Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tree Hugger

Ok... I'm not. I don't wear Birkenstocks. I don't eat granola unless it's in the form of a bar. I probably don't fall into any of the other stereotypes. But I sure do love trees. Love! It's turned into a mild obsession in fact.
The dining room- Pre curtains. One of the most tree-filled rooms!
The material for the curtains in the kitchen

A few of the tree pictures on the wall in the office! The dining room has "grown up trees" and my office is filled with "whimsical trees!"
The curtains in the office- And a glimpse at another "whimsical tree" picture!

The tree/branch fabric used in my bedroom

A view of my very gutted, very work-in-progress downstairs bathroom... I used this shower curtain as a door for the doorless linen closet.
Scraps of all of the tree fabrics used throughout my house. These
panels are in place of the broken glass there was on the front of this antique cabinet!

That tree really needed some fluffing! This is in my office currently.

It's like "I spy a tree!" Tree stocking holders, mini tree, shadow picture of a Christmas tree, and the other shadow picture has a man peeking out from behind a tree!

A mini tree for my guests, in the guest bedroom!

Another view of how many trees are in the dining room!

Trees topping a tree-covered cabinet!

The latest addition... Two Christmas trees on the front porch!

So there you have it... My official tree obsession! Here's where I got it all (even though nobody's paying me to mention their name- I just love it all so much!):

Mini Trees: Old Time Pottery. I think they were $2-3 each.
Big dining room tree painting: Ikea
Small dining room paintings and whimsical trees: Random prints found at Michael's Arts & Crafts and Target
Shower curtain/closet door: Target. $15.99
Silver trees (in kitchen) and stocking hooks: Target. Trees- $5.99 each. Hooks- Gift $?
All fabric: hawthornethreads.com- I love this site! They have so much fabric and they ship faster than you'd believe!

Call me a tree hugger... Or don't! I just know I'm going to keep on buying trees! Maybe they'll form a support group for people like me ;)

Friday, November 26, 2010

9 Things About Black Friday

1) I felt like I was a mother to a newborn last night. It sucked. I wanted the TV doorbuster at Target, but will never be that person who waits in the line that wraps around the outside of a store just for a chance to claw another person's eyes out over a TV. A TV that I'd probably drop in a brawl, and have to "you break it you buy it." I went to bed at 11:00 and set an alarm for midnight. The TV wasn't on promo yet. I reset my alarm for 3:00. It wasn't on promo. I reset for 4:06 (6 after just for fun)- The TV was gone. GRRRR. I had to wake up for work at 5:15. Not restful.
2) I'm still full from yesterday.
3) I have 3 birthday cakes waiting for me at work! Yay for employees remembering their boss is human!
4) My store beat it's top Black Friday (which was pre-recession of course) by 25%! That is so exciting for a retail nerd like me!
5) I might be aging. My body hurts. Today was SOOO busy and crazy. I love ice. I just keep rotating this ice pack: 

6) A random woman that appeared completely sane told me I had the most beautiful flawless skin she'd ever seen... She then proceeded to caress my cheek for an awkward amount of time.
7) I'll be 27 in 2 hrs. and 26 min. Ugh. Yikes. Gulp. Sigh.
8) I wish it was still yesterday. I was in my card game playing element:
9) I went over to my parent's tonight for dinner with 2/3 of my brothers and my mom. It was wonderful... I don't know how 8 hours at work can drag on, but 2 hours around a kitchen table flies...

Thursday, November 25, 2010

What Am I Thankful For?

I'm glad you asked... So much I can barely wrap my mind around it!

I sure am grateful for my momma (I'm channeling my inner southerner. She just goes by "mom" when I talk to her). I'm grateful that she listens to hours of rambling on the phone, weekly. I'm grateful that I have a great mom. I'm grateful that I know someone else exists out there that's just like me:
It's eery isn't it?

I'm grateful for my Grandma. She drives me nuts when she tries to force me down the isle. But I'm grateful to know that I am exactly the way I am because I'm a carbon copy of her:
Even creepier, huh?

