31 January 2014

Weekend linkage // 7QT #23

 Linked up with Conversion Diary.


When I share my dinner with Ellie, I feel as if I am feeding a tiny Shamu.

from The Palm Beach Post

I hurriedly cut bits of strawberry, toss them over to the bellowing beast, they disappear within a split second . . . more bellowing ensues. So it goes.


This is fun: comparing period drama costumes to street fashion.

And in the same vein, a Tumblr devoted to "recycled movie costumes."


My biggest little brother has returned to [video]blogging, with a recipe for wassail! This week's special guest: Professor Wikipedia.


Look, the proper way to tie your shoes! I will be teaching Ellie how to do this.


You knew this was coming. "Fact Checking the State of the Union Address."


Here is an excellent article written by an African woman on why the Gates Foundation's push for "universally available contraception"-- which they portray as liberating and ennobling for women-- is nothing of the sort.


Funny rabbit time: these sheep must be so confused.

30 January 2014

pretty happy funny real #10

Linked up with LMLD.

We got a wool carpet from RugsUSA and are very pleased with it. Soft, lovely green color, and we purchased it during a 70% off sale over New Year's. It is still shedding a lot of fuzz but to my understanding, that's normal for new carpets.

I made hasselback potatoes and they actually turned out well! If you have a good sharp knife and cut carefully, they aren't difficult at all.


Ellie has been, shall we say, "devouring" her books with gusto.


Snow, snow, snow.

27 January 2014

paper bags and lipstick [at The Mirror]

In case you missed it last Friday, I've written another post for The Mirror Magazine:
On one end you have the prevailing message we know so well. A body is meant to display, to manipulate others with. Work it, girl. One the other end you have paper bags; if we assume that godly people should aspire to the world's exact opposite, we all end up in shapeless sacks.

Go here for the rest.

24 January 2014

Weekend linkage // 7QT #22

Linked up with Conversion Diary.


"You are my wimpy hamster."
-as J pats me condescendingly on the head


This week, Ellie slept all through the night, and I was all:

It only happened once. But still.

In other news, she has started to enjoy looking at (not just chewing on) her board books, her staple foods are pears and chicken, she loves watching videos of other babies-- or just herself-- and she's really excited about standing up. She hangs on to a chair, the ottoman, or something of that sort, but she always forgets that she needs support and down she tumbles.


Heh. David Malki: "Why, in my granddad’s day, blasting something in an epic rant MEANT something."

I feel the same way about delivered scathing criticism and sent a strong message. 


Great article (written by a plumber) on why we need the trades, and why more kids should step away from their whitecollar aspirations.
It seems as if dreaming of non-existent glamour jobs that require little effort for huge pay has captured the fancy of today’s youth. There is not a job out there that doesn’t have it’s difficult days but kids seem not to believe it. Worse, they rack up huge debt often getting a degree in a field they will never use.

Funny time!

Homeschool Barbie.

What if the NFL logos were hipsters?

Fake signs in the London Underground.

You've never heard One Direction like this before. The chorus had me rolling.


I thought this was good, particularly reason #4: "Eight Reasons Not to Use Graphic Images at the March For Life."

On a more cheerful note regarding pictures of babies: animals in the womb. This is cool.


This week's soundtrack has been a mashup of Keane, Adele, and WRTI.

22 January 2014

some nights . . . some mornings

Some nights I put all the food away after dinner and wash the dishes, and tidy up Ellie's toys and fold the laundry that was left in the dryer, and all the time Jared has been sitting on the couch with a book. And I think Why isn't he working too? This is no fair.

Some mornings (like today) I crawl out of my sleepy cocoon of goose down and fleece, and look out the wind-chilled window to see this:

Oh. Suddenly I don't feel like complaining anymore.

I am glad that we have different work, and that we each get to rest too, even if at different times. I'm not sure it all shakes out to "fair" in the end, but it's good.

(He does help an awful lot with housework, by the way. However, I gladly take the bulk those responsibilities when it means that he takes on the sunrise snow-shoveling and all the other things I can't/won't do. "Equality" isn't exactly the guiding star of operations around here.)

20 January 2014

ahoy, discoveries! vol. 15 [baby's growing up edition]

well, some of it got in her mouth anyway
Nosh Nosh Nosh

Ellie still uses the Bumbo for bathtime, but was outgrowing it for meals. Between the chubby thighs and the cloth diapers, we could barely pry her out. Fortunately, my parents decided to give her a high chair for Christmas, and so the Graco Blossom descended upon us.

