About Me

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I'm a Great Northwesterner that is now loving life in the Midwest. I am a world class napper. I'm very bossy. I clearly love a good glass of Scotch. I wear aprons every chance I get.

Friday, December 28, 2012

35 by 35

At some point in the last few months I realized that I had all these ideas of things I wanted to do - or at least say that I had TRIED to do - but they were just ideas floating around.  Loving lists the way that I do, I assembled my 35 by 35 list. So, dear friends and random interwebbers, I present to you 35 things that I want to do before I turn 35.  I have a handy countdown on my phone that tells me I have 586 days to attempt and accomplish the following:

1 . help someone on the side of the road
2 . go on a Disney cruise
3 . see a Broadway show
4 . shop at J.Crew for a dress
5 . watch a Harry Potter marathon
6 . spend a day with a Vespa, seeing and exploring
7 . complete the Warrior Dash
8 . go on a picnic in a park
9 . have my hair in a beehive hairdo
10 . attend an event wearing a fabulous big hat
11 . take a tour of the Art Institute of Chicago
12 . attend high tea at The Drake
13 . confidently roller skate for 15 minutes
14 . learn to play the ukulele
15 . go 21 days without complaining
16 . learn 3 hymns on the piano
17 . learn to french braid hair
18 . attend a TED event
19 . get better at applying eyeliner and mascara
20 . learn to play the cello
21 . memorize 50 scriptures
22 . fill in 10 more names in my family history
23 . finish my Master's degree
24 . build and enjoy a giant slip'n'slide
25 . make a good lemon meringue pie
26 . have an "underground" dining experience
27 . ride a zip line
28 . spend a whole day reading
29 . buy groceries for someone in need
30 . go Zorbing
31 . learn to make 5 different balloon animals
32 . work on a Habitat for Humanity home
33 . successfully make Plain Cookies 
34 . learn 3 slight of hand magic tricks
35 . participate in The Color Run/Walk

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Ice Lanterns...et al.

There are going to be more blog posts coming.  There's all kinds of random stuff I've been saving until I had the time to sit down and check spelling and make sure links worked - and - now...the time has arrived.  Be prepared for stuff like this:

Aren't these lovely?!  Wouldn't you just gasp if you arrived at a soiree and these lined the walk? Yes, you would.  Don't lie.  Learn how to make your own here from Susan of Oh My! Creative


Have you ever played Silent Football?  One summer, while working at Camp Namanu, Spam taught us all how to play and on dark days, it STILL makes me laugh.  Customary tip of the hat!  Customary SWOOP!


 I just love this.  The quote is from Elsie de Wolfe

I know you've just been waiting around - wondering when you'll have a whole bunch of random things to look at.  More is on the way.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

People don’t like to change,
but like to have changed.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Discounts - via Consumerist


[Photograph: via Reddit]

At Texas-based burger mini-chain Twisted Root Burger Company (AHT review) you can get a few cents off your order if your server thinks you look hot. Reddit user caraficionado24 posted this photo of a receipt from Twisted Root featuring 2¢ discounts for "Best Butt" and "Best Looking." Eater confirmed with Twisted Root that "there are 20 or so set goofy discounts in the computer that servers can give out," including the ones above. Discounts based on attractiveness: funny or creepy?

[via Consumerist]

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Good morning, Campers!

With all my love, from Camp Northstar.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Does this look dangerous to you?

Most of you know that I drive a very basic model Ford Focus. The Silver Bullet doesn't turn any heads but I still love her. The air conditioning works well and it has a great stereo. And these are the most important features, right?

Lately I've gotten some comments on the ghetto cable being used to connect my phone to the stereo. The ends have duct (not electrical) tape securing the frayed wires to the connector ends.  I felt that the arts and crafts time was well spent here.  But, still, the comments and questions about the cable.  And my typical response has been, "No, I'm pretty sure you won't get electrocuted..." but I always watch for signs of shock just to be a responsive citizen.

But shame and personal safety are good motivators.  So, don't worry - I got a new cord.

From the Reader feed....

