Tuesday, December 21, 2010

a salacious love affair.

you guys, i'm in love.

this weekend, my love Michelle took me to The Most Wonderful Secret Place On Earth. i can guess what you're probably thinking, but just hold on a second. i like Michelle and all, and she has good hair. but it's not her i'm after. i'm more interested in something plush and squishy enough to toss on the floor and roll around in. something more like yards, and yards, and yards of yummy, delicious, chunky sweater knits! (hold the tears, she understands.)

anyway, while visiting The Most Wonderful Secret Place On Earth (yards and yards and yards!), i managed to just barely control myself and purchased only 1 yard each of two different yummy sweater knits, about a yard remnant of ivory jersey, and some Brazilian* zippers. (how many you ask? at least a Brazilian! HAHAHA. NEVER GETS OLD.) but back to the love story, let me tell you, this. stuff. is. scrum. diddly. umptious. no joke. (except for that one joke up there. HAHAHA.)

anyhow! it took a few days of sorting out our house before i could even access my sewing machine. [long, uninteresting story about floor cleaning kindly removed.] so the yummy sweater knits just sat there, forlornly, on the kitchen table, yearning to be used. day and night i thought about them, how carefully and gently i would usher them into their fully realized states. i snuck snuggles as often as i could, but couldn't wait to get the real magic started.

(... this is getting uncomfortable, isn't it?)

so ... long story short--i made something! in fact, I MADE TWO SOMETHINGS! (see, i had lofty dreams of turning this into a piece that might match its title. but mostly, i just really like to use the word "salacious," and Hubs is coming home soon from working out, and the dryer keeps re-tumbling the clothes again and again, and i haven't even thought about what to make for dinner. so. let's just pretend there was some really outrageously bad romance writing going on there with the fabric. or not. (you may not have to?))

so there you have it, i have indulged in completing two scarves. the first is a long infinity scarf, made from the first of the yummy sweater knits. it's super soft and has a sort of broad checked pattern knit into it. the second is a fat little cowl made from the other yummy sweater knit, which is thick, robust and flecked with pretty jewel tones. they took me a whopping half an hour, in sum, which is half the time it took me to clumsily take these photos myself. in my bathroom. at nighttime. go me.

Thing 1
also, you'll notice that i was so freakishly excited by my new, now-wearable sweater knits that i went ahead and took photos WITH MY GLASSES ON. most of you who have ever actually seen me in real life have probably not seen me in glasses since i was in my early awkward pre-pubescent phase. but the doctor told me if i didn't wear my glasses for at least 2 weeks he would refuse to give me Lasik surgery, and then i might end up decades in the future in these posts, in even uglier photos, with the same pair of yellowed, crooked glasses that i refuse to replace, having lost such hope that i've given up on things like hygiene and real waistbands. (these are already 8 years old. not looking too promising without some kind of surgery soon, folks.) so suffer we all will, for a time, but soon, there will be sight! i'll write about that, too, when the time comes. but right now i can't think about that; i'm sucking up all the oxygen in the room just trying to think happy thoughts and not being completely consumed with surgery-related panic.

Thing 2
and no, i'm not giving you the stink eye. that's just the way my face looks, promise. ♥

* the zippers aren't really from Brazil. i just couldn't resist the joke.

always late to the party.

i realize i'm always the last one to figure these things out (yes, i'm still afraid of Twitter.)

but if you guys haven't already tried this site, you really should. coming from someone who's tragically and suddenly forgotten how to find good music, this is a lovely little buoy for your work day. or any other kind of day, for that matter.


currently, i'm drinking in the Winter playlist. (duh.)  ♥

Monday, December 20, 2010

you may say i'm a dreamer. (most would say i've lost my mind.)

lately i've become fixated on the idea of commuting daily by bike. despite the fact that this would be incredibly impractical, considering my 15-mile one-way commute, i still spend far too much time studying the idea and thinking of ways i can somehow fuse this lifestyle with mine. after visiting in Munich this summer, i became obsessed, and even purchased a brandshinynew Electra Townie, named Cleo. cycling in the suburbs seems treacherous, but i'm determined to make a go of it someday. (even if Hubs does make fun of me and try to suggest new names for Cleo, like "Dusty.")

Cleo hates it.
meanwhile, my sister and i have had a running joke about  her car inevitably breaking down and her employing bike transportation out of pure necessity. i've been sending lots of winter biking tips for her, mined from the wisdom of cycling community sites like Bike Fancy and Simply Bike.

then today, she sent me this video. GUYS. THIS IS HARDCORE. that is all.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Dear Running,

Oh, how I miss you, so! I wish that you had not decided to wreck my plantar fascia, and that you took place on a much softer surface, like clouds, or maybe pillow-top mattresses.
Even though it is so very cold outside, I would like to be out there, testing my winter lungs and experiencing all your fullness and life.
Instead, I am here, inside. Stretching, resting, and stretching again. Getting fatter, out of shape.
Miss me much? Maybe next time you'll think twice about stressing out my arches.

