Thursday, August 30, 2007

She's all grown up

Congratulations to my younger sister Jenn, who graduated today from a 6-month, rather grueling aesthetician program at the Euro Institute.

As a girl who is obsessed with good skin care and has paid for many, many facials, I can honestly say that Jenn is talented at her work. I had a facial from her about a month ago and was blown away. I was having some skin issues leading up to my wedding in July (stress!) but Jenn knew exactly what was going on, slightly switched some of my products, and voila! Flawless skin. Apparently she is top of her class in sales, and gets referrals more than anyone else. Go Jenn.

In honor of Jenn's last day (of driving to Renton to work for 10+ hour days for free), I am showcasing my favorite skin care products. As a product junkie with an aesthetician for a sister, you should listen up. The following cremes and potions are almost essential:

1. Dr. Eckstein's Azulen Paste. People, if you ever get a blemish, put this weird green smelly paste on it at night and I assure you, it'll be gone the next day. It's magical. Dr. Eckstein products (out of Germany) are great, but you can't get them very easily in the U.S. You can pick this paste up at Escape Day Spa in Bellingham, or online at Skin Spa.

2. Dr. Spiller's Jojoba Peeling Creme. This was one of Jenn's remedies for my skin's summer freak out station. This is a super mild exfoliant that has teeny tiny jojoba wax balls (wax balls?), so it gently removes dead skin cells. See, as Jenn explained it, as you get older, your skin cells don't turn over as quickly, and dead skin often just hangs out. At best, it just makes you look ashy instead of glowy, but with some people - like me! - it actually clogs your pores and causes break outs. Wax balls to the rescue! Plus, it's creme based so it's moisturizes while it exfoliates; it's especially great for dry skin. You can get it at the Euro Institute in Renton but beyond that, I'm not really sure. Google it!

3. Arbonne's REpair Corrective Eye Creme. I might be a biased source because I rep this stuff, but honestly, this eye creme is fantastic. I think when men can endorse a semi-expensive skin care product, then you know it's fo' realz. Last fall our household experienced major eye puffiness reduction! I made my super skeptical fiance (he previously thought all skin care was a hoax) use it for 3 nights in a row. The first day he woke up, and looked in the mirror and said, "Load of crap," the second day he woke up, looked in the mirror and said, "Sorry, don't see anything," and the third day he woke up, looked in the mirror, and said "Holy shit!" Best eye creme ever. You can get it...from me!

4. Eminence (organic) Blueberry Soy Repair Masque. I was going to only feature 3 of my favorite products but I had to throw this one in there at the last minute. This is like a 2 or 3 time a week masque that, like the jojoba peeling creme mentioned above, is extremely moisturizing and gently exfoliating. It'll seriously induce a glow so strong you'll almost be creeped out that berries and beans have such strong powers. Plus it smells delicious. This masque can be found at some high end spas including Spa Noir in Belltown.

This concludes my public service announcement for today. Congrats Jenn!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

More beautiful jewelry: Kate Szabone.

So I know I just posted about jewelry a few hours ago, but I was on Etsy tonight and found a few additional pieces of jewelry that I just think are beautiful. They don't exactly fit into the Fall Trends that I was earlier describing, but I think they are sweet and delicate, and are pieces that I'd love to own. They are by Canadian jewelry designer, Kate Szabone.

Within the last five minutes, the designer kind of also became my new hero. She is 27 years old, married, and has a 2 year old daughter. She wasn't happy trying to balance her life between family, home, and working as a real estate agent -- so she redirected her interests toward her love of jewelry. She took classes at what I think might be a community college (what I'm doing this fall), and has managed to turn her jewelry making business into her full, part-time job - working from home. You can find them right her on her shop at, or on her website at

Have I mentioned that I'm excited about my class this fall?

