January 27, 2012

in awe. and jealous.

If I could have any artistic skill, I would choose this one. I know that I'm not talented/patient enough to actually design typefaces, but if I could use them to create beautiful typographical art, I would be on cloud nine. Isn't letterpress just so intricate and gorgeous? I'm so impressed with the quality of work when done well. Maybe I'll take a class someday.

This video was featured on an awesome design site called Quipsologies. They are on the prowl for great new things in the field of design and publish findings from readers. You should check it out!

January 26, 2012

fun facts & blogger games

Work has been so work-ish lately. Usually things are very sit-and-veg-in-front-of-the-computer-ish, but not the past week and a half. It's been so swamped. How dare work keep me from my blogging and emailing? The nerve.

But it's starting to slow down a little so I've finally had to participate in the fun! This has been floating around the blogosphere for a bit, so now it's my turn - here's my "11 things" blogger friend questionnaire game!

Well that was fun :) Sorry it's taken me ages!
My questions for Tiffany and Stevie if they're up for the task are:

1. If you could have any skill or trait that you don't already have, what would it be?
2. What color most closely resembles your personality and why?
3. What was the best part of your week so far?
4. What's the most important lesson you've learned in the last six months?
5. If you could have the musical style and career of any musician, who would it be?
6. What's your most hated chore?
7. Describe your dream home.
8. What are you most afraid of?
9. Do you snore, sleep walk, or talk in your sleep?
10. What's your most notable quirk?
11. Where do you hope to be in five years?

January 19, 2012

it's finally time to resolve.

Where on earth have I been?! Well. Such is life when you work at a college and the students return to campus for spring semester. Work this week has been utter MAYHEM. Welcome back friends, but I kind of would like you to go away now... I have a headache. 

So thanks for excusing my absence, but I may be a little sporadic for a while as the dust settles with work. In the meantime, here's my very delayed hopes and dreams for

I'm a bit slow on the uptake, but it's because I've just been thinking long and hard about what my 2012 resolutions will be! It's not because I'm a slacker, it's actually because I'm more thorough than those hasty January 1st resolvers. ;)

I'm really super-pumped about 2012 and you're about to find out why. I think we're totally on the up and up here. For me, 2010 was kind of sucky and 2011 was a little better (ie: got hitched to the most fabulous man - but besides that, average), so my hypothesis is that 2012 is going to be huge.

I will establish some specific resolutions, but this will mostly be a list of things to do/things we already know we're going to do. So bear with this totally stream of consciousness list of resolutions.

1. I will join an exercise class at the gym. Probably Pilates two days a week. It's time to get this booty in shape.

2. My hub will finish school, and we will be free birds my friends. Free free free. The world is our oyster.

3. With that all wrapped up, we will move to Pennsylvania. This is the biggest element of our year! We are SO looking forward to a change of scenery and to be closer to his family for a while. This means a new home, new jobs, new friends. While I love life here near my family and close friends, everyone needs a change once in a while and this is the light at the end of my tunnel. Betsy, here I come! You and me, everyday. Or week. Whatever.

4. In Pennsylvania, I will work somewhere that is not behind a desk and my life will greatly improve.

5. When we live in Pennsylvania, we'll plant an organic garden because we'll have lots of space and time to do it! I'm so pumped to learn about all of that and not pay for produce! Can you see me as a farmer? I think I can rock it.

6. This August, Will and I will most likely lead a twelve day wilderness expedition for incoming college students with Gordon's La Vida. Yay for being in the woods for two weeks with 17 and 18 year olds! We're so excited.

7. Along with that, I'll be getting my Wilderness Advanced First Aid certification in June.

8. We're attending a ton of weddings this summer but numero uno is my best friend's wedding on July 22nd, in which I will be the matron of honor. That's a gross title, does anyone else agree? Can I be a "maid" for a day?

9. Our Australian family is coming to visit for two weeks in July and it will be a. ma. zing. Can't wait!

10. I think I'm going to try and take a class this summer. Not sure in what yet, but I'll see what there is at local colleges by way of web design and/or graphic design. It's time to improve on my hard skills for the ol' resume.

