Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween from Robert Palmer and his ladies

Best. Halloween. Ever. Happy Halloween everyone. I've been saving these pictures for today. Matt, Jessica, and myself dressed up last Saturday night. Can you tell what our costume is? Robert Palmer and his supermodel band ladies from the music video, Addicted to Love.

When figuring out what black dresses we'd wear, Matt insisted they be long sleeved like the video, exactly like the video he said. I went to Salvation Army, last minute of course, on Friday and these where the only black long sleeved dresses they had! They were size 16 and 14! I cut them both down to our size. The best part about halloween costumes, no one inspects the seams, so I just haphazardly put darts here and there to make it work. Together, both dresses only cost $3! Jessica brought me a pair of pantyhose, and I purchased hair grease and some stilettos (how on Earth did I not own a pair of black platform high heels?! All my shoes are low heels.). The guitar and bass were borrowed from some friends and we were set. We found Matt a silly wig and a little toy microphone and speaker set, on which we programmed the song. Kids toys are amazing these days! I downloaded an app and synced the MP3 to the toy. Absolutely amazing!

And yes. We even performed on stage. This music venue, Sky City, is where I host all my fashion shows, and we're friends with the owner. He asked us to jump up on stage between bands. It was a hoot! Matt sang along with the song and we pretended to play.

Being silly playing our instruments all night. Unfortunately not many people were dressed up downtown on Saturday. I think there were a lot of Halloween parties at homes that night. But we still had a blast regardless. There were a few bars we walked into, and then right back out, when NO ONE in the entire place was in costume and the stares were too much. They had to just be jealous because we were so cool, right? 

"Are you Sally or Jessica? Not sure if I should kiss you... hmmm..." hehe. Thank goodness Matt could tell us apart. That'd make for an awkward friendship between Matt and Jessica if he slipped up. 

What did you dress up as for Halloween? Or what are you wearing tonight? I'm going to work dressed as a cat. Big surprise, right? I'm excited to paint my face all crazy and wear some cat ears. Happy Halloween, friends!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tuesday Tunes - Death Cab For Cutie - You Are A Tourist and my love for Ben Gibbard

I still remember the first time I ever heard Death Cab for Cutie when I was 16 years old. It was the year 2001, and a guy I knew burned me a mixed CD. It had songs from We Have The Facts And We're Voting Yes, "405" and "Title Track". I loved every bit of it, and the following year I purchased my first actual Death Cab album, You Can Play These Songs With Chords, the local Best Buy actually carried it. Amazon and online retailers weren't very big back then, and iTunes didn't exist either, at least not for me since I only used family computers. It was only CDs back them, and maybe Napster. I eventually fell in love with the photo album, purchasing it in 2002 or 2003, and then became extremely obsessed with The Postal Service. 
My love for Death Cab For Cutie grew even more when I saw them my freshman year of college in the fall of 2003, promoting Transatlanticism. It was in the Michigan State Ballroom at the student union. Maybe 300-500 people were in attendance. I was in love with Ben Gibbard. Omigosh so in love. I've seen them two more times, both concerts at bigger venues.
Even side projects he's done, with Andrew Kenny, All-Time Quarterback, and B-Sides here and there, I'm the biggest fan ever. One of my favorites is a Magnetic Fields cover of the song "Why I Cry" by All-Time Quarterback. I even have the DVD of alternative music videos for Plans, called Directions. Talk about nerding out for Ben Gibbard. Love love love him. 
Finally, Ben Gibbard released his first ever solo album, Former Lives. It's phenomenal! If you haven't had a listen yet, you must go buy it now! The song below features Aimee Mann. Probably my favorite song on the album. I just learned yesterday Matt and I get to go see Ben's solo show next month in Atlanta. YAY! Happy Tuesday everyone. Enjoy some tunes.

Bigger Than Love by Benjamin Gibbard on Grooveshark

Monday, October 29, 2012

Post: 30 day no alcohol challenge

So it's been a little over 30 days since I took on my no alcohol challenge. And now it's time for a post evaluation and some honesty. Honest to blog post. While I'm quite a grump this morning, and a cold is approaching, I've never felt better. Let's break this down.

