Monthly Archives: September 2012

WIWW: Sniffle, Sniffle, HONK

Chapter 9, in which I consume large amounts of Advil Cold & Sinus and don’t give a flip about my clothes.

pleated poppy

Thursday I curled my hair, but only used hairspray before curling. The result was nice and loose, and there was no after-spray (aka, “shellac”) to bother my contacts. I also wore purple suede ballet flats from Target, which made me happy.

Friday it was in the 60s in the morning. Tyler decided he needed to bundle up. Siiiiiigh. I talked him out of his full-on parka and we settled on this windbreaker. The high that day was near 90.

Saturday I fell ill with a cold, and missed part of work on Monday. Let’s just say that my clothing choices since then has been less than fabulous. I haven’t even worn mascara because my eyes are so itchy.

See you next week. I promise to be all better.

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Wine + Fire = Fun

This wine torch was one of my first pins on Pinterest. I was seduced by its promise of being 1) classier than a tiki torch and 2) cheap.

Really cool, right? We love being outside, but the mosquitoes here in Florida are big and vicious. I intended to attach four or so to our pergola, so we could eat dinner outside without being simultaneously devoured.

So I put it to the test.

The claim: “This is totally inexpensive (around $5-bucks).”
The truth: While this was not an expensive project, it was nowhere near $5. Let me break it down for you:

To be fair, the torch wicks come in a 2-pack, and that’s enough tiki torch fuel to fill 4 or 5 bottles.

The claim: “A glance into my recycling bin and an aimless stroll through the local hardware store provided me with this clear solution.”
The truth: I looked at Home Depot and Ace Hardware, and was unable to find either the “split ring hanger” or “copper top plate connector” referenced in the original project. The very helpful people at Ace said that’s not something they carry in stock but I could order it.

I’m not patient. So I changed the design a little.

This next part was pretty easy. I wrapped the coupling in Teflon tape (so it fit snugly in the bottle opening) and threaded the wick through. That’s when I noticed:

The wick only extended 2/3 of the way down the bottle. Jason pointed out that, as the flame heated the copper coupling, it may expand, dropping the wick into the oil. This would be, in layman’s terms, “bad.” It also seemed like a waste of oil.


I thought about trying to find or make a longer wick, but I wanted to stick with the “easy and inexpensive” theme of the original.

It occurred to me that marbles, pea gravel, or some other vase filler would displace the oil, effectively raising the bottom of the bottle to the level of the wick. So I took my 40% off coupon to Hobby Lobby and got some of these:

I filled up the bottom third of the bottle, so that the tip of the wick was resting on the rocks. Finally, I filled it with the citronella oil.

And then I made another one, just to perfect my technique.

Verdict: So long as you are not a slave to the original design, this is a fun, quick, and relatively inexpensive project. These would make a nice hostess gift to a summer barbeque, or even a (literal) housewarming gift. I actually like my mobile version better, because the torches can be moved to wherever the party is. The copper caps are a genius addition that provides protection from rain when the torch is not in use.

Happy Pinning, Y’all.


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WRWW: What Ron Wore Wednesday

This post has been hijacked by my cat. Don’t worry, he’s way more stylish than me anyway.

pleated poppy

Ron says, “SOME PEOPLE refuse to pair orange and red, however, I look quite smashing.”

Ron says, “When I’m trying to keep it casual, I slip on my purple camo bandana and stare creepily at Bailey while she eats.”

Ron says, “Cobalt, emerald, and grape are hot for fall 2012. Much like me.”

Ron says, “Dad thinks it’s funny when we wear bow ties together. Dad is wrong.”

Thanks, Ron. Thanks a lot.

My one-year anniversary of WIWW participation came and went on August 24. Sniff! I’m a sartorial toddler! I have learned a ton over the last year – mostly that I am surrounded on the internet by some very stylish, creative ladies.

Thursday: This is a top from Chico’s that I picked up at Goodwill. It was a little blousy, which I fixed with a belt. Hooray for belts.

On Friday I wrote another chapter in Styling Those Red Pants, with a tiered chiffon-trimmed tank and a mustardy cardigan. Very “transition to fall,” yes?

Monday I hauled this teal swing cardigan out of its hiding place in my closet, and then promptly made it look bunchy by crossing my arms.

And today I’m wearing this. It was clean and it doesn’t itch:

Have a lovely week!

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Swim. Bike. Run.

Saturday morning started out normal enough. The kids got up, ate breakfast, and began asking if they could go swimming. So Jason and I took our coffee outside and watched them shiver, er, frolic.

That’s when things took a turn for the hilarious.

“HEY!” Jensen said. “LET’S DO A TRIATHALON.”

The kids decided they would swim four laps of the pool, then bike twice around the block (1 mile) and then run once around the block (1/2 mile).

I grabbed more coffee, and my camera.

Jensen went first. Her nickname should be “Turbodog,” because she has boundless energy. She swam, biked, and ran with equal ferocity, finishing with a time of 17 minutes, 23 seconds.

See that picture of her? Running in a swim coverup and converses? Smiling? She gets that from Jason.

Hollyn, believing that she would smoke Jensen’s time because she’s older and taller, went next. It was shortly after the swim that Hollyn realized that a breakfast of sugary carbs is not the best triathalon fuel. She finished with a time of 22 minutes, 39 seconds.

And then there was Tyler, who does not have a competitive bone in his body and is also terrified of bicycles. His time was 23 minutes, 52 seconds.