I guess I'm just grateful for genetics. I know exactly what I'll look like in all stages of life... 
And it's good! I'm grateful that I'm part of the family I'm part of, and one of 3 generations of awesomeness:

I'm grateful for my daddio (he also rarely goes by this title. He's "daddy" if I need a giant favor, and Dad the other days). He's a little shorter on words than my mom and a little more hands-on:
Yes, I was a natural blonde for awhile! I also still love to paint walls this much!
We went through some rough patches where one, or both, of us were too immature to express our feelings...
But, if I ever questioned them, I know not to now. My dad is an "acts of love" kind of guy. Whenever sewage comes up in my basement, or my cabinets need to get scooted over 2 inches to accommodate a too large microwave, or I break my weed wacker:
I know my daddio is there for me:
And, I'm thankful...

My brothers... Oh my I'm thankful for them! 

I'm thankful that the oldest one is such a great, quiet listener. I'm thankful that the middle one makes me cry laughing, and trains with me at the gym. I'm grateful that the youngest one has always stayed sweet. I would read him Nancy Drew books at bedtime until I left for college. He's always been a good guy that puts up with all of my antics. They all do for the most part:
(The baby is not my brother... He just got an honorary shirt!)
I'm grateful that they all show me that there are good men out there. 
My sister-in-law was lucky enough to find one of them.

I'm grateful that I never married one of the many I dated. I wasn't ready. 

I'm grateful for my amazing house! I wish I would've kept houses of some of the train-wrecks that I looked at before I found this one! I'm extra thankful for all of the people that helped me make it my house:

Cheers too all of you who have helped make this house, my home!

I'm grateful for my job:
Even though my boss seems to find a way to make me cry every Monday, I'm grateful that I have one. I wish I could say all of the places I've traveled with it, and all of the trips and fun things I've gotten as a perk of the top-secret-retailer, but confidentiality agreements forbid me!

I'm grateful for the places I've been, and things I've done:
Covered in flowers in Hawaii!

I'm grateful for my friends. I'm grateful for their puppies and the fires in my backyard that we've talked around:

I'm grateful that both of these ladies have worked for/with me in the past and have liked me enough to stay my friends! 

And how could I forget... I'm thankful that when I walk around my house talking to myself, I'm not crazy. Because I'm talking to them:

Somehow in my giving Thanksgiving, I've turned this into an Oscar acceptance speech, complete with a slideshow. I'm off to eat my favorite meal of the year... 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

27?!?!?!?!?! Gulp...

I will be 27 in 3 days. It's my golden birthday this year! I remember being 6 or 7 when I heard about golden birthdays and feeling so impatient that mine wasn't going to be for a looonnnng time! I was going to be old. I was going to be someone's mom when my golden birthday hit! Unless I find a baby on a my doorstep in the next 3 days that will not be true! I don't actually feel or think I look old either! I feel 17. I feel a little smarter, thank God, but my brain still thinks I'm 17. Sometimes it hurts if I sit in the same position for awhile. I attribute that to many car accidents (another post can be dedicated to just those!), not to aging though. I don't have grey hair. It's a genetic toss up about when that'll happen, but as of now- I don't!

I don't look old. I don't feel old. I don't think I look like someone's mom. I don't feel like I'm ready to be someone's mom. I'm really over being told I should be. I'm really over my body telling me I should be. I'm really over my grandmother telling me I should be- Or worse random people. "So, are you dating anyone? Oh you probably should be settling down one of these days..." It makes me really angry that I'm getting older. It makes me angry that I care. Because I wouldn't if I was in a different place in my life. I don't care about wrinkles, and I don't care about grey hair (probably because I would just color it away anyway)! I care about my goals. In college I made a list. I made a list of all kinds of goals. I had to do it for a class. It was professional goals and benchmarks. I took it a step further. Once I turned in my assignment I added on personal things. I  added that I wanted to be kinder to my family. I added that I wanted to go to church every week. I added that I wanted to exercise 4x's a week. I added that I wanted to buy a new car by the time I was 21. I added that I wanted to buy my first house by the time I was 24. I added that I wanted to be married by 25. I added that I wanted to have my first baby at 27. (Side note- Do we think I'm a type A personality?!) I have accomplished every single thing on that list. Everything. I bought the car early. I earned the promotion early. I did go to the gym off and on... ahem... 4 x's a week. I bought my first condo at 21. I am an achiever. I am competitive, even if the only thing I'm competing against is myself and some aggressive goals on a paper.