Allow me to preface this post with the warning that, no, I do not have an alcohol problem. At 27 years old, I am childless, in a healthy committed relationship with a responsible man. Together, we are comfortable, happy, and young. It is so easy, with our lifestyle, income, and age, to spend our discretionary cash going out, enjoying ourselves, and having a good time. Living in Augusta, Georgia, our downtown is very alcohol driven, with 15+ bars in a three block strip of downtown, plus, I'm a bartender part-time.

My favorite photo of my mother and Tom, in an apple orchard in Michigan.
The main reason I wanted to go alcohol free for 30 days, aside from health reasons, and my previous habits, was for my late stepfather. He passed away from an alcohol induced disease a few years ago, and I miss him everyday. He was my second dad, and an amazing person. Well, Tom's birthday was October 1st, and he would have been 60 years old. I know for the rest of my life, that day will always be difficult for me. I wanted to remember and celebrate Tom's birthday without alcohol. The previous two birthdays of his, without him, were numbed by alcohol, and I don't want to do that anymore. He wouldn't be happy to see me celebrating in sadness and drinking. So I've decided every October will be alcohol free in remembrance of Tom.

Mom and Tom's wedding day. About 13 years after they'd been together. Took em long enough ha. He wore his favorite Levi's and a camo shirt. There were only a few of us in attendance and it was perfect.
Starting Tuesday September 25th, I was completely alcohol free for the first 13 days. I bartend part-time  Monday through Friday at a local taproom. Well the second Saturday, Matt and I had had the longest day ever. Working out in the AM, family BBQ all day, worked on Shelby, ran around town, ran errands, and more. We were on our way home, and I was so worn down and in the worst mood. I grumbled at him, "Let's get a bottle of wine and go home and watch a movie." He said, "You sure? Ok." I felt bad knowing that I was breaking my challenge, like I'd be letting Tom and everyone down that knew of my challenge, but sometimes a gal just needs a glass of wine to calm down. My brain is always on overdrive, I'm a workoholic, and I stress out over everything. I just wanted to unwind with a glass of red wine with Matt and head to bed. Crazy little tidbit, that morning at the gym I weighed myself and I had lost 8 pounds in 13 days!

A silly antler thing Tom made, that my mom gave me the last time I was home. I hung it up yesterday as a jewelry display next to my dresser. Not sure if Tom would be happy with my use of his hard work, but I absolutely LOVE IT!
Abstaining for alcohol the next week was no problem. I was seeing the physical results of not drinking. My waist was 26 1/2 inches for the first time in years; well, since Tom passed away and I got scary skinny from grieving, illness, and not eating for a long time. I figured I had lost over 10 pounds. My clothes were fitting so much better, and that layer of fluff all over my body that I didn't even know was there, was gone. I looked leaner and more tone, and I hadn't been working out like I regularly do. It's incredible to realize how fattening alcohol can be, and you never realize until you quit. 

That following Saturday, I had a cocktail at home. Then, I didn't drink the rest of the weekend. Two weeks later I had a few more cocktails with Matt after my trip to Chattanooga for the blogger mixer. Then I went and finished my 30 days just in time for Halloween festivities this past weekend.

And I feel absolutely great. I sleep better. My skin looks better (most people don't realize how much alcohol robs your skin of moisture and causes premature aging), my body is slimmer, my brain quicker. Everything is better! From this point forward, Matt and I have decided to be alcohol free, completely, Monday through Friday. We'll allow ourselves a cocktail or two on weekends. No more liquor in the house. Beer and wine only. Being a football freak, he loves his football and beer time. I miss wine and my favorite, salty dogs (vodka+grapefruit+salted rim).

Overall I think I went down one full size, I lost about 11 pounds, almost 1/2 a cup size, and two inches on my waist! Too bad my feet didn't shrink as well. I'm looking forward to my new version of sobriety and the chance it will give me to have a clearer head, a better business head as well. I can't conquer the fashion world if I'm not giving 200%!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Sewing Notions - Thrift Haul

My favorite thing to thrift is sewing supplies and notions (and cats of course!)! Vintage zippers are the best and make my day when I find a little stash of them hiding at my favorite thrift shop. Last week, I had some luck at a local shop, while I was supposed to only be dropping off a garbage bag in my trunk. I just couldn't help myself. With vintage zippers priced around 75 cents a piece, and most of the time enamel coated metal zippers, they're way better than the plastic ones that are manufactured now. I also found a few promising blouses, slips to dye and rework, and some by the yard fabric!

