I know it sounds like blasphemy coming from me, (in regards to the name of this blog and all...) but...The Holidays are officially over!! That span of days from December 24th through January 1st is an epic long journey. Not a bad journey...just a long one, filled with lots of extraordinary eating and strange sleeping habits and social curve balls (namely, going to a New Years party at my sister's place clad in pajamas because all the guests are immediate family, and then finding out that her boyfriend's parents are coming, whom I've never met...and it stinks to meet people for the first time while wearing PJ's and sans my trademark braids...my hair was in a bun!!) ...but come January 2nd it occurs to you all at once that the journey is over and it's back to real life. And you realize that the return to reality is just the tonic you've been needing to rid your body and soul of the 2008 blues...(actually it was just a food-hangover!)
Every year at this time me and Aaron get this creative urge that can't be ignored and we must conquer a new painting A.S.A.P.! It's like a test to prove to 2009 that we are still artists and we've got brand new fresh ideas...2008 is over and in 2009 our brushes will be bigger, better, and more bountiful! So we pulled a couple all nighters and by the wee hours of January 4th we had this brand new painting completed, made into prints, matted and framed. "Kitchenology 1"...It's going to be the first in a series. And you can probably already see in your mind's eye what the rest of the series will look like. We were in a very British mood when we designed this one...heavy on the tea, fun color, and lots of pattern. The future will bring some classic baking implements and vintage kitchen essentials. We are big into vintage tea towels and the look of this piece also has the feel of a visual teaching chart...hence the name. It's available in 11 x 14 (in a 16 x 20 mat) and 8 x 10 (in an 11 x 14 mat). So that's what's new for us in the New Year! Now in our shop!
This sweet lil fella was handmade by SWEET friend Chels of
PaperCakes on etsy! You totally need to pop over to her shop! Sooo much sweetness!! :)
Now let me touch on some highlights from the epic holiday journey...and you'll be happy to see that I've got some photographic support to back up my narrative. I guess I'll start with some pics of my holiday decor...this way you'll have a bit of a visual backdrop. We really didn't have time to go all out this year so the pics are few and tightly shot. Our new livingroom is a bit tiny so our tree is kinda crammed between our mantel and a big TV cabinet. I didn't realize until it was too late that I never snapped a pic of our wrapped gifts under the tree (and plus this year, the gifts were wrapped in a hurry. I told everyone that my chihuahua Carlos wrapped them while riding a bike!) But I do have a pic of the wrapping paper and tags that we used. (And you'll notice the introduction of RED into our theme and you may have noticed it in our new painting up above.) Also, I love that feather wreath...I added the bells... it hangs on the door to my livingroom. Yes, my livingroom has a door, which is weird. We were going to remove it when we moved in but we found that it serves a practical purpose when we leave Carlos home alone. He feels more secure when he doesn't have free roam of the whole apartment. So we close the door and he snuggles up on the couch for the duration of our absence. I've included a pic of how he snuggles up in his pile of blankets.
OK, the logical progression for this holiday re-cap seems to be a show and tell of my gifts. So many are Etsy finds which were made possible by my sister Missy and Aar's grandmother and Aar's mom Barb (aka, the best mother-in-law-on-the-planet...I-dare-you-to-challenge-this-proclamation!) That teeny tiny aqua pitcher, though it's small in stature, it still has the ability to knock me out! Also, you guys all know and love Cakespy, aka Jessie Oleson. I've finally got my hands on an original piece from her. Her imagery of sweets and their little fantasy world is just unbeatable...I know she's not in confectionary competition...but if she was, Jessie would be the cupcake champion of the world! And in keeping with cupcakes...holy cow! this embroidered cupcake flour sack towel is too sweet for words...it's by ChicBabyRose on Etsy. And this cupcake photo print is something I've been wanting forever...I'm still looking for the right frame for it so this pic is from the Etsy listing...love it! It's by Amy Nieto. And last in this department is this amazingly rendered typewriter artwork...it's by etsy seller Tabidesigns ( tabitha emma). This piece is where me and Aaron meet esthetically...the perfect crossroads. He is typewriter-literary-man-parchmenty-old, and I'm cute-little-birdie-aqua. Again, I'm still looking for it's perfect spot in our home so this pic is from the artist's page.