It is awesome. I stick Ellie in there while I vacuum, do dishes, exercise-- any time I need her to be contained and happy. There are three layers to the tray, it has a five point harness, it rolls around the house easily, and you can turn it into a booster seat or a toddler seat. So there.

While eating, one must be appropriately attired. She has an enormous Bumkins Junior Bib, which covers everything, but the one we use most often right now is from Make My Day. It is seamless silicone, which means NO MOLD. As someone who lives in mortal terror of mold, this truly does "make my day." Rinse it off after eating, stick it in your dish rack, all done. The wide pocket also stays completely open, catching the (many) things Ellie drops during a meal and providing us with entertainment when she then tries to fish them out again.

I haven't done any special cooking for E because I read this book and decided to let her go for the good stuff. She eats applesauce and yogurt from a spoon, but with everything else, she does the steering. Pureed peas are for the birds!


Ellie still mostly wears Carter's and Baby GAP, with some Vitamins Baby thrown in for good measure. All three fit well and offer a very cute selection (at least for little girls). Lately I have found most of her clothes on eBay.

She's got a pair of Robeez slippers for indoors, and for the rest of her shoes, I discovered that I like Pediped. Again, I check eBay for all footwear: babies barely put any wear on their shoes so why pay $30+ for a new pair?


Okay, so Ellie's favorite toys are my Camelbak and the vacuum cleaner cord  . . . and Moose. Always Moose. Apart from those, though, she enjoys the following:

These links are scattered all over our house. (They come apart easily, but what do you expect for five bucks? Little Mouse loves them. Connect three or four and they make a perfect rattle.)

She has a big box of Duplos and some Playmobil 123. Even though she's too young to understand the "building" aspect, she enjoys the colorful pieces. They are also really good for banging on the floor, which is all she really wants to do anyway.

Melissa and Doug make a cute set of washable picnic food, and she has a lot of fun with that, especially the crinkly lettuce and the squeaking watermelon. I'm not sure why she has bestowed her love upon those two items, but okay.

Miscellaneous Extras

Now that Ellie can sit up she wants to be in the shopping cart instead of the Ergo. Since I am a selective germophobe-- drop an orange slice on the kitchen floor? fine, but DO NOT TOUCH THE NASTY SHOPPING CART STRAPS-- I use this Infantino cart cover whenever we're out. It fits every cart I have tried it on, including those giants at Target.

Ellie eats quite a bit of solid food, so I figured I should start brushing her seven fangs teeth. I use an Oral-B Stage One toothbrush (it has Eeyore on it!), plus Cinnamon Earthpaste from Redmond Trading Company, and she thinks the whole process is hilarious.

17 January 2014

Weekend linkage // 7QT #21

Linked up with Conversion Diary.


"But darling, I am the most interesting man in your world."
-J when I requested Dos Equis


We went to the beach last week. Jared's employer owns a condo on the South Carolina shore and employees can stay there throughout the year.

The prime attractions, for us, were ocean waves right outside of the window, oodles of free time to read and do crossword puzzles-- always nerding up the joint-- weather at least thirty degrees warmer than at home, and the relative proximity to Charleston, where we honeymooned four years ago and where we were able to enjoy a lovely re-visit. (If you are ever there, eat at Basil!)


First the funnies.

Lolmythesis, where doctoral theses are boiled down to their essences. (Very funny but some language.)

Wondermark has suggestions for the Olympics.

If you've ever wondered how British cows moo, Patrick Stewart can tell you.


Love everything on this Pinterest board.


Fifty things we didn't know this time last year. Cool.


Yes, Matt Walsh again. I do not apologize: Chivalry Is Out of Style. "Men should carry bags, and hold doors, and pull out chairs, and offer seats to women, not because women are incapable of standing or opening their own doors, but because of what these acts represent — what they say."


I wrote a guest post for The Mirror Magazine this week: "Paper Bags and Lipstick."

It's something of a followup to "Pretty Special Dust," a post I wrote last fall.

13 January 2014

ahoy, discoveries! vol. 14 [dolled up edition]

Apart from stage makeup for ballet performances, I didn't put a thing on my face growing up. I wasn't exactly lazy, just inclined to spend my time on other things. Why stand in front of the mirror when I could be reading my AP Psychology textbook? (I know.)

Times have changed, fortunately, and I have ventured into Cosmetics Land.

I like mascara a lot, and I recently took Grace's suggestion and ordered Maybelline Full 'N Soft, in Very Black because my lashes need all help available. Thumbs up thus far: thick and dark as you would expect, though it can clump and you do need to watch out for smudging from mascara that clings to the wand. I still refuse to wear eyeliner, though.