Am I the only one that absolutely hates shopping at Joann Fabrics?! Unless it's for needles for my machine, or treating myself to a new pair of sewing shears, I have no need to enter that place since all my fabric is second hand. Actually, the only thing I really buy there is elastic, interfacing, and needles, and the few notions I can't find at thrift stores. Plus, at least half of the time, the women are so condescending towards me, like they're master seamstresses or something, and I'm a clueless crafter. I hate that! Plus, zippers at Joann's are at least $2 each! Maybe I'm cheap, but that's a bit too expensive for a zipper. I'd much prefer to find them for 75 cents each and mainly use vintage metal zippers. I'd rather hunt for zippers at thrift stores, knowing my money is staying local, helping out a women's shelter or those in need, than give my hard earned money to a corperation like Joann's. 

And the cats love the smells of everything from the thrift stores! It's like a magnet. I come home and sort out my finds on my island in the kitchen, and the cats are there in no time. Clem loves to sleep on my fabric before it hits the washing machine. 

This pattern!?!! I can't wait to make myself a fun bandeau top! I really want to make a high waisted skirt and matching bustier top.

Causing trouble every chance they get. Clementine and Stella are so silly. I feel like a bad cat mom, since they haven't been too present in recent blog posts. Zeus has been bogarting most photo opps, but they're still very much in my way and a part of my sewing day. Stella's favorite spot lately is behind the small of my back on my office chair while I blog and work on my computer. Do any other cat owners secretly love it when colder weather approaches because it makes for more snuggly cats? I hate the cold but love my sweet girls when it's cold out. It's crazy that at 6 years old, and I've had her since she could fit in my hand, Stella has never been a lap cat. But recently, she is walking across my lap and staying, and letting me hold her for long periods of time. I give it another year and she'll be a brat lap cat like Clementine. 

What do your cats do when you're working? Are they little pests like these girls? I'd love to hear about it! Sewing day again today. Happy Thursday friends!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Shelby Demolition: Day Three
Ripping out walls and planning ahead...

Demolition day was Sunday. Time to rip out rotten walls! I'm so pleased that the demo part of Shelby's renovation is almost complete. It's getting close to the uphill process of beautifying our lovely camper. New readers: Shelby is a 1973 Shasta Compact. Matt and I are turning her from an old camper into a mobile boutique for Sally Ann. We will be construction the interior such that all of the clothing fixtures  are removeable and adjustable, so we'll also be able to take camping on a very basic level, with Matt, Zeus, and I. So far, we've ripped out all the cabinets, beds, gas and electric lines, and kitchen. To back track and catch-up from start to now, click here.

Hello handsome. Matt making a silly face. And the front wall before demo. Notice the nasty ceiling hanging low. All this was removed. The worst part was the insulation. It was so itchy and we still somehow inhaled a little bit of it, making us gag uncontrollably. Gross. 

Using a saw on my dremel to cut into the wall. We had to be careful not to bend the windows when removing the rotten wood walls.

First, we cleared out all the junk we didn't get to throwing away last week, taking her over to our friend's workshop and using his dumpster. Then we got to ripping away the front wall. The window seals were so old and cracked, water seeped in and rotted all the wood. We stripped that all away, very carefully, and next week will rebuild them. Because we are going backwards with the construction process, this will be tricky to rebuild. For instance, when campers were built back then, the wood frame was assembled first, then the aluminum exterior was mounted on top of it. So we can't attach the wood to the aluminum. Instead, we'll use a staple gun at the corners, and liquid nail to hold the supports in place against the aluminum, and then a thin sheet of plywood over the supports, and our beautiful new woods walls on top of that. 

The back wall, before and after. The tail lights wires exposed. Those will have to be rewired before the walls are closed up. Matt is in charge of the exterior lights. I think we may use the original light fixture still attached to the back side, but the wiring needs to be replaced. 

The worst water damage of all came from the sunroof. This needs to be rebuilt and reframed into the ceiling. Half of the ceiling on the front side of the camper was rotten and will also be rebuilt soon.

