General Housekeeping

General Housekeeping

Why do I want to call this a “housekeeping” post? Is that a real thing? Did my brain just make that up? I don’t think it did. Anyway, I’ve got a few general announcements, and it feels like housekeeping, but not the lame kind. The kind where you fold clothes and watch seven episodes of New Girl in a row.

#Science

We’re doing something called a “Naked Egg” at home. You soak an egg in vinegar, then in corn syrup, then in food colored water over the course of four days to demonstrate THE AMAZING POWERS OF OSMOSIS! Here’s the video we found on YouTube from a couple of dudes called the Sci Guys.  Charlie loves science experiments, so if you guys have any favorites, please send them my way!

Omaha Bloggers Network

This is a pretty cool group that was started a little over a year ago by Erin at Her Heartland Soul and Lisa from The Walking Tourists, and I’m glad I’ve stuck with it. We had a meeting on Sunday at Wilson & Washburn in the Old Market, and discussed things like community, future projects, and the creation of a committee system. It’s exciting to see this group turn into something official and formidable, and I’m genuinely looking forward to participating in its evolution. It offers support and education for bloggers, a chance to share your posts, and even more chances to gain exposure and community involvement.  Leave me a note in the comments if you’re interested in joining, and I’ll help you get hooked up!

Curtain & Pen Book Club WOOOOOOOOO!

This Wednesday the 24th at 10 pm, head on over to my Facebook page to participate in the first ever Curtain & Pen online book club!

We’re discussing The Maid’s Version by Daniel Woodrell. The book is relatively short, but does take some concentration, in my opinion.

I’ve been researching some discussion questions, so all you have to do is read the book and sit down at your computer ready to chat. Pants are optional, wine/beer/hot tea/cocoa is encouraged, and I can’t wait to see how this goes!

On Thursday, I’ll throw out three new genres to pick from, and we’ll start the whole shebang all over again!

*UPDATE 9/24/14*

I totally published this too early, because a guest post that I wrote went live yesterday! Flywheel is a super-hip local company that offers managed WordPress hosting for designers and other creative agencies.  The post is about public speaking and, although it’s geared toward designers, the tips highlighted in it would be helpful for anyone. Please check it out, and share if you feel so inclined!

Your Monthly Male on Heartbreak

Your Monthly Male on Heartbreak

There were times, in my days of singledom, when I was positive that the hearts of all men (except my Dad and other cool male relatives…and Jon Bon Jovi) had been ripped out by crazy romance-hungry zombies. Zombies who opted out of the brain buffet in favor of a more delightful, caring, considerate, and toe-tingling treat. This, of course, left all the men wandering the world without hearts…wreaking emotional havoc across the globe and slashing any female hearts that had managed to survive previous attacks.

Basically, any sign of a man having feelings would have been spectacular.

So I’ve got a little sliver of hope for all of you out there who still feel like you’re watching a horror movie. I asked blogger Paul N. to tell me about heartbreak.

Let’s see what he’s got for us.

I haven’t done a ton of dating. There are a few reasons for this, not the least of which being that I am a huge pansy when it comes to putting myself “out there” and asking someone out. Two other reasons are that I am extremely picky when it comes to women and that I don’t want to date for the sake of dating. I tend to dismiss “crushes” as soon as I notice elements of their personalities that I could not live with. All of these drastically reduce girlfriend opportunities, which can become a problem, because on the rare occasion that I meet a girl with whom I could see myself ending up, I tend to fall in love…hard…

This has only happened three times in the last sixish years. I fell head over heels for a succession of three women , and was only able to get over the first when I met the second a month later, and was only able to get over the second when I met the third a year later. I thought I had found something really special in that third gal, Cinderella (not her real name…). We dated for about a year before she agreed to marry me. She returned the ring about six months later, which sent me spinning into the depths of a depression that I had never previously imagined.