Just a thought,

ps - don't make me replace you with swimming. it's a lot easier to drown in a pool than on the sidewalk.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

the day trail mix kicked my derrière.

recently, my Hubs and i were all snuggled into our living room with the gas stove on, blissed out on all-day football consumption and feeling pretty fat and sassy. we were a little low on the trail mix we like to make  ourselves, so Hubs went to the kitchen to gather ingredients and mix up a big bowl's worth. he came back, arms loaded with supplies, what seemed like dozens of pounds worth of bagged Sam's Club loot: mixed nuts, pecans, walnuts, almonds, cashews, mixed dried fruits, Ghirardelli chocolate chips. and all of a sudden, i was breathless. "We are SO RICH."

the weight of our blessed lives nearly knocked me to the floor. trail mix? really? we don't even consider it food, really. good enough to stave off hunger for a half an hour while dinner's cooking, or as a little treat after lunch, sure. but what we consider a mere snack some people on this planet would kill for. sure, we might have nearly 6-year-old cell phones that don't even take photos. and we might mostly use hand-me-down computers. and we don't even have cable! but we have trail mix. and look at how much of it we have! bags and bags and bags of nourishment, and that doesn't even compare to what's in the rest of the kitchen. 

it happens a lot that in times of suffering, the things we are so grateful for become so much more obvious. but sometimes we don't even need to experience times of little to be awakened to how much we're blessed.

this is going to bother a lot of you, i can tell already. the Hubs and i do alright on the income front, and we're very conscious of how blessed we've been with good jobs and a comfortable standard of living. lots of you are probably bitterly muttering, "duh." and i could probably go on and on about how everyone struggles with finances, regardless of their situation. how we have certainly had our share of challenges, and how we've worked very hard to handle our finances wisely and responsibly. how politicians have skewed the statistics in  their favor, making divisive labels that prey on everyone's general dissatisfaction with how much money they have (or sometimes, their perception of how much money they have.) i could say all those things, but i'll spare you the defensiveness, that sort of attitude would muddy the waters.*

the point is, none of it is really ours. we're just managers of God's things. and just as He once trusted us with little, He's trusting us with more and more each day. and the responsibility of that has been heavy on my heart lately. so heavy. the scriptures are packed with reminders about the dangers of trusting in one's own wealth, and certainly those verses are never far from my mind. but more than anything, especially in the midst of this holiday season, i'm so thankful. for how we've been blessed materially, for the wisdom (not of ourselves) to be good stewards, for the things we're able to give others and in doing so, point to the God who made it all possible and who tells us to take care of each other. and i'm also supremely joyful that i've been given this opportunity to know how much we have, and to still be so, so thankful.

have you even been just knocked down by a reminder of all your blessings? ... or do i need to get out of my head and into the world a bit more often?  ;)

* Also, please do not receive any of this as boasting, for i have a healthy fear of God, and know that He has to say about these things. In Jeremiah, for example:

“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom
   or the strong boast of their strength
   or the rich boast of their riches,
24 but let the one who boasts boast about this:
   that they have the understanding to know me,
that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness,
   justice and righteousness on earth,
   for in these I delight.”

Thursday, December 9, 2010

my husband hates Christmas.

poor Hubs. although, to be fair, I have hated Christmas at times, too. and I'm not totally convinced it's the Christmas he hates, as much as there are many traditions and elements of celebrating the Christmas season that he feels must be endured.

but no worries--my sister and I are working hard to turn this unfortunate situation around. starting with a Christmas tree retrieval and decorating procedure that required only half hour (!!) of his time.

Check out THAT sweet Christmas action!
lots of people have syrupy stories of traveling each year, in the snow, with their families to saw down The Perfect Tree and spend all weekend baking cookies and singing Christmas carols and decorating the tree they've so lovingly picked out together. but my husband has an equal number of demoralizing and ridiculous stories, involving sap on the ceiling and lots of shouting. so maybe we got our tree for $15 at Menards. sue me.

at least this Christmas, there will be peace on Earth (in the Lindell house.)  ♥

Extreme close-up

--- -- -

post script: i see now, after looking at these pictures more closely, that we seem to have more lights out on the tree than i realized. *sigh* baby steps, right? ;)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

legwear. (obsessed much?)

it's becoming an issue, people. suddenly all i can think about is covering myself in as many pairs of tights and socks i possibly can. most of the time, all at one time. you think i'm kidding? yesterday i wore some SmartWool ski socks over a pair of patterned footless tights, with some knee-high boots. and then, when i had to go to the store later, changed out of the boots and into running shoes. when i realized how silly i looked wearing a skirt and running shoes, i merely changed out of the skirt and into some baggy, olive cotton pants. OVER THE TIGHTS AND SOCKS. needless to say, i might have looked ridiculous in the x-ray line at the airport, but i was rather cozy all the way to Sam's Club. (guys, what a party! if you only knew how exciting my life is every day!)

and so, if the first step to solving something like this is to admit you have a problem, then fine: i clearly have some kind of problem. but if i learned anything from my triple-leg-layered experience last night, it's that if this is wrong, BABY I DON'T WANNA BE RIGHT.

and now, some very naughty lusting:

Nep Colorblock Tights by Hansel From Basel via Need Supply

Horse Bit Socks by In God We Trust, via Need Supply

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Christmas Wish List

It's that time of year, I suppose. I've already slaved and stressed over gift lists for both my mother and my mother-in-law, so why play this sad game of want-versus-get all over again? Easy: The Internet is a fun place to pretend!