Jewelry trends

So I’ve been doing some research on fall accessories trends. I’m not really one to put this much thought in my own personal style – I tend to accidentally start wearing a trend. And that doesn’t mean that I’m THAT cool that I actually just happened to wear what’s in. What I mean is, I don’t pay any attention and then I'll just start liking and wearing something, and then I’ll see it in a magazine as the new hot trend, and I’ll be like “cool!” But I’m sure it’s osmosis, and my lack of conscious attention to most things. Rose gold is that trend for me right now. I’m not sure it’s a trend, I haven’t seen it in a magazine yet – but I have my bets on rose gold being the new hot thing. It’s so snazzy!

Anyway, this long intro is really leading to the fact that, as a jewelry bizwoman, I thought I should pay more attention to this fall’s trends before I start frantically making things. I’m excited to be taking a metal smith class this fall, but with this venture, my investment into jewelry making will certainly be more substantial. So I need to get smart about what people want.

Here’s what I’ve found – I thought I’d share and then get your feedback on what all you all like right now for jewels.

Fall and winter jewelry trends:

  • Jewelry is going to be big and more extreme than recent years – jewelry will play more of a role in fashion (yay!).
  • Semiprecious beads, such as black onyx and smoky quartz (which I personally LOVE). Amethyst Geodes, and other beautiful split stones. I also think citrine might be big, but this might be my own opinion. I think it’s beautiful.

Kris Nations, $70,

  • Still a lot of bone, wood, and natural clay beads. Animal prints and animal motifs - mostly tribal.

Gomeagan, Driftwood Etched Brass Flower Necklace, $22,

Sprout Jewelry, Purple Snakeskin and Sterling Silver Circle Earrings, $14 (!!!),

Kenneth Jay Lane, Zebra print earrings, $62,

Mesi Jilly, Shell and Silver Onyx ring, $800,

  • The always classic pearl will be integrated into jewelry design.

Starry Designs, Oxidized Doves Nest Pearl Ring, $26,

GoMeagan, Eggs Nest Ring, $12,
  • Big chunky vintage-inspired cocktail rings (circa 1940's and 50's), as well as tiny stackable rings, and rings with organic texture.

Smoky Quartz Cocktail Ring, $49,

David Yurman, 18K Modern Cushion Ring (Citrine), $3950,

My wedding bands, not for sale. But created at Seattle's best custom jewelry shop, Greenlake Jewelry Works

White Metal, Gold Coil Ring, $180,

  • Also, bracelets are huge this year - especially chunky bangles and cuffs, and delicate chain/link bracelets.

Kenneth Jay Lane, Enamel Insects Cuff, $150,

Kimberly Baker, Ziggy Bracelet, $175,

  • Necklaces will range from choker length to long – but large pendants is the key.
  • Earring styles will vary, but apparently big loops and circles are still fabulous.

Orno, Circular Zebrawood Earrings, $38,

Shiny and oxidized sterling silver hoops w/ hand forged ear wires, $38,

  • Sterling silver will be big this winter. Also metallics. I also think mixing metals (gold, silver, ROSE GOLD) is super cute right now.

Juicy Couture, Dirty Glam Torsade Necklace, $178,

  • Feathers!!! Crests and badges and anything ornate. Big hearts.

Fat Free, Feather Earrings, $59,

Telee Couture, Peacock Pearl Drops, $17.99,

Kimberly Baker, Gwendolyn, $298,

  • The Asian look. Tigers, dragons, and intricately carved things.

Opulent Pearly Pagoda Earrings, $28,

  • Lace and cameos. (I am not sure about this…but okay.) And apparently people are still hung up on keys, locks, and lockets.

Thanks for listening to me blabber, while getting inspired for my future designs. So now I'm curious what everyone is into wearing, in terms of jewelry, lately. Speak up!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Wedding biz

Tonight commenced the first "Seattle women in biz" meeting. Currently the club's members include myself, Cori Ready, and Aviva Palmer - but soon I'm sure we'll be adding other women creatives and b-list celebrities.

I came to the meeting woefully unprepared. They had their notebooks open, and were poised and ready to jot. I showed up 15 minutes late with nothing. But Aviva graciously gave me a piece of paper, and I had a Wet & Wild lip pencil in the bottom of my purse. Perfect.