The getting married thing I just assumed would happen. I wasn't one of those girls in college after my MRS degree. Quite frankly I was very immature. I missed out on a lot of normal social experiences in my teens, and made up for a lot of them in college. I had my first boyfriend as a freshman in college. That's pretty late. I know. Marriage was not on my mind. Having friends, going to class, buying cool clothes, having a guy that liked me, those were things on my mind. Between semesters I took my long trip to Africa. When I got back it, again, wasn't about getting married like so many girls were doing at my school (I went to a private college where marriage happened more often than binge drinking! I had a different college experience than many!), it was about my new-found self and my new-found relationship with God. It was about surviving now that I realized how American I was! I excelled in school, and found myself getting offered a full time position with the top secret retailer while I was a senior in college, wrapping up my internship. I took it! Just like that, my time in school was gone. I moved for work, and moved up. I checked things right off of my list! I was the youngest store manager in the company's history. I owned my own home. I had the brand new car. I sound very shallow. But, I was very pleased with myself. Shortly after being promoted again I met V. V was, and unfortunately still is, the love of my life. I fell in love. Hard. I finally realized how people get married. I realized why they wanted to! It wasn't some competitive, check off of a list, thing like so many things I've done in my life have been. Who even knows what I'd do for a living. I have my job now because I just wanted to win against someone else. Sad. Back to V though- He didn't want kids. It ended. Since then it's like I've been searching for a drug and it's like time is on fast forward! Now I've felt love! Now I actually want more than any other thing I've put on my list for that to happen. For me to find "the one." (I hate "the one" by the way. I think it sounds cheesy. So does soulmate. But whatever.) 

Now that I want it I feel like I'm failing miserably. 2007-2010 have been filled with tons of dating and tons of heartbreak. I've held out hope though. Even though I didn't hit my marriage date on my goal list, didn't mean I'd missed the baby date. I could meet someone, and date them, and get engaged, and plan a wedding, and get pregnant by such and such date and still make it by 27- I kept telling myself. Now it's here. Now I'd have to run to the courthouse with a stranger and find a baby on a doorstep to make it. I feel like I've failed miserably. I feel angry. SO angry! Why am I a woman? That sucks! I have 10 years of decent fertility left before I have to give up. 10 years. I hate that I feel limited by a calendar. That if I meet someone in 8 years, my chances of a surprise pregnancy, rather than medical intervention, are so slim. I'm SO angry! I'm 17 in my brain! It took me longer to grow up! I wanted to wait until I met the right guy and was sure I wasn't settling! I wanted to travel with my husband just have FUN before we had kids. I had these plans. 

One of my favorite quotes ever is:
"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."
-John Lennon

Why am I type A? Why am I such an obsessive planner? My plan is what is making this birthday so hard! I'm angry that I'm angry. I have a great life! I got to spend my day in pj's decorating my house! I get to buy fun stuff with my bonus checks! I get 10 hrs. of sleep a night if I want it! I didn't want this shallow life though. I wanted a person that wanted to marry me. I wanted kids. I wanted to meet my goals on time! I'm only 27. I don't have grey hair. I don't feel old. I'm just sick of my stupid check list making me feel old. I'm sick of my facebook college friends that have 2 or 3 kids making me feel old. I'm sick of my Grandmother making me feel like I've failed at life because I'm alone. I'm sick of being a girl and want to be a dirty old man that is fertile forever. I'm sick of even thinking about fertility- How fun is that? I'm sick of being crabby! I'm super super super sick of this third-of-the-way-through-life crisis I've got going on! This is where I am in my brain:
-Baby Erin: 1983
-Current Erin: 27ish

Morbid, and dramatic, I know. I am that kind of person though! 27 is frustrating. It's frustrating because I just don't know what's next. I'm scared. I'm scared that I didn't prioritize things in my life and I've missed the boat. Even if I'm scared, I'm 9% excited. :-)

Sorry. It's a pessimistic post. But, it's my blog. I'll post something happy soon! This is a good week! One of my brothers is coming to town for Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is amazing, in and of itself, plus who wouldn't be excited when they knew their week would include gravy!? My birthday age freaks me out, but I'm very excited for the day itself, and I'm very excited that I get to spend it with my amazing family. And, Black Friday is this week. Black Friday is a fun adrenaline rush at work that I love. 