As I've grown up a little, entered and then exited the corporate world of dress codes, and made significant changes to my body, I've had some time to redefine my wardrobe a bit. Or at least, think about redefining it. Many of you probably know that the Hubs and I keep a relatively tight budget; often, we would much rather stash away our extra cash for new windows or a roof for our 100-year-old house than throw money at something as fickle as fashion. But who doesn't love to dream? Plus, being an overwhelmingly visual person, I've always felt more comfortable in situations where things are pretty. Daydreaming about tweaks and adjustments to my daily look is like a happy little mind exercise I do to keep myself surrounded with aesthetically stimulating things and new, fresh ideas. Like a total phony, most of this wardrobe analysis and construction begins and end with this thought experiment. But who can afford the time and cash to attain complete wardrobe perfection? Not anyone I've ever heard of. (Not anyone who wasn't broke, anyhow.)

So let's play pretend: If time, money, and other important life priorities weren't an issue, what changes would we make to our everyday looks, and what pieces would we add to round a wardrobe and make it more cohesive? Here are some elements I've been wanting to add to my winter wardrobe lately. (Warning: Those prone to overwhelming retail lust may wish to duck out at this moment, or keep their debit cards put safely away, as the eye candy is about to begin!)

1) More Skirts. 
I've had my eye on this stunner by Little Ocean for like, forevs. And though it's not currently in our budget, I'm always in favor of supporting local, handmade artists and craftspeople, and know a piece like this would be a wise wardrobe investment. Plus, look at those colors! *swoon*

Harvest Printed Linen Skirt by Little Ocean

2) Ankle-Height Moccasins. (Because you can never have too many moccasins, let's be real here.)

Vintage 1970's Minnetonka Leather Moccasins from Clever Nettle

These are already sold, and not to me, because I waffled and hesitated and ultimately wimped out.  *whimper* But they do represent a look I've been toying with lately--the pale, neutral ankle boot silhouette. These have leather soles, which are not a good match for snow. They would also probably not fit even my skinny jeans inside, but a pair that would might just be the perfect winter substitute for my normally not-very-weather-proof Minnetonka Kilties.

3) More tights, please!

Image via Jen Loves Kev
I don't know who got the bright idea to make tights something that grown-ups can wear, but whoever they are, I think I need to spend more time in their presence. I think I used to hate tights as a kid, thinking they were scratchy, constricting and too warm. But since I work in some kind of Office Arctic tights have become my new best friend. They allow me to dress up more even as the weather gets colder, help transition many warm-weather dresses and skirts to be more wearable year-round, and keep me from wearing the same boring jeans to work every day till they stretch out and start sagging in the rear. Plus, with fun, exciting new colors like the ones Jen models above, and at price points that allow for a small (or rather large, in my case) collection, tights seem like a no-brainer.

4) Socks. The wooly-er, the better.
It's no secret that I'm much more fond of cold weather than our hot, humid Wisconsin summers. So it's probably no surprise that I've become completely obsessed with trying to wear as much clothing at one time as possible.

Gipsy Over The Knee Socks from ASOS

Tall, ribbed, cozy socks are only a natural extension of my compulsive layering addiction. My favorite variation lately has been to layer warm, scrunchy socks over tights with shorter skirts, as expertly modeled by Tania from What Would a Nerd Wear:

Image via What a Nerd Would Wear
(post-script: I totally wanted this grey lace skirt from Target in the WORST WAY. I unwisely hesitated, then it showed up on this style blog, and another (I don't remember which one now, sadly) in the course of a week and immediately sold out. BOO. I may try to replicate it as a DIY project; if I do, I'll let you know how it goes!)

5) Green. And I mean the color. (Remember when it was only a color? Aye, the good old days...)
I've been really craving rich, deep colors lately as the weather's gotten colder. Green is one I don't have enough of in my wardrobe. I'm hoping to finish a handbag I started last winter (ha! if only you knew how common this sort of behavior was!) that's made from an old, evergreen-colored wool jacket. In the meantime, I'm trying to add it in here and there where I can.

"Green"set from my Polyvore
All in all, I realize that to be unsatisfied with my wardrobe is sort of silly; I know I have more than I truly need. But a little virtual window shopping always gets me thinking, sometimes not even about shopping for new items, but about creating new combinations in my existing wardrobe or about crafting new pieces myself. And that sort of visualizing can't be all bad. ;) (PS - I don't really need any more projects clogging up my life, but maybe someday I might be brave enough to take this experimenting to the next level and try Kendi's 30 for 30 remix challenge!)   ♥