I'm so excited to share this project with you and all and especially to spend time on it with Matt. May sound a bit chummy, but he's awesome, and we are working so well together. I read somewhere that couples that work out together, stay together longer and have stronger relationships. Well, if we can do this camper restoration together, as well as working out at the gym, sharing out passions and lives with each other, I think we're pretty much unstoppable. Yay for Matt! 

Do any of you have dreams of someday owning an old camper? Tell me about it!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Southern Blogger Mixer

This past weekend, Sunshine and I traveled to Chattanooga, Tennessee for a blogger mixer, to meet up with some southern blogger ladies, talk shop, and have a nice little time together. I met some great women: BecaDanielleHilleryBethAmyMary and Amanda. Beca and Danielle hosted, with an amazing spread of food (check out Beca's blog for more on the food).

We also made little terrariums in glass bulbs. Great for me since I have a black thumb and kill every plant I touch! With a little dirt and moisture, moss and other lives things, there terrariums will flourish with sunlight and just being there. No work or watering required. Awesome. (I kill everything, although my cat nip plant has lasted a few weeks. Fingers crossed. Matt may be secretly watering it.).

Start with dirt and use sticks to push the moss and other things inside. Amy and Hillery, above, are hard at work. 

Hooray you will not die on my watch. It's so pretty and is currently hanging in my kitchen.

Beca with her terrarium. Thanks so much for the great event, Beca! She and Danielle put together goodie bags for all of us, and they were so great. Full of 45s from a Tennessee recording studio, pie pops, pistachio brittle, and a Danielle gave everyone a 2013 calendar from Dinosaur Toes. Tonight's plans are tea and records with Matt. I can't wait to have a listen.

My partner-in-crime for the day, Sunshine. We both live in Augusta and made the trek together. Can you believe we met through blogging?! A common friend introduced her to my blog and we became online friends, then finally met in person about a year ago. She's great. 

Why a blogger mixer you ask? I had the same question presented to me when telling people about my Saturday plans. There were confused. Well as a blogger, I am in my own little world 90% of my day, communicating with colleagues and "friends" through email and comments. There are no real 'rules' to this online community of sharing our passions, professions, and lives, so this little event served as a way to meet other in our region, that share so much, and also so little in what we all do. 

I loved that the only thing we all had in common was blogging. Beca makes sunglasses, Danielle jewelry, Beth blogs about recipes and Tennessee, Amy makes pretty things, Hillery creates hair accessories, Steph (Sunshine) blogs about film and television and her awesome dogs Mulder and Scully, and other ladies blog about their work. I'd love to host another one of these in Augusta, although I don't know how many bloggers in the area would make the hike to our little city.

Did you know that Sunshine is also my 'graphic designer'? She created my lovely banner and buttons, and revamped my blog for me a while back. We had the best car ride, listening to sweet tunes, and chatting about life.

And Chattanooga was such a sweet little city. Up in the mountains, fresh air, clean streets, and beautiful in every way. I can't wait to drag Matt back for a fun weekend sometime in the future. Maybe we'll bring Zeus along, toting Shelby as well for some camping and adventures along the foothills of the mountains.

Hope you all have a great productive Monday! I'm busy busy all day, sewing and meetings and errands. Also have to make time to research some electrical stuff for Shelby. Tomorrow's post will be out day three demolition and the start of rebuilding! 

Friday, October 19, 2012

A walk on the levee

Morning walks with Zeus are the best, especially with this lovely fall weather! I love forcing myself to get out of the house bright and early, coffee in hand, Zeus in the other. This morning we drove down to the river and went for a walk along the levee and River Walk.

One of my favorite things in Augusta, the Savannah River. Not enough people in our city take advantage of this beautiful place and all it has to offer. It's only a block from our downtown, and the state line separating Georgia and South Carolina. I take Zeus for a swim in the river at least once a week, he loves it! The Lab in him loves to swim until he's about to fall over.

He was crying like a little baby for the few minutes we took pictures because poor Zeus couldn't run up and down the steps of the amphitheater... such a spoiled boy. I still love the tranquil look of our photo above, regardless of his restlessness. For his good behavior I took him swimming a few blocks down at the boat launch, and for a nice long walk.