As I wrote in last month’s post for Lauren, I tend to keep my emotions closely guarded. In particular, I usually simply pretend my negative emotions don’t even exist. This has served me well for a long time and enabled me to deal with a lot of frustrations and disappointments fairly easily. This one, though…this hurt. I had never truly experienced “heartbreak” and it caught me completely off guard.

My emotions hadn’t been so out of whack since high school when I had a great deal of trouble controlling my temper in certain situations. Part of the problem is that I simply didn’t know how to deal with all the sadness and anger that was coursing through my body in wave after infuriating wave. Do I confront Cinderella and pour it out on her? Do I lean on my good friends and cry on their shoulders? Do I bottle it all up and hope it leaves my system like a horrible bout of the flu?

It should come as no surprise that I chose the latter, hoping to wait it out until the “illness” passed. I opened up occasionally, in very brief windows, sometimes to my close friends, sometimes even to Cinderella’s close friends. The one thing I never even considered trying was drinking my sorrows away. Simply put, it unfortunately doesn’t work, (I tried it once, while trying to get over girl #2…not productive at all, but that was a very convenient evening to be at a kegger!) and I’d rather not send myself down the spiraling path of alcoholic depression.

All the stereotypes about guys not sharing their feelings with each other are totally true, by the way. When I say I opened up to my friends in very brief windows, I mean BRIEF. As in, one sentence to my buddy Bryce at my “Still-A-Bachelor” party (“She dumped you? I’m sorry, man…we’re still going to the strip club, right?”) and one sentence to my buddy Eric after several beers a month later. For guys, “being there” for a friend doesn’t mean talking and crying for hours on end. It means going about business as usual and having as much fun as possible in an effort to forget the unpleasantness, at least for a while. Just as an example, here’s how a typical “therapy for Paul” night would go:

Two hours of drinking, hanging out, and looking at beautiful, unattainable women at the bar

Friend: “So, Paul, how’re you doing?”

Paul: “You know, I really miss Cinderella a lot. This sucks.”

Friend: “I know, man. I know.”

Brief awkward moment

Paul: “…so…how about another game of Buckhunter?”

Two more hours of drinking, hanging out, and looking at beautiful, unattainable women

Maybe talking more would help, but honestly, we wouldn’t even know where to start, or how to have that conversation. Even if I tried talking about it with a friend, it would quickly devolve from an honest discussion about feelings and anxieties into a joke-filled recollection of a favorite movie or old story. It’s not that my friends don’t care about me, or that I wouldn’t care about them if our positions were reversed. That’s just not the way guys’ friendships work. We are unequivocally there for each other, but in a much more literal and much less conversational way.

Over the last six months, the pain of being dumped has certainly faded. I still get a pang of sadness every once in a while when I am reminded of our relationship in some way. I still have to tamp down the occasional urge to call Cinderella and list off all the reasons I feel angry and betrayed. I still feel a surge of bitter jealousy when I read about an engagement or wedding on Facebook. Ultimately, I know I won’t be completely over it until I find the next best thing, the woman who is so amazing that she will surpass and replace any of my previous flames.

…so if any of you gals have a cute, single early-to-mid-20s sister, or ARE the cute sister, feel free to invite me out for a drink…I’ll buy!

A Little Decorating Help

A Little Decorating Help

As I sat down to add this week’s guest post, I realized that I didn’t post at all last week, and the last post up here is, well…a guest post.

It’s been a long week. I also just typed the word ‘post’ 4 times in one sentence…so, yeah. My brain’s about done.

It’s a good thing I’ve got my friend Erin at Goldiluxe Events and Consulting to offer up a post for you guys, along with great advice to help me with my decorating phobia. I know I’ve got a lot of crafty buddies, but I also know I’ve got some secretly decorating-challenged friends out there who share my problems.
Decorating, for me, is like cooking fried eggs. I always think they’re going to be great…I get big ideas for things like egg sandwiches and bacon-dipping…and then, rather than being perfect, they’re lopsided and hard and stuck to the frying pan.

They never turn out the way they look in my head.

I’m hoping I can take some of Erin’s tips and make myself some decent breakfast.