How do you not love this shower curtain?  ThomasPaul’s website also features yellow puffer fish pillows, charcoal throws featuring silk screened thoroughbreds, limited edition bandanas decorated with portraits of admirals.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A project for the office...

I have to think that a person with serious crafting skillz could make one of these
 The colors are a little 3-2-1 Contact for my taste, but buying one might be easier...

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Negative Space

Seriously, how clever can people be?!  I love these posters.  The website says, "NovelPoster celebrates the art of language by using the body of a text to create striking poster designs. For the literati and pop-culture lovers alike, these fully legible designs celebrate towering achievements."  You can get the whole story and artwork! 

Fome fun things for your desk...

It has been a while since I created a post of stuff that I saw and it just made me smile...so here you go!
I'm not sure why a straight, non-bendy power cord wouldn't do, but once you see this, the standard power strip really looks so lame and blah. 
It's crazy to think that there are people in this world who don't remember checking out library books with these cards.  The nerd in me actually made a noise when I saw that you could just buy these cards.  I thought sure you had to show your librarian badge to get your hands on these babies.  Booyah.

A personal embosser.  Now, I don't know how often I would use this, but I guess once you have a personal seal, you create occasions to use it.  So yeah - personal seal: treat yo'self!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

This way lies madness...

OK people, listen up.  Here is where we talk for a moment about the details in life.  I feel that the details are important.  I think this is why I love Disneyland so much, because the overall picture is awesome, but a closer look reveals thoughtful details that make a rich and full experience.  I love details and thoughtfulness.  BUT there is a point where the "details" become crazy talk.

I follow a blog called One Charming Party, and I often replicate their ideas for parties or events.  And often their suggestions are rational and sometimes their decor or staging requires a little extra effort, but nothing like this:

Make your own popcorn box.  Make your OWN POPCORN BOX?!  Come on.  FIRST, how many people are really hosting an elaborate movie night?  SECOND, movie night is mostly with your family, right?  So, when did a normal bowl become passe?  THIRD, "they" sell packages of adorable popcorn boxes for like, a DOLLAR, so even if you do want your at home movie night to be fancy - do you really need to spend several hours cutting and assembling popcorn boxes that no one will care about once the popcorn is gone?!  Time is money, friends. 

Remember, I am PRO details and fancy fun do-dahs that will make people feel special because someone thought about them and is willing to expend effort on their behalf.  But with the advent of Pinterest and tradition of providing a goody bag for playing in a soccer game, we are going too far.  Expectations need to be reasonable, and I, for one, am calling for a "WHOA, NELLIE!"  Who's with me? 


If you know my mother, you know that laundry is something about which she has very passionate feelings.  I was trained in a very strict and regimented school of doing laundry.  To my mother's credit - her clothes have lasted for YEARS due to her fastidious clothes cleaning program.  But there is a slight mania to her method, and I try to find the balance in not washing each clothing item by itself and letting them hang to dry, while being true to my roots and upbringing.

I found out about The Laundress, no surprise, from my mother.  It is with more glee than I can convey that I introduce you to the tools and detergents of these women.  I wish it was practical to spend the kind of money on laundry soaps when doing laundry for 8 people. One day, one day...

Monday, July 9, 2012

Cute vs. Practical

Browsing along the interwebs I came across this cute tutorial:
Elsie over at A Beautiful Mess shows us how to super-cutify old suitcases.  And I'm way on board with that.  Except that what exactly are people doing with a super cute suitcase?  She suggests using them to store clothes in the off season, which kind of reminds me of getting a tattoo on the back of their thigh.  Why go to the trouble if you're never really going to see it?

Here's my final verdict: hooray for an adorable project and delightful up-cycle.  But to what end? Perhaps I'm just apathetic in the summer heat.  Go make something.  Or don't.  But if you do - make it cute!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Party like a pro

Have you ever been hosting a party or event, and had to get cake and ice cream served up in a hurry?  Some people are born with a gift to cut cake perfectly or serve ice cream without a huge mess.  After these hints from Real Simple to cut both round and sheet cakes, as well as how to be prepped and ready for the crucial moment when everyone wants their cake and ice cream, you'll be a pro, too!

Reading books...