After telling him, "Up" Zeus normally jumps up and gives me his hands, we hug, and it makes for a silly picture. Well, this time, Zeus caught the bottom of my skirt on the way up and gave a nearby jogger man a quick show of what I had under my skirt. Thanks, Zeus. Thank goodness the picture didn't catch it, but it makes for a funny photo. 

Whew, I can't believe it's Friday already? Ugh, already! Every week flies by quicker than the last, and I feel like I haven't accomplished much at all. I look at a calendar, see how close my next show is, and want to put my head in the oven! It's going to be here before I know it. And then, I had a rough week dealing with car repairs, work chaos, organizational meltdowns, and the regular ADD bouts. I am kicking myself into full work mode today, finishing up all my "to-do's", or else! Next week, Matt is helping me buckle down and practice some time saving exercises, and disciplining myself a bit more. Working from home is difficult for someone (ME) who is easily distrated. "Oh look, a cat!" is generally the easiest way for me to get off task. Gah, I'm rambling.... anyways... At least today is a beautiful day.

And the best part about morning walks and swims with Zeus, he'll sleep for a good three hours, allowing me to get some work done sans doggy nudges.

Happy Friday, friends! I'm off to Chattanooga tomorrow for Beca from Tales of a Tumbleweed's Southern Blogger Mixer. I can't wait to meet everyone! I'm finishing up some goodies I'm contributing to the gift bags before lunchtime, and then sewing my heart away until 4pm, when I head to work.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Shelby Demolition, Day Two

We missed demolition weekend before last, but we made time all day Sunday to carefully finish gutting Shelby's interior. We finished removing the kitchen, fridge, stove, sink, and cabinets, and all the pipes. We also cut all the propane lines from the camper, as we won't be needing them for the finished project. 

Strong Matt. Mr. Muscles I was calling him all day. We took turns with the tools, cutting things out with a hand saw, removing them with a circular saw, and screwdrivers. Sadly, we found more water damage, which means more walls that have to be ripped out and repaired. At least now we know we'll have to seal up all of the windows. Playing it safe.

Yay, ripping out the rotten ceiling. We didn't finish ripping all this out since we need protective eyewear, face masks, and a hat for me. That insulation is itchy!

We ripped out the propane powered fridge, had to remove the door to get it out of the camper. Propane fridges are apparently quite sought after, since they rarely break because they have no real moving parts in them. Behind our fridge was an access panel where we found all kinds of metal shavings from animals, mouse nests, bird nests, and ever a wasp's nest! I don't think we'll be needing a fridge much in the boutique and if we take her camping, we'll bring a cooler. More space and less worries about building it a new shelf.

Hooray! Look It's almost empty! Where I'm standing was the water closet / wardrobe. We drew out the new floor plan after we finished demo. It's so exciting that we'll be starting from scratch with the 12' x 7 1/2' space. The only restrictions are the wheel wells and the ceiling gets a little lower in the back of the camper.

After we finished all the demo, we realized we had more trash than expected, and couldn't fill up our trash bins at the house. So everything went back in the camper, where it will be thrown into a dumpster later this week when we get her back on the road. This week has been so nuts with work for both of us, but there's no rush in emptying her since the next steps in demo are ripping out the water damage, and putting up new supports on the walls and ceiling, then sealing up all the windows and seams, and then the terrible process of running new electrical. Luckily we figured out where all the outlets will be, and we plan to buy some solar panels. As long as the electrical wires are laid out properly, we shouldn't have a problem.

 I love days when I don't have to do my hair or makeup and we can just mess around the house. I'm so glad our backyard is big enough, and the weather cool enough to work on this project. Matt and I bicker while working all the time, I think I get a little too bossy and "know-it-all" and I'm sure he gets really sick of me. I can't imagine how my parents built a house together. I've found that as long as when we're done arguing about something, we laugh and realize it doesn't actually matter, we'll make it through this. Thank god Matt is patient!

And of course our supervisor, Zeus. Look at this mutt pouting like he's in hell. He got to sit out side all day and hang out with us. I even broke the rules and playing tug-o-war with him. A game he's not allowed to play since once you start, he never stops, and no one likes a soggy dog toy pushed on them all day. Silly boy.

More soon! Next I'll show you the floor plans and weigh my options of solar panels and trickle powered batteries. I can't wait to have Shelby all finished, and a truly independent mobile boutique!