My meeting induced many biz revelations, but ultimately, it made me realize that I need to get back to the wedding planning advice that I promised all my many, many readers. Here it goes - my first installment of wedding planning advice.

1.) Hire a wedding planner
2.) Hire a wedding planner
3.) Hire Cori and Aviva to be your wedding planners

Seriously... I've already briefly called attention to my wedding planner, Steve Moore, for being the wedding dynamo. But I really need to drive home this point again. You may think, like I did, that you can plan a wedding by yourself -- but ladies, you need a reality check. You are a Bride. I will always hate that word...HOWEVER, unless you are having 35 people in your backyard for fruit punch and Safeway cake, you need to hire an expert. I don't mean to be snobby, but listen to me: you don't have time to plan the details that most guests have come to expect in this day and age.

I didn't even have time to refresh my lipstick, and I hate most of my pictures because of it! It's one day - and it's a pretty important one - so I highly recommend coughing up some cash to hire someone who will ensure your wedding day goes off without a hitch.

Cori and Aviva are my new favorite event planners; they began The Adventure School a little less than a year ago. Their ideas and collective fun-having are out of this world. I went to a party/fundraiser that they organized at the Crawl Space art gallery awhile back. The concepts behind the event, themed 'Winner's Circle', were beyond fresh and unique. In bride language, they weren't no bulbous-brightly colored-tightly arranged-1997-rose arrangements. In fact, it was the complete opposite. I loved the brilliant monochrome theme of white - I LOVE love that horseshoe cake - and could that girl Anne be any hotter in that mini dress?

Stay tuned for more sage advice from a girl who has gone through the wedding fiasco, and also, perhaps an invitation to an end of the summer JUMPSUIT PARTY on my deck. Yeah!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Nazi mommy

A friend of mine -- who will remain nameless -- and I (could I start this blog out any more poorly?) were chatting today over e-mail, and our conversation led to some thoughts that sort of spilled out onto my computer screen and into her inbox. And these thoughts sort of amazingly communicated the purpose of me beginning this silly blog thing.

I'll shorten it for all you all, but it basically went like this:

"Sometimes I buy future baby clothes, is that weird?"

"Are you family planning?"

"What the hell is family planning?"

"Oh, it's when you plan out when you are having a family."

"Yeah, I am kind of doing that. Are you?"

"Yeah, I am."

"I'm afraid to path a child through my vag."

"Yeah. The only thing that scares me is my job. It's too intense to keep if I have a kid."

"You should quit your job, I did, and it's the best. Moms shouldn't have jobs if possible."


"Wait, did I offend you? Am I a Nazi mommy?"

"No, you didn't offend me. What I really want to do is buy a home and renovate it, and maybe learn to cook."

AND HERE'S WHERE IT GETS GOOD. (copy and paste:)

"Yes, me too. I think our ovaries are seriously out of control, and it doesn't just induce the desire to have children.... it induces the desire to be homemakers and build a beautiful and comfortable environment, and get good at things that truly matter, instead of de-feminizing yourself in pursuit of making money (primarily for somebody else)."

BASICALLY, my point is, this blog is really about trying to balance the idea of all of the sudden being 28 and married, and wanting to be all wife-like...but up till this point, all I knew was the (corporate) work game. And I got pretty good at it.

Thank God, that phase is over....but now I'm kind of confused! What do I do with my day? How exactly should I structure it? What if I want to make earrings right now? Is it weird to put together a website proposal at 4:30 in the morning? If I work 20 hours per week, am I now considered lazy?

I still have quite a bit of work-like energy. And I have all these pent up entrepreneurial desires, and think up about a half a dozen business ideas every day. It can be confusing, ya'll! So this blog is (going to be) really about trying to balance these interests.

21st century craziness!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Brakes, tax breaks, and creepy dudes

Today's adventure was the opposite of domestic. I went to get my car's brakes checked out. Right off the bat, I viewed the challenge as an opportunity to figure out how not to get screwed. A blonde girl drives up in a BMW and says "something is wrong with my brakes"? This is just a recipe for disaster.