So that's what the future holds and I'm terribly excited! Is it May yet?

January 12, 2012


I'm not a photographer at all. I've always said that I didn't really have an interest in learning because I feel like everyone and their mom is all, "yeah, I'm into photography" and I think "sure you are." Not to be rude, but we can't all be photographers. Some people have definitely got it and some people don't. If you want to learn a new hobby, that's fine, but I can't help but think that so many people want to learn photography just to be "artsy" and cool.

And I admit that I'm not a photographer in the slightest, but I found myself playing around on Saturday morning just to see how it worked. My hub gave me some lessons on shooting in manual and it was definitely tricky and took a lot of time.

Here are some of my experimentation shots from around the house as I was tinkering with adjusting everything on manual. There are also some things I've been meaning to show some friends, so this is for them. Don't judge, because I'm not claiming to be talented, or artsy, or cool.  ;)

{inspired by this}
Some art I made my hub for Christmas - see my reflection with my father-in-law above :)
{inspired by various things on Etsy}

This is a gem I found at a yard sale. Best 5 bucks I've ever spent.
A friend of ours gave us two of those mason jars as a "wedding present" because he knows me so well, so I filled them with the most perfect pine cones as Christmas decor by our kitchen sink.
And that green bottle is from my brother's amazing home-made beer. 
It's a wonderful life being related to a gourmet chef.

I made two spice racks out of wooden pallets (so many uses for those!) 
and there's our Russian nesting doll measuring cups :)

Above you'll see my favorite place in all the land.
(The three windows above our bed overlook the ocean, where the sun rises. I know, it's a hard life.)

 Look who's still kickin' around! I adore the tree and won't get rid of him before his time.

The end.
Thanks for tolerating my tinkerings. I was half impressed with myself since it was so tricky!
But don't worry - I'm not a budding photographer like the rest of the world.
Real photographers, how did I do?

January 11, 2012

be good at making less.

Okay, so they say that no one really likes talking about money. I guess it makes people squirrely and awkward. But I don't really mind it! I think it's because I look at the financial world as a big game that you have to beat - and I like to think that I'm relatively good at it. It's less awkward to talk about when you feel like you're winning the game.

So how are you even supposed to remotely win with this economy? Isn't everyone unemployed and/or in debt up to their eyeballs?

Well... possibly. I know that might be the situation of many people, but here are some tips for everyone that will help.

I think that it really depends on your expectations for life. If you aspire to be driving your Mercedes when you pull into your three-car garage at your beautiful five bedroom home, then yeah, this might be difficult. But ask yourself - Where do my values lie? What's most important? I think it's most important to play well and try to win the game.

I found myself in the extremely blessed situation to have a large-total-gift-from-God scholarship that covered the majority of my tuition expenses. I know it's not the norm, but I was able to pay off my remaining loan debt with money from savings and experience a level of true financial freedom. Sallie's not hanging over my head, and I understand that this is really only by the grace of God.

But how much do I make now? Here's a hint: It's less than you do. 30k? Lower. Yep. And people gripe about that, but here's more personal dirt: my salary supports two people right now. Yikes. I've heard people making more than me complain that they need a second job to get by. Well if you want to shop at that rate, then yes, yes you do. I know that I don't have loan debt, but I also don't split rent with a roommate or two or three. Or live at home with my parents. It kind of evens out that way.

So how's it done? Why am I not on food stamps or on the streets?! I'll share some things that help us do more than just get by.

1. Minimalism pays off big time. My husband and I don't have a ton of stuff, but the stuff we have we really like. How much stuff around your house doesn't get used? Want to know what we've made by selling stuff in the last six months alone?

Craigslist: about $1,225 (and hopefully another $250 sale tonight)
Half.com (books on Ebay): $155

Yeah. Tell me about it. Pretty dang sweet.

2. Thrifty is nifty. I spent $26 at my favorite thrift store after Christmas and got a sweater, a long sleeve shirt, an AMAZING leather messenger bag, and these pants.