Alright, I've touched a girl's sense of style...her home esthetics. Now I'll move on to her sense of touch & scent. I've been dying for a boatload of bathroom stuff that smells totally edible and feels amazing on my skin. I just thought that going to the mall for my bath products is just so 5-years-ago. And although the products from Philosophy and their ilk are superb...I decided that I'd take a sampling from a couple of the "little guys" on Etsy...being that I'm a "little guy" on Etsy. Plus, we all know that the "big guys" get all their ideas from spying on the "little guys"! And in some cases the "little guys" have actually defected from the ranks of the "big guys" and now they've started their own tiny companies. So I bought from two of 'em. First, Mad City Soap LLC. a few products...Shower Parfait Cream Soap in Fresh Marshmallow scent...just used it this morn...Fabulous!!! And then Whipped Sugar Body Scrub in Marzipan scent and Marshmallow scent...awesome as well!! The fresh Marshmallow scent is by far my fave but I recommend the Sugar Scrub over the Parfait Cream Soap because the fragrance is much stronger and sticks with you throughout the day! And the product I'd been most anticipating: Whipped Sugar Body Scrub..."Pure Grace" type...meaning it mimics "Pure Grace" by the aforementioned Philosophy. And it mimics it well!! I've coveted my sister's tub of Pure Grace since moving nextdoor to her and I swear that this is a dead ringer and then some...at a super fraction of the price! I can't wait to go over to my sisters to compare them side by side. I started with the smaller 4 oz. tub and I'll certainly be grabbing the 11 oz. as soon as I run out. I will always keep this in stock...same goes for the Fresh Marshmallow scrub. I figured I'd give my honest reviews...I highly recommend these!
The Next product line I picked up is GudonyaToo. I bought from two companies so I could compare the two and because I don't feel like being a simple Dove girl anymore. GudonyaTOO has a product called Whipped Clean foaming body wash which I got in a few scents: Island Coconut, Cotton Candy, Tahitian Vanilla (think vanilla with tropical flowers) So the GudonyaTOO Whipped Clean is very similar to the Mad City Soap products but I'd say that the scents of the Mad City Soap stuff sticks with you longer and my skin feels a bit more moisturized with the Mad City Soap. But it's really a matter of personal taste. Some gals don't want the scent to stick around all day. Another thing I got from GudonyaTOO is their Gudonya Whipped Shave, foaming shave cream in original Almond scent. It's super fab. Aaron loved it. He shaves his entire head in the shower with a regular disposable razor (yeah, it sounds nuts...no mirror! but he's been doing it for so long that it's second nature.) It's a cream that foams up...you use a tiny dab and it covers a lot of manscape. Aar said he's never had a smoother shave and he even used a dullish razor! So I highly recommend that one. I've got even more stuff on the way and I'll be sure to fill you in on those once I've tested them out.
Ok, scent & touch are taken care of and now I'll focus on Feet. My friend Rob once got this advice from his Granddad: "The two most important things you'll buy in your life...a good mattress and good shoes...You spend half of your life in your bed and the other half on your feet." I don't think I'm quoting him exactly but you get the gist. My sweet little brother Walt got me a pair of classic red Converse Chuck Taylors. Notice the bits of red that are creeping into my life...our art, our giftwrap, and now my shoes...this is only the beginning...Valentines is fast approaching and the red will be in full effect. Anyway...back on track... A while back I suggested to Walt that he'd look fab in Chucks. And I was right...he got 'em and he looks awesome. So he returned the favor and got me these. I wanted them for a while but I never ever buy stuff for myself so these were a perfect gift! Also, the above mentioned Barb (best-mother-in-law-on-the-planet) got me these Crocs...they're called Troika's. I love 'em. The uttermost in comfort. I feel barefoot but better than barefoot. They're a winter version of Crocs and I can't recommend them enough. I want Aar to get them too. He tried them on in the store, our local Wegmans, the greatest grocery store on earth... but he said he wasn't too keen on how they felt on his feet...well on his left foot anyway. He's got nerve damage there from the car crash...a constant pins and needly feeling. So the better-than-barefoot sensation is kinda lost on him. But I told him he's just gotta get used to it and he'll probably like them better than any shoe he wears. Alright...the shoe department is closed...we'll now move on to jewelry!!