Over the last couple of years I've had a shift in my reading habits.  I still love going to the library. But,  now that I have a considerable commute each day, I go through a LOT of audio books.  Some are on CD, some are from iTunes, but either way - I "read" a lot in the car.  And here's my question - can I really say, "I read that book!" - when really I listened to someone else tell me that story?  This is a dilemma. Don't get me wrong, I read from actual books, too, or from my Kindle app, but really - I am much more likely to fall asleep than to sit and read more than 12 pages.

Another dilemma I face on a regular basis is what to read NEXT.  This is where a couple of my favorite websites really come in handy.

Social networking for word nerds, yes, but it also allows me to keep track of what I've read, and what I WANT to read in the future.  If someone makes a recommendation I will not remember that title or author when I'm at the library, I promise.  But this allows me to keep a running list and share with friends the books we're reading (or listening to someone else read...)

While you can get a lot of suggestions from Goodreads, YourNextRead allows you to enter the title of a book you like and then it creates a web of similar titles.  So - if you're looking for another funny novel, it'll give you suggestions of just that.  Goodreads suggestions are more based on books that folks like.  Just liking and rating a book doesn't tell me much about books that are similar to each other.  YourNextRead is also a very fun and pretty website. And I sure do love pretty things.

Please do enjoy...

Very patriotic

Just before the MalleyCats left on their vacation, I made this patriotic dress for my favorite little sparkler. Just thought I'd share.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Cakespy: Grilled Pound Cake

Friends -
I am in no way a cook or chef or baker or food-maker-friend.  I am none of those things.  But, I know some of you are.  And some of you can't eat gluten - so sorry about this post.  This just looked too good and easy to just keep to myself.

Get after it:

Jessie Oleson (aka Cakespy) drops by Serious Eats every week to share a delicious dessert recipe. —The Mgmt.


[Photographs and original illustrations: Cakespy]

Riddle me this: why should burgers and hot dogs have all the fun on your grill this summer?

They shouldn't, and here's the dessert to prove it: Grilled Pound Cake.

Simply butter slices of pound cake before putting them on either an outdoor or indoor stovetop grill, and let them get a little char. The nice part about this dessert is that it uses already-baked pound cake, so you can't under-bake it. The grilled toastiness of the cake makes it the perfect canvas for any number of toppings: I really enjoy ice cream and a seasonal fruit compote. Just be sure to prepare this before grilling meats, because you don't want to impart a burger flavor to your dessert!

Grilled Pound Cake »

About the author: Jessie Oleson is a writer, illustrator, gallery owner, and cake anthropologist who runs Cakespy, an award-winning dessert website. Her first book came out in October 2011; she is currently at work on her second book.

Get the Recipe!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Does anyone really eat a full candy bar anymore?  I know they make the giant king sized awesomeness - but really that's just designed to make you popular at Halloween, right?  Seeing candy bars in the grocery store makes me wonder - do people buy them?  And if yes, are they over the age of 15?
I propose that the best candy bar is the Milky Way Midnight Dark, but, what say you?  There are no wrong answers here....unless you say "Bit O Honey" or "Salted Nut Roll" - because - what?!  NO. 

Monday, June 25, 2012


I know that summer is officially here because the lady in our office who is constantly updating people about the current weather said so.  Other clues have included:

- Evening trips to the pool with all my favorite party people.
- Seeing growth in the garden.
- Hot, sweaty yard work. For the record: thistle is the Tualatin of plants.
- Nearly weeping with joy as I ate a Lime Fruit Flo from Trader Joe's. 
- The fact that the only grass that's green is the patch under the trampoline where the "sprinkler under the trampoline" magic happens. 
- There are about 23 people at church each week - but it's never the same 23.
- Wearing flip-flops to work - and giggling about all the sucker-fools working at summer camps are wearing socks and closed-toed shoes.
- Going to a Cubs game and teasing people from Detroit. 
- I keep trying to turn the air conditioning in my car up to 11.

- The fact that I've got 3 pairs of sunglasses, each that cost $3.00 or less.

What about you?  Has summer arrived?  How do you know?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Sheet on the bed!?