{via J.Crew}
I got these J.Crew pants (in pink) for $6.99. $6.99! I felt like such a champ. These are $80 pants and they still had the tags on them when I bought them! Thrifting isn't gross, it's about finding the right places and being picky. You can get some pretty unique pieces and spend merely pennies. I get the most compliments on the clothes I get secondhand - probably because they haven't been seen a ton before! Not only is thrifting totally inexpensive, but it's a greener way to consume - buying secondhand uses fewer resources and keeps waste out of landfills. Love the planet, love your wallet.

3. Get creative. If you're a reader, you may know that we just dog-sat over the holidays as a local wealthy family was traveling. We absolutely fell in love with this pup and it was heart-wrenching to give him back. So two weeks spent with this wonderful pooch that was hardly any work for us and lots of snuggling - $400 in the bank. It helps that I work at a college so I have resources at my fingertips where people post jobs like this, but it's time to start thinking outside the box! There's more money to be made than just the 9 to 5.

4. Mint to the rescue! Mint.com is a fabulous resource. It's a money managing website that is totally safe, makes a lot of sense, and looks like it was designed by Steve Jobs. It's beautiful, not at all scary. You can set established budgets (like the ever-humbling coffee shop budget), set savings goals, and look at tons of charts and graphs to map your spend. It definitely helps you obey the adage to "spend less than you make."

5. Yes, you can still eat out. Enter Restaurant.com. The day after Christmas, we got four $25 gift cards to different area restaurants on this site for just $6. And with that, we also got a $25 gift card to Restaurant.com, to be used for buying more mega-cheap gift cards later. That's $100 worth of food, and $25 towards more of that - for $6. Mhmm, you can still live a normal life and eat out.

6. Prioritize giving. Even when it's hard, Christians are called to be cheerful givers. If this applies to you, this means giving your (minimum) 10% to your regular church body or to ministries to support God's kingdom here on Earth - with a smile on your face and in your heart. If this doesn't apply to you, then it's still good to be a giver. It helps keep perspective about what's important in life. I've been supporting the same darling little girl in Ethiopia through Compassion International since 2005, and we've written many letters and built a relationship. It's so wild to watch her grow and know that a lot of it is due to my prayers and financial support. And if you're still not convinced - well, it's a good deed and a tax write off. Find ways to give to others.

7. Set goals and actually do them. This might sound cheesy, but it's true. How frequently do people say, "oh, I would love to travel some day!" Okay... then why don't you? Pick where you'd like to go, estimate how much it would cost, cut back on some unnecessary Starbucks spending and start re-channeling that money into a specific savings account for your trip. It might take some time, but watch the savings grow and get excited.

It's all just a big game of what stays and what goes, and you can beat the system if you're disciplined.
Now I'll leave you with some words of wisdom...

"Cannot people realize how large an income is thrift?" - Cicero
"I am always amazed to see just how many things there are that I don't need." - Socrates

Preach it, bros. Can't mess with those two.
Want more ways to save? Check out this book!

What are your money-saving tips? I'm obviously always eager to hear of new ways to save :)

January 10, 2012


This weekend, I had two very important reunions.

1. Have you read this book?

No, seriously. Have you read this book.
If you have, it was most likely in 5th or 6th grade. And if not, then why the heck not? 
I don't know if we can be friends if you haven't read this book.

Just kidding.
But it's amazing.
It's a Newbury Medal winner for crying out loud! 

And she's a Boston author! Cambridge, MA, what what.

Don't mock that it's for like 7-12 year olds, because this is a mega-intense book. 
No joke. Waaay deeper than a seven-year-old.
Actually, we gifted this to our six-year-old nephew for Christmas and that may have been premature.

But I decided it was time for a re-read and it only took a few hours. It's only 180 pages long but it's so worthwhile. My love is renewed. Do yourself a favor and take this stroll down memory lane. 
No pun intended. 
Didn't get the pun? 
Then you should read the freaking book.

2. I used to play the saxophone. 
I played nearly every day for nine years and then there was college.
And I was scared to try out for the jazz ensemble because there were college boys who played the sax. 
And they were scary good.

