A.P., The Halloweenie

A.P. and I were invited to a Halloween party, which A.P. does NOT want to go to. (He's the Halloweenie...get it?) Alas, he's going anyway...assuming we can find a costume. We went to this awesome, gigantic Halloween store this past weekend, but walked out empty-handed. I have come up with many, many ideas for what we could be, but A.P. can't get on board with any. Here are my top choices:

  • Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein - He wears a white t-shirt, suit jacket and we do up his makeup like Frankenstein. I wear a white dress, and do my hair in a giant beehive with white on the sides.
  • King Kong and Anne Darrow - A.P. really wants to wear a gorilla costume, so this was my compromise. He could wear his gorilla costume and carry around a small Empire State Building, and I could wear a white dress and style my hair with finger waves, wear red lipstick, etc.
  • The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men - This is my number one pick because it's clever but requires very little "costume." I wear a gray t-shirt with mice all over it, slick back my hair, and carry around one of my mustaches on a stick (recycled from our wedding!). A.P. wears a purple shirt covered in purple balloons and carries around a sword.

That's all I got. Do you guys have any ideas? What are you all dressing up as this year?


Officially Fall...Sort Of

It's finally officially fall...or so it seems. It's been unseasonably warm lately, and frankly even yesterday felt like the end of summer, but today's crisp, cool temperature, and the rain and wind made it feel like real fall weather. I always know it's fall when I'm wearing sweaters and am walking down the street and simultaneously sweating from wearing so many layers and getting an earache from the cold wind.

A wee while back I decided that fall was my favorite season. Until then, I had always said my favorite seasons were the in-between ones: spring and fall. But it was this year that made me decide that I've been lying to myself. Fall is my real favorite. Everything about it is awesome:

  • Apple picking
  • The 1st day of school, and that "fresh, new start" feeling (Not that I'm a student anymore, but you know...I still get that excited feeling when I see school supplies lining the aisles.)
  • Beautiful, round orange pumpkins
  • Gorgeous deep red Indian corn
  • Beautiful, unique gourds
  • Pumpkin flavored ANYTHING (So far this season, I've had pumpkin butter, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bread, and I'm making a pumpkin pudding pie for dessert tonight!)
  • Gold, russet, and orange mums
  • Halloween
  • Thanksgiving
  • Pilgrims, and Puritanism in general (I know that sounds weird, but it's one of my favorite periods of American Literature!)
  • Layering clothes
  • I get to wear my Uggs again! So comfy...like working in slippers!
  • Knee socks
  • Corduroy
  • Pretty sweaters
And I swear, the list could go on and on.

It's around this year that I always remember the quote from You've Got Mail where Meg Ryan's characters tells Tom Hanks's character, "Don't you love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address." I don't live in New York, and while I'm sure New York in the fall is lovely, there's nothing I love more than fall in Chicago. I love walking down the street and kicking the leaves about. The tree lined lake and the way the waves begin to thrash about as it gets colder? Who could ask for anything more beautiful! But otherwise, that line always makes me smile. I would love nothing more in this world than for someone to give me a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils! How weirdly wonderful! Or wonderfully weird!

This year we were lucky enough to go apple picking. Sadly it was on one of the least fall days of the season...it was 80 degrees out. Plus, A.P. didn't tell me that it was that warm out, and the days before, it had been rather chilly. So my dumb ass wears my Uggs and a cardigan! I was sweating like an animal out there picking apples in the hot sun! Still, it was a lot of fun. It was our second time going to this orchard, too, so in some ways it's become a tradition. Maybe one day, if we're still going there, we can take our future bebes. Who knows? Until then, enjoy some of the photos from this year!

We had never eaten Culver's before, so on the way, we made a pit stop for gas, and got some Culver's. It was...meh.

Go Hawks!

It was so hot and we were so thirsty that we each drank TWO cold ciders! And a caramel apple!

Let's get another closeup on that caramel apple!

One of the other things we didn't take pictures of were the cider donuts! OMG! Soooo delicious! You wait in this line, and then they hand you your bag with steaming hot cider donuts. I also bought a bag to freeze! So kickass!

A.P. picks out the perfect pumpkin



This is the first time I've had money, like real money, in years. Why? I graduated undergrad early...I should be ahead of the game. But here's how my 20s break down (sidebar: With my 30th right around the corner, I'm doing a lot of reflection on my 20s):

  1. Age 22-24 - My crappy first job in advertising where I made a pittance, and stayed too long, and so never made more than a pittance. Seriously. I'm embarrassed to type it, but at my first "real" job I made $27,500! Isn't that appalling? And when I got my raise the next year, it went up to $30,000 (base) + $300/mo bonus assuming I made no mistakes. And there were a few months where I made some mistakes, and so just didn't earn $300 of my monthly salary. Sucked BIG TIME. Aren't you embarrassed for my former boss? Aren't you embarrassed for me?
  2. Age 24-25 - I gave up my small pittance for an even smaller one. I joined Americorps to gain some experience in my field, and do something good. After working in advertising for a couple of years, I needed something soul cleansing. I earned what they called a living wage, but which I often referred to as my "barely living wage." You get the idea.
  3. Age 25-28 - Grad school. Need I say more? I nannied my way through, and I hate to admit this, but when I had to do an internship as part of my grad program, A.P. helped me out by paying our joint bills. This was, I think, the poorest I'd ever been, because even undergrad wasn't that bad. At the time I was living in Iowa, and it was way cheaper living.
  4. Age 28-29 - Or last year, which was probably my first year making a nice, comfy salary. Of course I have some credit card debt (not nearly as much as I could have because I lived so frugally) and there were my ginormous student loan bills each month, but I was still earning decent money. But we were saving for our wedding, so I was back to broke. We planned our wedding in six months, and that's how long we saved. We each saved $1K a month, which meant I was back to living broke. Then, when the wedding was over, and I thought I could finally buy some new freaking clothes, I got laid off. So it was back to squirreling away cash, living frugally, and being all around broke. I had a nervous breakdown a few times around A.P. when I just screamed and cried about how sick I was of being poor. And as you remember, I was not exactly the happiest camper around.
Which brings us to the present...I'm 29. Despite the squirreling away of cash, I managed to pay off the bit I owed on our wedding (which was fairly nominal), as well as one of my student loans. That had a lot to do with me working that temp job over the summer along with my severance pay, which meant I still also felt like I was busting my ass for nothing. It paid off, though, when I got hired for my current job.