But I like a challenge. So I dropped my car off and the guy who checked me in starts filling out a form, and asks me for my address. I give it to him. He says, Oh I know where you live!

Great....just what I want....a random car mechanic dude making a mental note of where I live. He goes on....and on.... and on..... I learned about his grandma, who owned the condo building across the street, and how she renovated and sold all the units, and then finally her own penthouse suite, for 6.8 million dollars...and how then she bought a ranch in Maple's 8,000 square feet....and how he thinks I'm lucky that I own a condo in that area.

“Oh, it’s actually an apartment,” I said.

“You should buy,” he replies. “You get a $10,000 tax break.”

Great. Just want I want. Unsolicited advice on how to invest in the Seattle real estate market from the mechanic at Affordable Brake & Tire. Awesome.

It didn’t end there. I now know he has been with the same woman for 10 years. They had a kid together before they got married. He got married solely for the $10,000 tax break. (It was just a piece of paper at that point.)

I leave, feeling a little violated.

Then I get a call from his colleague, who was actually seemingly friendly and honest. He spent a half hour of his day giving me an educational presentation on the structure of brakes, and what exactly is happening with my brakes, down to the thousands of an inch on my roter. Way more than I ever wanted to know. He told me what I needed, and gave me various options. Generic white box roter or original equipment replacement?

I told him to get screwed. I told him to put my tires back on, and that I’d be there to pick my car up by 5:30.

I don’t know what came over me. It was an impulse. I didn’t even really have a gut feeling with this guy. He seemed nice enough. But see, you NEVER KNOW. As a blonde who drives a BMW and has seen many episodes of 20/20, take it from me: you can’t trust ANYONE. And with no gut feeling, I felt the best option was to tell this guy to take a hike. If my brakes fall off while I’m careening down Queen Anne Hill, then so be it. At least I am in control right now.

I don’t know, I think John Stossel would be proud.

Friday, August 17, 2007

some of my favorite wedding gifts

We haven't opened all of our gifts yet (there's still some up north) but I wanted to showcase the Top 10 wedding gifts. They made the rankings either because they are the most thoughtful, the most beautiful, or the most necessary. Here's why.

Lindsay & David's vintage sea urchin print
This was hands down, one of my favorite wedding gifts. I absolutely love this rose gold colored mirror frame. I'm so into rose gold anything right now! Apparently she found both the print and the frame in Lynden, WA, which totally and completely blows my mind. I didn't think anything good came out of Lynden!

Cameron's 'Ready Position' framed "painting"
My friend Cameron Jennings, one of Bellingham's weirdest and awesomest persons, is an artist who creates interesting, stylie, stuff. I forget what he made this out of but it looks like colored pencil mostly. And that blue box is paint. (Note to self: I should never be an art critic.) Anyway, I like this piece. He made it because now I'm a wife. I like the dishes part the best.

He gave it to us alongside a book called "Ideal Marriage: Its Physiology and Technique," which has been very helpful for us so far. It contains creepy chapters like this:

I also think the Ovarian function chart (above) will come in handy when we start trying to conceive. Thanks for looking out for us, Cam!

Rachael's framed wedding invitation
I have to put a disclaimer here. We were very confused when we opened this gift, because it had a card attached from our friends Amy and Aaron. We were like, "Oh, Amy and Aaron, that's so sweet of them!" but then we looked on the back and it has a Michael's sticker that says "Framed by Rachael". My cousin Rachael works at Michael's in Bellingham as an art framer - and Amy and Aaron live in Seattle. So, I really think this is from Rachael, and we need to get in touch with Amy and Aaron to figure out their mystery gift. Anyway, this is an extremely thoughtful gift. We wanted to frame our wedding invitation but it would definitely be one of those things we'd never ever get around to doing... it's so fun to have it on our wall already.

Craig & Lindsey's mega cutting board
Is it art, or a cutting board? That's what's so cool about this cutting board. It's totally wall-worthy. We love it, and I doubt that my knives will ever touch it.