So that was that, and I'm mad that I was a big fat baby because I totally could have played with them. 
But as a gift to my father-in-law this weekend (who loves the jazz like I do), I busted her out and played.
For the first time in four years.

But it was so wonderful. It was like being reunited with an old friend.
An old dirty friend who hasn't bathed in four years but you love her anyway.
I think that I'd like to spend more time with her again. Another love renewed.

In conclusion: your homework assignments are to read The Giver and listen to John Coltrane.

Class dismissed.

January 9, 2012

first time for everything

My in-laws are visiting us for a week from Philadelphia, and on Saturday, Will and I gave his dad a taste of what we like to do! Will grew up playing outside with his dad, but as Will grew older, his interests expanded into more particular outdoor adventuring that Dad wasn't privy to. 
So it's not every day that you can coerce one of your parents into rappelling and rock climbing. I told my parents that they were next ;)  {and I mean it!} It was a pretty mild day for January (50 degrees!) but the rock always makes you feel so much colder. I was freezing my little appendages off by the end, but I'm so glad we went.

Red Rock, Gloucester, MA
 He was nervous at first, but then he rappelled like a pro :)
"I'm alive!"
Will tying Dad in to give climbing a try. Wearing his wife's harness because we only have two. 
How pretty :)

"You expect me to do what now?"

But look at him! Like a natural!

And this one comes home with me, folks. I win. Look how attractive he is.

Aaaand distracted again. It's bright and pretty. We love our rope.
Meanwhile, Dad totally rocked it. Pardon my pun - too good to pass up.
Dad did such an awesome job and was in shock at his accomplishments! 
This is why we love outdoor education.

Oh, and this. This happens sometimes.

Hope you all had enjoyably restful weekends!

January 6, 2012

10 tips for sanity at your boring job.

Inspired by... well, my boring job, here's my advice for those locked in to a desk and computer all day. This is primarily for those who don't have loads of important tasks piling up. Enjoy!

1. Start a blog. If you're reading this, there's a high likelihood that this is something you're already doing. Go ahead. Reward yourself with at least one creative outlet in your day. Make a "you" space! Blogger.com can set you free.

2. Healthy snacks. A lot of times I feel really bored because I'm tired, and I've realized that the more I snack throughout the day the more alert I feel. So obviously you can't choose Skittles and chips every day because your waistline would hate you, but it also won't give you the energy you're hoping for. On my menu today was oatmeal with blueberries, dark chocolate dusted almonds, banana chips and peanut butter, yogurt covered pretzels and a big yummy chai tea. It helps hunger, boredom, and gives you something to do with your hands besides needlessly surfing the web. Pack ahead and it will keep you healthier and wealthier (avoid the vending machine rip off).

3. Get a space heater. Okay so it can't speed up time, but it will certainly make you feel cozier, creating the clever illusion that you are actually home snuggling with your husband. Alright, not quite that good, but I'm warm and it's a vast improvement.

4. The three P's. Pandora, Pinterest and Polyvore. You gotta have good tunes to motivate you and a reliable procrastination tool or two. Done.

5. Catch up on emails. We've all got 'em. They sit there and intimidate us with their length, but if you set small goals then you can chip away at them slowly. Sorry to my friends who I keep waiting too long. I scare easily.

6. Fling rubber bands at your boss. Careful here. Use your judgement. Only for certain times of day or moods, but be on the lookout because it's an opportunity for a battle you don't want to miss.

7. Talk to your boss about sports. Or insert his/her topic of peak interest here. If you've done the appropriate research, this could result in 15 minutes of the coveted human interaction of a desk job, and also time not spent staring at a computer. The subject matter may also get him riled up and maybe tip #6 can be applied later in the day due to the excitement and potential rivalries created.

8. Meet friends for lunch. You need to have something to look forward to! Especially since human interaction is probably minimal at your desk, like I said in tip #7. Today I'm meeting with the same friend for the second day in a row. How lucky am I?! Also, I take lunch at 1PM instead of noon so that when I get back at 2, the afternoon literally flies by. A good tactic if you have that flexibility and have your healthy snacks on hand.