Sheets are one of my causes.  I believe that everyone should have high quality sheets and frankly, that they should be ironed before they are put on the bed.  I'm sad to confess that I don't have the time to press the sheets anymore.  Obviously I don't sleep as well, but what can you do?

I also take pride in folding sheets and storing them in packets so that you can just grab a whole set at once, instead of having to rifle through the linen closet hoping to come up with a complete sheet compliment on laundry day.  I feel like I did a decent job with the fitted sheets, but they were always just a little off - until the other night.  Thank goodness for the interwebs and people who have enough time on their hands to make picture tutorials like this:

I was missing the critical step of folding the sheet in thirds!  Now - perfection.  WHEW.  I can sleep a little better at night on my scratcheldy sheets.

I will also say that I disagree with this style of sheet storage:
Trying to slide the whole bundle into one of the pillowcases seems like so much more work, plus - you have to rummage through the pillowcase to ensure that everything is there.  I say nay, Martha.  Also - who has THAT many extra sheet sets?  Really?!  Really.

Images via:

Turn it DOWN!

As an old lady, my music taste is pretty focused and limited.  I don't like music that is hard to listen to or that will make my ears bleed or my head hurt.  Certain people in my life take great delight playing music that fits that exact description, just to get my tortured reaction.  And let me tell you, I never disappoint.  Rolling eyes, groaning, incredulous looks, begging for it to stop - I give it everything I've got.

You can imagine how excited I was when I found Everyone's Mixtape
Being old enough to remember a mixtape is sort of required to get the full scale of the awesomeness of this web based playlist sharing experience. 

The interface is very smooth and user friendly.  Just click on one of the tapes on the side or browse and then the tape plays the whole thing!  No need to turn the tape over.  Anyone can anonymously create a playlist or add to other mixtapes.  Then you can pick the type of songs you're looking for - driving, relaxing, cleaning, running - you get the idea.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

I know - I know...

I know that I have no real credentials as to be telling you what to watch - since I barely watch about 2.5 hours of TV a week.  BUT: you should watch Sherlock.  If you like any kind of clever television, this show will not disappoint.
There are a total of six 90 minute episodes - the first three available on Netflix, the other three on PBS.org or via iTunes.

Once Downton Abby was done, I needed something to fill the Anglophile hole in my heart.  Sherlock was the perfect answer.  Oddly though - I ended up watching the last two episodes first, so it was all a little jumbly for a bit.  But THEN: I got strep throat during my trip to visit my family.  Getting strep throat was awful for so many different reasons - but since I play the Glad Game like Pollyanna, the only good news was that I could lay in my mom's bed and watch Sherlock for hours.   But really - that was the only good thing.  Missing out on being with my family was bollocks.  Even worse was knowing that I'd kissed my brother's baby Wyatt - a lot.  But again, the good news is that Geoff and Alexis are still willing to talk to me, so I don't think I gave my nephew amoebic dysentery.  And that's the dog's bollocks!

A word to the wise: I had spotty WiFi while trying to stream an episode when I was waiting for a flight in the Phoenix airport recently and so I will say to make sure you have a strong connection to the interwebs if you're going to stream it.  Trying to watch a mystery when every 2 minutes the video buffers will likely make you fully insane.

Time for fun in the sun...

You have to understand that for someone who sits in an office five days a week and watches the seasons change, I get pretty excited about things OTHER PEOPLE could do in that weather.  I found this super fun, if not random, idea for some backyard fun:
waterblobtutorial Water Blob: Tutorial  
Bobbie Byrd over at Clumsy Crafter created a water blob that could be several hours worth of fun, for very low cost or long term impact on your lawn.  She provides the clear and simple directions in her photo tutorial so - go check it out.  Or just make a giant Slip'n'Slide - because I'm so totally there.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

On the move...

So - apparently mobile blogging of the future has arrived. Blogger now has an app (I promise this blog won't always be about awesome apps)! Now I can blog from anywhere. Aren't you glad?

In other news: I got a new bike!! A pink cruiser with a pink basket. And apparently riding a bike is still fun. Especially when you're riding to the gas station to get chocolate milk.