Nicky's magnetic knife holder
Speaking of knives, I have to give a big up to my friend Nicky who bit the bullet and bought us one of those "boring" registry items that nobody else would purchase. My tiny kitchen needed this sooooo badly! Whoever invented the magnetic knife holder should win the Albert Einstein World Award of Science for bringing true benefit and wellbeing to mankind. (I think Nicky did win the Albert Einstein Award, in high school!)

Dyan's panini grill inside-barbecue pan thing!
This is by far the nicest gift that we didn't register for. I made grilled teriyaki chicken on this two nights ago. It was really good.

Brian and Mechelle's "Tribute to America" ash tray
Words cannot express how we felt when we unveiled all the glamour of this gift. Brian and Mechelle carefully chose this ashtray (artfully crafted in China), which I believe signifies freedom, Imperialism, the frailty of life, and pot. Truly magificant, and something we'll cherish forever.

Kenny & Joey's canine self portraits
Continuing the long tradition of giving pictures of ourselves to each other for birthdays, showers, and housewarmings, Kenny and Joey topped off their wedding gift with intimate photos of themselves and (some stranger's?) dogs. Very nautical, very Northwest, these snapshots are here to stay. I love the acrylic frames, too!

Christa and Amber's pop art painting by Andrea Heimer
My friends Christa and Amber really pulled out all stops when they commissioned a painting of me and Brian. I never thought I'd be one to hang an original piece of art - of myself - in my home, but I have to admit, this painting is pretty fun, and it really captures Brian at his best: behind the bottle.

Mystery ponies
And last but not least, somebody gave us PONIES IN A FIELD OF GRASS! Who knew that I've always wanted a farm, and Brian has always wanted a pony!?!? Speak up, person who gave this to us. Because your gift was sorely lacking a card.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Senior pictures

This morning we had play time on the deck! Mary Kittleen and Pulgasari were adorable, as usual:
And then there's Peter Jennings.... in true fashion:
Oh, he's such a shitty little cat. (But I love him anyway.)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A lazy weekend, finally

We’ve been back from our honeymoon for over two weeks, but this past weekend was the first that pointed towards the fact that life, post-wedding, is finally getting back to normal.

After we got home from Maui, I spent a good portion of a week getting my life back in order. While we were staying in Maui, somebody must have had a keystroke (or something) installed on the lobby computer where I checked my e-mail, because soon after, I was locked out of my gmail account, and nearly $600 was stolen from me through PayPal. I got the money back, but I’m still clearing up PayPal issues. I know that because I bought these amazing, vintage, faux lace up boots on Ebay a couple days ago and haven’t been able to pay for them yet. (They are, in my opinion, a cuter take on the whole lace up phenomenon):

Anyway, it took the better part of a week. And then there were soooo many gifts to open (I’m not complaining) but that wasn’t even the time consuming part. Then the question was, Where do we put them? We are crammed into a 600 square foot apartment for the time being, so we have to get really creative. I went to Storables with my mom and bought this shelving unit for our kitchen. I’m pretty happy with it; it fits rather perfectly in an awkward little space, and we were able to make it tall enough for a bunch of shelves:

So, I finally feel like my life is more on track and organized. Which brings me back to the weekend part. So this weekend was the first time we woke up one day and were able to look at each other and say, Hey hon, what do you want to do today?

I never knew how much I’d appreciate that precious question!

We had an early afternoon brunch at Hi-Life in Ballard, and then wandered into a couple of good shops: Blackbird and Olivine. Brian of course didn’t find anything (amongst the $500 cotton hoodies? Who would have guessed.) but I found a cute casual tunic by C&C California (thank you, Brian):

It’s really nothing all that special but I’m really paring my clothing decisions down to comfortable, cotton options that aren’t hideous. (I hope I haven’t lowered my expectations too much.) The thing is, because I’ve started my own business, I can do the majority of my work from home in whatever I want. I honestly think this is one of the greatest perks so far. That said, I have to beware that I don’t become a hideous holed up housewife. Therefore, I can justify spending (Brian's) money on a just-okay, comfortable tunic in a color (purple!) that’s supposedly Hot for Fall.