Hello darlings!
I really love when the spaces I’m in feel organic and inspired. I want to be welcomed into a space so, when I tackle interior design (and believe you me, my house is in a constant state of interior design), I try to approach it the same way I approach event design. I find if I break it up into components, distill my vision and follow a few simple rules, I can usually come up with something pretty amazing.
Since I’m probably not the only one with a serious design situation, I thought I might share some of my best tips with all of you!

1. Set some goals for the room. Don’t be afraid to write down the main functions of the room in question. The goals for my office are: a place to meet clients, to feel inspired, to have organized craft/project storage and to house my reference library.

2. Accept the things you cannot change. These are the less than stellar aspects of the room. My designer friend (she helped me develop my method) calls them “give-ins”. They can range from things like “I’m a renter and can’t paint” to “this room is only 14 × 20”. Once you identify and accept your give-ins, you can move on to your more feasibly brilliant ideas.

3. Declutter! Go through that room and get rid of everything that doesn’t fit the goals you’ve outlined for the space. If you can use it in another part of the house-awesome! If you haven’t touched it since you moved in-maybe donate it or send it to a thrifty resting place. My aforementioned designer friend had me make three piles: keep, purge, and donate. It was amazing.

4. Go shopping in your house first. Can you repurpose items you already have? Doing this will not only help you make decisions about what you need to make your room functional, it will also help keep costs down. Not to mention a little spray paint goes a long way. Also, a house with littles is also a huge source of art. I once knew a girl that turned her kids loose on some paper with a palette of blue crayons and paints. What she got was amazing wall art that fit her vision for the room.

5. Tart it up! Make that room beautiful! I’m all about inspiration boards and look books. If you need a slight nudge to get creative, sites like Pinterest are ideal to get the wheels turning. I also recommend taking a trip through your local antique store. I once designed an entire room around one, totally fab table. Eschew the trends. For me, style is all about that which enhances the essence of you. For instance: Capture your personal style with an eclectic mix of textures and colors. Cast off matchy-matchy color schemes in favor of those that simply coordinate…

But! The most important thing I can say about decorating your home is: “Have fun, trust your instincts and run with them!” You are the best judge of what “beauty” and “function” mean to you. If it makes you and your family feel happy, comfortable and safe in your home-you can’t possibly go wrong!

A Guest Post about Stepping Into New Surroundings

A Guest Post about Stepping Into New Surroundings

Hey, everybody! I’m really excited to have a lot of good guest posts lined up for the coming weeks, and I’m going to kick them off with one from Deb. Deb is adelightful blogger I met in Lincoln via the social media scene (Lincoln totally has a social media scene, by the way) and I wish I would have met her sooner. As it turns out, both of us ended up moving away from Lincoln, and have found ourselves adjusting to life in a new city…and we’ve both realized that you’ve simply got to just Step In to your new surroundings if you want to enjoy them. This, of course, breeds fodder for a perfect guest post…so grab a cuppa of whatever you please, enjoy the post, and please leave some comments for Deb!

Shortly after we found out we were moving to Minnesota, we took a road trip up north to look for houses. One of the first houses we pulled up to had wood siding falling off the front of the garage and shingles peeling off the roof so bad that you could almost see the attic. I convinced myself it was okay because I wasn’t a fan of yellow siding, so it would have to be fixed anyways. Besides, it might be dreamy inside. Maybe the house had a stunning entryway with a spiral staircase or a master bedroom that was so phenomenal that I would never want to leave it’s awesomeness! Then a mouse came out to greet us as the Realtor was attempting to open the lock box. I looked at the Realtor and said, “We have to go. This isn’t the house for us.” The next house and the house after that weren’t much better. It was a defeating day and it left my husband and I wondering what the heck we had done.

We had a pair of Realtors working with us and we were pretty sure they were life partners as well as business partners. I was so happy to have a distraction the entire time we were house hunting with them.

“Do you think they’re more than business partners? They do share a car after all,” I would ask my husband.