First I'll mention the Betsey Johnson ring...a gift from my brother Jay!! He knows me soooo well. I love love love it! He doesn't think he's a good gift giver but he's great at it! He got Aar a bag and or manpurse and Aar loves it! Aar carries a stack of books with him everywhere he goes and now he's got a sturdy bag in which to keep them. Anyway, back to the ring...it looks like an adorable little wrapped gift but it could also be a petit four...because I got a look at the Betsey collection in Macys and the ring right next to this one was a cupcake. So she's either going for a birthday party theme or a sweets theme. Either direction is perfection in my book. So this is a fab fab gift! And then these two amazing necklaces I picked up on Etsy. First, the handmade "blue rose locket"...made from vintage findings, by etsy seller: botanicalbird
...too cute! I'm searching for the perfect pics of Aaron and Carlos to put inside. Next, the "Montmartre necklace" made by etsy seller: mylavaliere, featuring my all time favorite line: JE T'AIME PLUS QU'HIER MOINS QUE DEMAIN...which translates to: I love you more than yesterday less than tomorrow. Why is it my fave? Well, when I was a little girl of say 9 or 10, my mom had a little stained glass "thing"...it was soldered and looked like a little book. It sat on my mom's windowsill and the sun cast through it. For an entire summer I used to laze around and hang upside down on a piano bench and say the line with "perfect 9 year old French pronunciation"...I vowed to have it memorized...probably thought I could insert it casually into conversation...or I could say it while walking down the isle in the grocery store and anyone who overheard me would certainly think: "hey, a little French girl just walked by!"
Ok, gifts are over for now. Now, another sort of gift. Good friends and good customers are life's gifts. And this gift is our friend Amy Elise holding her Keep Calm and Have a Cupcake painting. We were only doing it in Pink or Aqua but we did a special order for a special gal. She wanted red. Here she is modeling it fabulously...how adorable does she look?!...really! She plans on hanging it up where that big clock is currently hanging. It was fun to do but tough to do. The color Red is not cooperative. It takes a zillion coats to get it solid looking...and then to paint white letters over it is a pain. But all that was erased once Amy sent this pic. Love it!
Next, holiday eating! Namely, Bobby's Burger Palace. And the "Bobby" is none other than Iron Chef Bobby Flay. He opened up a location five minutes away from where we live. His roots are in my area so it's fitting. I believe his mom lives like 15 minutes south of us. Best burgers ever! You look at a wall menu when you walk in...pay at the register...fill your own drinks...and then they bring your burgers and fries out to you. It's cafeteria style seating, so it's kinda like everyone is sitting side by side at the diner counter. A Flickr friend of mind commented that the outside of the building kinda looks like an arcade...so right...also, isn't it cool how the logo looks like a burger? Anyway, yup, those are potato chips piled way high on the burger. Bobby believes that all burgers should be "crunchified" meaning...add some chips. It was perfect. You just smash the burger down and take a big crunchy bight. My sister Missy is a "genius". She ordered a Black and White Malted. Go to Bobby's Burger Palace when one opens in your neck of the woods!! Sadly, it was my first and last visit for a while. My New Years diet is in effect and that place and it's kind are strictly off limits for some time! boo hoo!
And lastly....and certainly not leastly!!! Our new niece Dian Dian, aka Dee Dee! We are so psyched! She and her parents (Aar's brother Jamie and wife Angela) got back from China the day after Christmas. They had been emailing pics back home for the duration of their time in China and we were oooohing and ahhhhing every day! We all got together at Aar's parents house on New Year's day and she was scrumptious!! Her big brother Adam is taking to her fabulously...opening up her gifts for her and showing her! The little girl likes to EAT! She goes from chicken noodle baby food straight into a big chocolate chip cookie and back again, without a pause for thought. We can't wait 'til she's ready to be babysat. Right now she's only bonded with mom and dad, so she needs some time. Think about it. We all look so weird to her I'm sure...and we're speaking some strange dialect! She's been keeping her parents up all night but on New Years she was perfectly behaved. She took to Aaron easy because he looks like her father. That's also how Aaron made such close friends with his fave nephew Adam...a couple weeks ago Adam's Daddy told Adam that he and Uncle Aaron were brothers...and Aar swears you could see a look of recognition and realization come over him.
So now we've got a new niece! Can't wait to keep you guys updated on her development. I can't wait 'till her mom can put her hair in little braids!!
Alright....wow, what a looooong post! I really didn't think I had it in me! Let me just say how much you guys mean to me and thanks so so much for all your happy new year wishes!! It will be a happy year! I look forward to seeing how it goes for everyone!