Jensen had a great time. The feelings of the other two can be summed up by this helpful infographic:

I’m kidding. They enjoyed cheering each other on, and I think they gained an appreciation for the amount of training required to perform a real athletic endeavor. I’m proud of all three of them.

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WIWW: A Farewell to (Bare) Arms

And suddenly, it was fall(ish). And there was much rejoicing.

pleated poppy

Thursday: The only reason I don’t wear this dress every day is because I’d have to expose my shame on the Internet. I love it and never want it to leave me.

Friday I wore my madras skirt for probably the last time until Spring. Adieu, yacht skirt!

Saturday night we went out to dinner with friends, and I remembered to take a picture.

Those are Ann Taylor Loft “Boyfriend” jeans, which are the closest I’ve ever gotten to “skinny jeans.” Because from the waist down, skinny just ain’t happening with me.

Paradoxically, on Monday I borrowed Tyler’s navy-and-orange plaid shirt:

Tuesday I wore my new favorite cardigan with trouser jeans and a long necklace:

And today I’m wearing this:

Have a lovely week!

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A Case of the Mondays

I don’t sleep well. I’m not sure when this started, but I definitely noticed it more after Tyler was born. I’m fortunate to not be a full-on insomniac, who lays awake for hours, but I wake up briefly many times a night.

I’m not a fan of drugs/medications, so I tried natural remedies, like lavender pillow spray, and eventually started taking melatonin – 3 mg at first, and recently I switched to the 5 mg dosage.

It worked pretty well – I found I could go to sleep easily and stay asleep most of the night. I limited my usage to the weekends.


I began to notice a pattern. Sundays became increasingly difficult, emotionally. I blamed my sadness on the fact that I send Tyler back to his father’s house on Sundays. And then I noticed that when I’d get to work on Monday mornings, I was intensely irritable, even if I’d gotten a good night’s sleep on Sunday.

Peter Gibbons: Let me ask you something. When you come in on Monday and you’re not feeling real well, does anyone ever say to you, “Sounds like someone has a case of the Mondays?”
Lawrence: No. No, man….. I believe you’d get your @ss kicked sayin’ something like that, man.

I love Office Space.

Anyway, I knew that it wasn’t “a case of the Mondays,” because that’s Not A Real Thing.

Yesterday, as I sat at my desk, doing my best impersonation of a grumpy black cloud, I began to wonder if the melatonin was partially to blame.

I went to WebMD first. “Melatonin is LIKELY SAFE for most adults when taken by mouth short-term or applied to the skin. It can cause some side effects including headache, short-term feelings of depression, daytime sleepiness, dizziness, stomach cramps, and irritability.”

Hmmm. I looked further.

The Mayo Clinic said basically the same thing:

The most common melatonin side effects include: Daytime sleepiness, Dizziness, Headaches. Other, less common melatonin side effects might include abdominal discomfort, mild anxiety, irritability, confusion and short-lasting feelings of depression.


In fact, every web site I checked listed the same potential side effects of depression-like feelings and irritability.

As someone who has struggled with depression and anxiety for most of her adult life, I feel….kind of dumb. I should have recognized the pattern earlier. I should have researched this “natural” supplement before taking it. I should have made the connection.

I’m not saying that melatonin is evil, or that it doesn’t provide benefit to most people. But it’s clearly not the right choice for me, and I should have done my due diligence before taking it.

I didn’t take it last night, and this morning I feel neither sad nor homicidal. This may not be a definitive “cure,” but it’s certainly progress. I feel like I’m back at square one, not sleeping, but I’ve learned a lesson.

Well, actually, two lessons. The second lesson is that a bottle of pills will amuse the cat for at least 15 minutes.

My precious.

No, I didn’t let him keep it.

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WIWW: Labored, Eh?

Sneak Attack Wednesday – because I thought it was Tuesday until I arrived at work.

pleated poppy

Last Thursday I wore something that ended up looking way better than I thought it would. I took a simple black knit dress and added a dolman-sleeve pointelle cardigan (from Loft) and a sparkly gray pearl and purple bead necklace, with round-toe heels:

Friday was a bit more casual:

When I got home, Tyler instructed me to change into “casuals” and I informed him that I was plenty comfortable. “But those are WORK CLOTHES, mama,” he protested, “They CAN’T be comfortable.”

Oh, son.

After a delightful and busy three-day weekend, I went back to work yesterday in this:

And today I took it outside to enjoy the cooler morning temperatures (it was only 75 on my drive to work this morning! Delightful).

Have a lovely week.


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A Pinteresting Weekend

Over the weekend I used not one, not two, but THREE ideas from Pinterest and made them reality.

1. Handmade Cocktail Napkins

I am a huge proponent of napkins and coasters under glasses, so these were a no-brainer. Way back in December, I purchased a vintage sheet (and by “vintage” I mean “from Goodwill”) to use in Christmas projects, so this project was FREE.

Here’s the inspiration:

And here’s my version. I made four, but could only corral three this morning for picture time:

I couldn’t get my zigs to zag in a satisfactory manner, but I’m OK with that. Practice makes….better?

After a weekend of use, they are holding up great.

2. Tangy Tzatziki Pasta Salad

I have no pictures of my own version of this salad, because every time I got within 20 feet I abandoned all reason and dove into the bowl face-first. But here’s the pretty picture from Southern Living:

Mine looked almost just like that, except with a face print.

3. Home Remedy for Sore Throat

This was an unfortunate necessity this morning, as Jason woke up with a very sore throat and a lump of chest congestion. I had all of these ingredients on hand, so this was also a free project.

He says it tastes pretty good. I think I’ll add a splash of bourbon for a nighttime version.

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