NO", so after stomping my foot and snarling like a banshee (or more likely, smiling sweetly and patiently waiting), I have my own state-issued laptop and I am sitting in my office. At my house. The office can barely be called that right now - it the last room to ever be furnished and the only room that is still crammed full with boxes.

Clearly, I have designed this room with great care and precision - make it as ugly as I possibly can, if only to motivate me to work harder and faster, thus getting me out of the office more quickly.
So far, its not really working.

I dunno - offices stump me. Give me a dining room, a bedroom, even a craft room, and I'm at your service - using my design superpowers, pointing my superpower forefinger - Zap! A button tufted ottoman! Pow! A mid-century modern buffet! Bing! The perfect rug - soft, colorful, and luxurious. Then, I come into our office, and I crumble to the floor. Apparently, the office is my kryptonite.

(I must digress momentarily. Please do not think that I fancy myself an interior designer. I just mean to say that the other rooms in our house do not intimidate me like the office.)

Maybe its the size of our office? I think its like 15 x 20. Or maybe it is the fact that we have absolutely NO furniture in here...so there's really nothing to start from. Or maybe its the fact that the Knight has "claimed" this room as his, which means that there is a distinct possibility of some sort of dead animal will be on the wall at some point. Ugh. I'm voting for a pink sequined unicorn, but something tells me that will never happen.

Yeah, so the office. It is where I work, and it is ugly. Moving on.

One place that does conjure up all kinds of sparkly joy and butterfly kisses is my craft room. It is all girl, all the time. Minus the boobies. For a while, it has been somewhat set up, but like every other room in the house, it has remained boring beige. Really - who decided beige is the color most pleasing to potential buyers? Why not lemon chiffon? Or lavender? It boggles the mind.

Anywho, for my craft room, I wanted the room to be swathed in the perfect color. Something refreshing. Inspiring. Rejuvenating. Something that summons up memories of places I love (the beach) and places I dream of visiting (Greece). After staring at one particular paint chip for 4 weeks, I decided I was ready. It was time.

Finally, I gathered up the courage to dive in to the land of paint, and marched to our local Hope Depot. I carefully selected dropcloths, painter's tape, rollers, and edgers, and then headed to ZION, er, I mean that paint mixing station. I handed the lady my swatch with such pride, you would have thought I was showing her my Nobel Peace Prize. Or an Emmy. Or maybe an Emmy for my dramatic TV performance of a person who wins a Nobel Peace Prize. There I go again with the crazy crazy. After a little (okay, fine, there was NONE) fanfare, she handed me my two gallons of paint. Two gallons of destiny.

The color? Blue Heaven. Doesn't that just sound...heavenly?

I painted and painted and painted some more. At first I was afraid it was going to scream baby boy nursery, but after the paint dried and the tape came off the walls, I was in love. Before, the Craft Haven of Artsy Fartsy looked like this:

But now? Now, it shouts HAPPY! INTERESTING! BOLD! It shouts these things quite loudly, considering that the rest of the house is still entirely boring beige. You nonconformist, you. Tsk, tsk.

(Craft Haven to Craft HEAVEN)

(this area still needs work. I'm taking out the filing cabinet (yes, the one I found on the street) and moving it to the office. In its stead, the Knight is going to build me a counter height cutting table with storage below and shelving above. Can't wait for that beauty. That crazy bar thing is leftover from my Wal-Mart sample girl days. It's a little weird, but perfect height for storing paints and brushes when painting on my easel (not pictured here).)

(Shoe organizers are great for all that crumbly craft stuff!)

A few of my favorite things:

(Remember that pink thing I got from the thrift store? I think it will live on this chair. And what do you think of this fabric draped on the pillow? It was the inspiration for the room.)

(gonna paint that lamp high gloss white. yet another project on the list. See that clock? It was a wedding present we finally can use!)

(Finally, the blue linen scalloped thingie has a home. Under a mountain of wonderful, inspirational books - doesn't this just make you smile?)

(Ribbons...SALUTE! Found this crazy thing in our attic. Apparently the people who lived here before us were patriots. I'm thinking of painting it high gloss pink. What do you think?)

Okay, so I know this is the post that never ends. It just keeps on and on my friends. Some crazy lady starting writing it not knowing what it was, and she'll continue writing it forever just because it is the blog that never ends....

Seriously, I have just 2 more things to show you. One: I hit the thrift stores one more time. I cannot get enough of Leo's. Real quicklikethis are some more *finds*

Neat botanical print pillow - in perfect condition and no grandma smell. $1

The back is covered in mint condition green velvet.

Doesn't it look perfect on my antique "lady" chair?

Seafoam blue shell lamp. Maybe from the '50s? I love this lamp so much, I almost get teary. $7

Daisy yellow tray. Don't know where this will go, but it just makes me smile. Tea biscuits, anyone? $1

I also got an awesome wooden salad bowl for $4, but forgot to take pictures. Total spent? $13.

Also, because burial without recognition isn't proper in our society, I have to give the eulogy for my coffeepot. I bought her 6 years ago at another thrift store for 5 bucks. Her name, Coffeepot. Coffeepot gave me life in the morning, and hot water for mint tea at night. She was faithful despite several moves and even more dishwashing cycles. Last Thursday I awoke to find that Coffeepot was with us no more. Sure, her body was still there, but her soul had gone on to coffeepot heaven. Her clock was still working, but she had no more percolating to give.

And so, I say - Farewell to you, sweet Coffeepot. You have been with me through the end of college. My first big girl job. My planning a wedding. Getting married. Moving to Knoxville. We spent A LOT of time together in law school. In the last year, I have neglected you, and I regret that. But it wasn't you, it was me. My laziness caused me to forget about you when I was dazzled by the free coffee made by someone else at work. I'm sorry that our last few days together weren't more momentous. You have been there for me, and you will certainly be missed.

Please don't be jealous that you were so quickly replaced by the shiny, stainless steel, fancy functions new coffeepot, Java. Since I've been working at home, no one was there to make coffee for me, and I needed her. But she will never be you.

She might be hipper and sleeker. And she might match the new microwave,

but do not fret. You will always be my first.

Goodbye, dear Coffeepot. Goodbye.

Skinny vanilla hazelnut latte kisses,

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