Are you a bike rider? Do you want to be in my bike gang?

Personal Policies

I've been  thinking a lot lately about my personal policies - things that are already decided so that when the situation arises, I don't have to think about what to do and I just put the plan in motion.  Here's a few of the policies from the Encylopedia Chanelica:

1. If my mother is ever in a coma, I will give her two weeks without pressure to wake up.  During this time I will play America's Funniest Home Videos for her.

2.  If I ever came across someone in the woods laying face down, I would first crack their back and then check to see if they needed help or were dead.  (NOTE: If you ever find me laying face down - anywhere - you can assume you should just crack my back.)

3.  Dinner reservations are always under the name of Judy.  And if they need a last name it's Juderson.  This is true if you're just waiting for a table at Red Robin - JUDY is the name.

4.  If there is a new face at church, I will do everything I can to go and speak to the owner of that face and welcome them and get their scoop.  Sometimes people sneak out too quickly - or there are too many people that day, but I will not let my own laziness prevent me from extending a greeting to someone new. 

5.  I will be ready for any game of "Let's Make A Deal" by keeping random crap in my purse at all times.  No joke.  I keep all kinds of random bits and bobs in my purse and wallet just in case Monty Hall shows up and is willing to trade $100.00 for a band-aid, a nail file, and a mint.

What are your personal policies?  I'd love to hear...really...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A note from me to you

I'm not sure how much I believe in Karma overall - but I do believe in mail karma and missionary karma.  I firmly believe that good mail will come to you if you send good mail out.  Bills will find you either, way - so whatevs.  I love to send mail and to get mail.  It just brightens my day to have put a card in the mail - or to open a sweet note from a friend.  But sometimes I don't have all the stuff in the same place when I'm ready to send a thoughtful note or acknowledge a big accomplishment.  This is where Paperless Post comes in.  They have elegant digital cards and stationary and invitations so that you look like a class act, even if it IS technically an e-card.

Everything is customizable and I think I've talked about Paperless Post before - but now they have an app for the iPhone!!  (I don't know about other alleged "smart" phones - you know where my loyalties lie)  This app allows you to customize cards and notes - including pictures from your phone making them extra personal and extra awesome.  The app will also allow you to see all the items you've sent out via the website.  Now, I will say that the app is still in beta testing, so maybe more features will be coming.  But for now - do yourself a favor and send a note to someone today.  The first person you think of, just send them a quick note or e-card or actual real live mail.  The card doesn't have to be fancy, but the message will have a big impact. I PROMISE.

PS - if you're sending me a card - please include when you're coming to visit me.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Purse Burrito

So - let's just start with this: the purse burrito.  Hopefully this is a concept you all understand and embrace, but if you don't regularly enjoy a purse burrito we need to get you on the bandwagon!

A purse burrito is typically the last two inches of a giant overstuffed burrito from Chipotle that you have wrapped up and saved in your purse (or biznatchel if you're a guy) until later in the day when you're hungry again.  Genius, no?!

I guess you could have this burrito from anywhere, but the original purse burrito was from Chipotle and if you know me at all, you understand how I feel about tradition and honoring one's heritage - but I digress. The original purse burrito came into being when my friend Reyna had regular appointments with her midwife which was pretty much adjacent to a Chipotle - so we would meet for lunch whenever she had an appointment.  And then those burritos would be just two inches too long.  Too much left to just toss, but just enough to make you sick.  You see the dilemma.  I'm sure you've been there yourself.  You feel my pain.  One day I just wrapped up that last two inches and stuck it in my purse.  And you'd better believe that I was a hero when we were at Costco that evening and I was able to hand my pregnant friend a perfect little burrito snacklet.  It made me laugh to be eating a burrito that I pulled from my purse, but I was also grateful, because I was hungry - and somehow a purse burrito is almost better than the fresh one you ate earlier.

I currently have a purse burrito working and it will come in handy tonight at the little league game that I anticipate lasting many hours.  So - if you're around and need a snack, I'm happy to share.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

What if it DID come back?  With posts and links and randomness?  Would people really read it?  Would I remember how?  We shall see what we shall see.