My husband would say, “What did you think of that red house? Do you think 3 bedrooms is enough? And what do you think about that yard?”

I’d say, “And they live downtown. In a condo. Doesn’t that say something?”

It was perfect for me and kept my mind off the ugly red 3 bedroom house with a pitiful yard. The second day of our house hunting trip, we took our Realtors to no land they’d ever seen before. We took them 30 minutes southwest of the city to a small town called Waconia. We entered the city and were immediately in love. Our Realtors thought we were crazy— who lives outside the city?! Peshaw! (See I told you there was something there…) Waconia has a huge lake and tons of character. It’s like a town you’d see on a movie. Kind of like Desperate Housewives, but without all the drama. It’s cute and perfect. And it has a Target to boot. That’s when I was sold.

We found our cute 3 bedroom home with a nice yard and with a fully intact roof and siding. We put in an offer and all was well. Then we realized that the easiest part of our moving adventure was over. We still had to spend 6 weeks apart… which meant I had to be a single parent to a 4 month old and 3 year old boys (and a crazy dog too). That was the hardest part of the entire process and I remember driving over the weekend with the boys to come see my husband just so I could get a full night’s rest and a couple hours with down time. It was so exhausting.

Fast forward to the move. We moved at the perfect time… April. The snow was melting and the weather was beautiful. We’ve been outside ever since we moved. I know the winters are rough here so I’ve been absorbing as much Vitamin D as possible. Shortly after we moved and the “honeymoon” was over, I was sad. I missed my family, friends and the wonderful community of Lincoln, Nebraska. Like Lauren’s husband, my husband is busy. He is working more than full time and going to school for his MBA. Most weeks we are lucky if we see him a couple nights a week. Life was really lonely for awhile and I knew I had to get out and meet people. After all, I wanted to treat Minnesota as my new home. When I lived in Lincoln, I had friends with husbands that attended law school and sometimes they would have the “we’ll only be here three years” so what’s the point of getting to know anyone or figuring Lincoln out? It drove me completely nuts. I so wished they’d explore what Lincoln had to offer and give it a chance. So that’s exactly what I’ve done in little old Waconia. I have no idea how long we’ll be here—- 3 years… 5 years, or maybe forever. Who knows. It’s a small city, but I’ve definitely fallen in love.

The move forced me to downsize my overly active lifestyle and figure out the importance of motherhood. Duh, right?! I’ve know motherhood was important all along, but I always wanted an escape. An escape from the 2 year old throwing tantrums, an escape from a nursing baby, an escape from cooking a meal no one would eat. So I started filling my life with little escapes and before you knew it, I had over-filled my plate. So the move has forced a much needed clearing of my plate and my mission is to keep it that way. I’ve realized that there are seasons to motherhood. Rough patches, patches of bliss where you don’t want to miss a moment, and patches of in between. The rough patches don’t last forever, even if it sometimes feel like they do. I want to be present as a mother and not filling my life with little escapes. I do, however, still want a little escape, so I’ve met a lot of different friends through working out, church and walking our neighborhood religiously. It’s amazing how many people you can meet tagging along two kids and a dog. I’m hoping the winter won’t be so bad and we’ll have plenty of play dates in the snow.

The only thing I can’t figure out is grocery shopping around here. Everything is so expensive and I have to use the ads to shop. By that I mean you physically have to cut out the grocery store coupons. I thought that was so 10 years ago, but apparently they like slowing me down at the checkout with 2 screaming kids. Who knows…I guess if that’s the least of my problems I have it pretty good.

What about you? Have you had to move? How did you adjust?

Guest Post Awesomeness!

Guest Post Awesomeness!

I wasn’t able to line up a guest-poster this week (if you’re interested in guest-posting, click the “email” button and shoot me an email!), but lucky for me, I’m getting featured as a guest-poster on Momaha.com today! I’m SUPER pumped about this, and the editor, Veronica, could not have picked a more perfect picture for my post. Go on over, look around, and please leave comments so I seem like a popular lady!