9. Hydrate. I feel like it's all inter-related: boredom masquerades as hunger and hunger masquerades as thirst. If you feel bored you might be hungry, but first, check if you're thirsty. Dieticians say that a good way to lose weight is always drinking a fair bit of water before reaching for a snack. A lot of times, this will fulfill the craving that you thought you had. And if you keep it up at a good pace, this will also fill your bladder giving you an opportunity to leave your desk. Double win.

10. Plan "standing" time. During the summer, our office is usually filled with that starchy cold air conditioner air, and I feel like I can't even wear a skirt to work because it's so cold. So my supervisor and I, the nature-lovers that we are, alternate taking walks outside. She'd go for a few laps and I'd go when she returned and we were both better for it and more "productive" (like on those emails I mentioned) when we returned. It's a bit harder in the winter so we've joked about an office calisthenics routine to get everybody moving. What can I say - we're really the office cheerleaders. "We can do this people! Only 40 more minutes til quittin' time!" I recently read in Fitness Magazine that it's very hard to undo the damage done at a desk job in a typical evening workout session. It's so deadly to be on your behind on day! Our plans during the winter are to run more errands instead of using departmental mail, send fewer emails and deliver messages on foot, office stretches, and hydrate more to lead to pee breaks. We're accepting more ideas.

And if none of these seem to help your dismal situation, there's secret tip #11, if you dare - find a new job.


Happy Friday!

January 5, 2012

sometimes it's fun to be a faker.

Even though I have a fair bit of real ink, it's definitely nice to have something with a little less commitment involved. And how many temporary tattoos have you seen that aren't of like Spiderman or your school mascot? Yeah, not many.

But enter Tattly and the temporary tat scene gets blown wiiiide open! I've see website before, but I just saw this tat the other day and fawned over it.
Ummm, hi, two of my favorite things coming together in perfect harmony! Meet, the typebike. I would totally rock this for a while. Or go without showering for a while so I could rock it longer. Don't judge.

Any real ink that you regret? Or real ink that you're hesitating to get?

January 4, 2012


Aren't we all supposed to be floating around in hovercrafts by now? I feel a little mislead...

Happy New Year friends! What an incredibly long blog break I took! Sorry to those who kept checking back to find nada, but it was so joyous to be without the internet for that long. But alas, I'm back at work and the booty I spent time toning over break will quickly return to administrative mush.

Did you all have a good Christmas? I hope it was fabulous! I know that ours was. It was so incredibly relaxing to just spend time together at home and stay in pjs all day. I'm easy to please. We made cinnamon rolls for breakfast, had cocoa, opened presents, made our delicious roast chicken feast for two, played Scrabble, watched Elf... it was such a relaxing day. No need to travel or entertain, just enjoyed the day and contemplated our Savior's birth. Did anyone start any new traditions or have any awesome tried and true ones? We're accepting ideas :)

Will gave me so many thoughtful and creative gifts too! I got some things I asked for, like 500 Days of Summer, but he also picked out some great things I never would have thought of. He made a light fixture like these ones on Design Sponge because he knew I loved them, and he got me these bad boys because, well, you know...

Let's just take a moment to applaud my hub for knowing his wife well enough 
to get her playing cards designed with the most beautiful font on this planet.
{standing ovation}

Thank you dear, they are gorgeous.

He's just so clever and creative. And I also made some artwork for him! I needed to stay up til 2AM the night before because I'm a major slacker, but they were a hit. I'll take some shots of them and showcase them soon.

So after a week of vegging with the hub and the dog, watching movies, watching maybe a little too much of The Twilight Zone marathon, playing five games of Scrabble, two games of Yahtzee and eating WAY too much junk food, we've made it successfully into 2012. It's time to turn over the leaf of gluttony and get into healthy practices again!

Will and I don't have any super concrete 2012 goals yet, but I'm working on some in my little cranium - another game we should have played over break. I'll update soon with some 2012 goals, but for now, here are some good ones to get the goal-juices flowing...


I concur.
Do you have any new year's goals that you're particularly excited about?
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