While looking at some pictures this fall, I realized that my blonde eyebrows tend to vanish into my forehead-- so I now own an eyebrow pencil (which definitely solidifies my place in the world of adults). I picked Maybelline's Expert Wear in blonde. It's inexpensive and I like the color. Turns out that this particular step takes very little time and has quite a nice effect.

I'm a lipstick novice, but I like Maybelline Peachy Scene. (See a pattern? I actually didn't realize that I owned so many Maybelline products.) Other recommendations welcome. As for the lip balm that goes beneath it, I am a big fan of Burts' Bees, particularly the one with honey.

In the rest of the makeup bag I've got some nice stuff that I have been using forever: concealer and powder from Sorme. Since I don't apply very much, and because I've gone through periods when, due to my skin, I just have avoided cosmetics altogether, it lasts a long time. I am not in love with it though, and once I'm out I want to try Faerie.

Hair has always been my nemesis. Mine is fine and slippery; it barely holds a curl, gets flyaways easily, and sometimes resembles dishwater. I used to wish my hair was red, like my best friend's. (Or, you know, Jessica Chastain's.) I like my blonde now but it's no easier to work with. While I was pregnant I was boiling hot all the time and stuck my hair in a high bun every day; after Ellie was born I decided to get a good haircut, talk to my stylist about which products to use, and put some effort into it. Just like the eyebrow pencil thing, it wasn't as hard as I thought.

I'd always assumed that I should use a hydrating shampoo, but my hairdresser told me no. I should use a normal one and throw in the occasional clarifying treatment for good measure (thanks Beth!). Now I use Kiss My Face Whenever plus a wee bit of Desert Essence Coconut Conditioner for everyday washing, and Avalon Organics Lemon every two weeks to get out any buildup.

And I am packing some serious product: Redken Guts mousse, and It's a 10 hairspray.

Phew . . .  that is a lot.

Your turn. What good beauty products would you like to share with the world?

03 January 2014

Weekend linkage // 7QT #20

Linked up with Conversion Diary.


"I hate it when you're trying to put something somewhere and it doesn't . . . put."
-sometimes it's hard to be Jared


Mama, you have teeth too!

E's new tricks: pulling herself up to stand in her crib, and waving hello (at other people . . . or just at herself in the mirror). She is such a silly goose. 


Some serious links to start off: two of my friends have recently written blog posts on the challenge of trusting God through darkness, and they are well worth your time.

first, "The Sign of the Pelican":
If God is good, He is good without footnote . . . While it may be difficult or pain me to say it, even if I never receive another blessing in my life, God is still good. Even while I wait through suffering and tragedy, I trust that His goodness carries the day, eternally speaking.
Second, "The Beautiful Hard":
Loneliness becomes the deserted island inhabited by our God and Savior.  It is there that He fills us with His presence . . . The ashes become beautiful with Him.  The mourning turns to dancing with Him.  The weary become soaring eagles with Him.   Treasures in dark places . . . only God can do that.

Another link on the heavier side, but again, worth your time if you've a philosophical bent-- an On Being interview with John O'Donahue, "The Inner Landscape of Beauty." It runs from aesthetic poverty to the quality of our conversation to music's spiritual appeal. So. Get on that.


"Why It Matters That Men and Women are Different." Because I do have a philosophical bent, I love the approach she took on this.
It seems a rather obvious thing. When we treat things in accord with the way they are, the universe runs more smoothly. Which, if we gave it a try, might turn out to be a greater good than “equal opportunity.”

Obligatory 2013 summary posts are all over the web, but I liked these: the coolest science of 2013 in GIFs, and thirty-five pictures that prove the world isn't such a bad place.


Okay, silly time. The dog who is not lost. Vive la liberte!

02 January 2014

four years

That's a whole presidential term! No re-elections on this one, though-- we're like swans-- together for life.

Happy anniversary darling.

plus our little swanlet.

Well, she said, he's who he is and he always will be. That's why I married him.
But you aint heard from him in a while.
I didnt expect to hear from him.
Were you all havin problems?
We dont have problems. When we have problems we fix em.
Well, you're lucky people.
Yes we are.
-from No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy

01 January 2014

the Lord always before me

Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you.”
As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones,
in whom is all my delight . . .

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
I have set the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.
For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption.
You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
-Psalm 16

image credit: Wales Directory

Happy New Year, friends! May you experience fullness of joy in the coming year. May God lead you to pleasant places and make you dwell secure.