So for now, I leave you with my pessimism, and my third-of-the-way-through-life timeline...

Out With the Pumpkins... In With the Trees!

Today one of my favorite days of the year arrived... The day I got to decorate my house for Christmas! I adore decorating my house for any occasion, but Christmas is my favorite! I picked a great day to have off of work and to do indoor projects. Chicago weather at this time of year can be slightly erratic! This was what we're working with in IL today:

Perfect day! I didn't get dressed, didn't do my makeup, and I turned up the heat!
This is my first year in the house, so it was fun to figure out where all of my stuff would go here. First I had to take down my autumn decorations:
Done. That was easy! 
Then I needed to get out all of my Christmas stuff. I should also mention, this is not only one of my favorite days of the year... It's also Linus's favorite day. He gets to climb around all kinds of things that he hasn't climbed on in 11 months!
Once I got all of my stuff upstairs (It lives in the basement) I wanted to start with the biggest project- The tree. I wasn't sure where to put it. My living room is pretty small in this house, compared to my past living rooms. No matter where it went I would have to move furniture. These were the options: 
Option #1: Get rid of the entry table and put the tree in front of the stairs. The pros: Minimal furniture movement. The cons: Linus had easy access to the top of the tree for his climbing pleasure. I also would need to find a new home for my keys. I could picture myself in a panic when I forgot where that new home was!

Option #2: In front of the screened porch door. The pros: It would be front and center in the living room. Linus wouldn't be able to easily hop onto the top. The cons: It would block a major light-source for the room. 
Option #3: Get rid of the end table and lamp and place in the corner. Pros: I wouldn't need the lamp if I had the lights from the tree. Cons: Finding a home for the end table. 
Option #4: The dining room. The pros: No furniture movement and a view of the pretty tree from the window. The cons: It's in the dining room... I don't want it in the other room! 

Option #3 won. The end table and lamp went to its temporary home in the basement. 
This is the springy/summery before & the Christmasy after:

 This dude is in his element:
I love hanging stockings. It's kind of pathetic to hang just one lonely stocking, therefore I'm that pet owner that has a stocking for the dog and the cat... Oh well, I own that. 
I have a very naturey kind of house (and I like to make up words!). I like some modern things, I like some countryish things, I like clean lines, I like black, I like brown, I like tan, and I like grey. I don't think these things necessarily go together, but I like them, so I've done what I can to make it all work! My tree isn't shiney, it's twiggy! 
I got this foxy dude in Hawaii... I think he's my favorite. He's made out of sponge. 

I probably have 100+ eyes staring at me from the tree!

I didn't change my centerpiece. I spent $2.00 on a big bag of scented pine cones at Michaels a few years ago. They go out from fall-spring. I found 18 of these baby ornaments in Target's $1 section, and mixed them in there. I love how it looks! I also got the snowflake pillows at Target on clearance for $6.99 and $3.99 (the later had a footprint on the back... It's all clean now!). The other red pillows are from there too. That place makes me happy. What can I say?

I wanted a shadow picture that would be Christmasy too... Look what I found for $0.10!

Now for my office...
I saw a nativity scene in Africa that I regretted not buying almost immediately. I finally found one online. The cat has eaten one shepherd, but otherwise it's still intact!

It's boring... The tree that is. I need ribbon on it or something, and to figure out a tree topper. But for now I've got a happy little tree in my office! 

Now for the dining room...
 Busted during the PJ party in the mirror!
 I love this Santa tin... Another $1 find at Target!
Another bowl of cheap pine cones spiced up with 6 ornaments for $1 at Target!

Now for the kitchen...
This room is a little more difficult, because red clashes horribly with the colors in the room. Here's what I came up with:
 I have a small pine cone obsession... But they're so cheap! I love that they're scented and they make my house smell so good!

Today was a fun day... After decorating I had a baking and laundry extravaganza. I'm still in my pj's without a spot of makeup on my face watching Christmas movies. Yay for today!

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