Now, I have money...and I can spend it, and save it, and not feel like a broke-ass motherlover. But now...I'm addicted to buying clothes. When I used to have steady income, I would shop, shop, shop. Always on sale, since that's what I could afford, but I love fashion and clothes, so that's what I liked to spend my money on. I was young, though, and didn't really have any financial goals. I saved some, spent more, and figured it would all work itself out one day.

Now, though, I have financial goals for myself...and for my marriage. I want a certain amount of money saved, and I want us to save to buy a car and a house and who knows what else! So the shopping is not really working out in my favor (though I am looking REAL good!). In the past month, I've spend hundreds of dollars on clothes...so many, many clothes. Seriously...I must...stop...shopping.

On the plus side, my insane spending has made me realize how happy I am with our money setup of yours, mine, ours. It may mean more accounts to track, but it also means not having a man bitch at me for my shopping...especially when it's money I earned.

Which leads me to my question for all of you: Does anybody else do yours, mine, ours accounting? If so, how do you keep track of finances? We are in the process of a complete financial overhaul (as A.P. is calling it), and are thinking about using Quicken, but aren't sure if it's ideal. Any suggestions would be welcome.

Have a great weekend! And don't shop too much!


Thanks for Giving


A.P. and I are thinking about hosting Thanksgiving this year. We hosted two years ago, but passed the buck last year. Last time we made the bird, and dessert, and my family brought the side dishes, appetizers, salad, etc. I'm debating whether or not to do the same thing this year, or do the whole thing myself. It's fun either way, I guess (and by fun, I mean pain in the ass).

Anyway, I have pilgrims, and pumpkins, and candy corn, and beautiful read cornucopias on the brain...like these beautiful pilgrim silhouettes from Sara Dyer Designs, on etsy.

image via saradyerdesign shop on etsy

Can't you just picture them leaned on a buffet where you have your beautiful desserts laid out? Or propped up behind a bar? Or, if you're like us, and serving your food buffet style, you might even place them in the middle of a table, with all the food surrounding it! Endless possibilities!

If you aren't like us, and are fortunate enough to have a dining room, can't you just picture these beautiful turkey place cards from cuddlecreature atop rust colored cloth napkins?

image via cuddlecreature shop on etsy
So gorgeous!

Are you guys planning Thanksgiving yet? If so, what are you plans for this year's celebration?


Right now...

Right now, A.P. is cleaning the kitchen and hacking. I mean hardcore, really loud, annoying (and disgusting) throat clearing/hacking. It's been going on for over twenty minutes. It started in the living room, and now he's in the kitchen, and I can STILL hear it loud and clear.

Living with boys is sometimes so gross...

...Here's something that's not:

Image via Unruly Things

How awesome are these clockbooks? I have a ton of vintage books decorating our living room, and A.P. had to finally lay his foot down and say no more book decorating. Would one more really be so bad, though? Especially when they look like this?


Getting Organized

It's amazing how when you get some areas of your life organized, others follow. Even though I'm at a new company this year, this is technically my second year doing the job, and it is like night and day. Last year, on top of all my personal drama, I ran around work like a chicken with my head cut off. It was insane. Plus the long commute, and the stress and anxiety towards the end, when I got laid off made for a less than pleasant work environment. I hated staying late, because that meant getting home at an ungodly hour, and so my desk was always a gigantic mess, with paperwork everywhere, and stuff just strewn about. My life was also unorganized. Between the stress of work and the stress of life, it was all I could do to pass out in front of the TV when I got home. Laundry piled up, there was crap everywhere for the wedding. It was like a tornado hit. I didn't even like having people over to visit, it was such a mess.

This year is a complete 180! It started with my summer project of hardcore cleaning and redecorating this place. Our place is still not 100% perfect, but it's so much better than it was. There is actual living space, well, when A.P.'s clothes are not strewn about...but even that is manageable. The mess from before was borderline Hoarders-like behavior. I mean that's an exaggeration, but it was bad. And, it gets better! My workspace is immaculate! Every first day of my work week, I stay late and file/organize. It's awesome. I'm also insane when I come home from work every day. I switch into my home clothes (or play clothes, as I call them), and immediately put away my work clothes, and work stuff. So far, these routines are awesome.

The point is it seems like one area of my life being organized had led to my whole life slowly, but surely getting more and more organized. I am finally starting to feel grown up. It's crazy, but it's happening. I'm beginning to understand people who are on top of shit, and have every little part of their lives organized. It's happening to me! Scary!

My goal to getting my life completely organized is to get all of my work (personal and business) done in 5 days so that I can have two true days of relaxation. As of now, I am almost meeting that goal, but it is hard! In addition to the little routines, like putting things away right away (which may be easy for some, but it's hard for me...and really hard for A.P.), I also decided to put in 1.5 hours of work every day after I get home from work (and even if I get home from work hours later than normal). That really sucks a lot, but it sucks a lot less than working on Sundays, which ruins my whole day and puts me in a terrible mood. It's also work I see paying off in the future. I'd hate to have to work so hard when we have kids one day, but it's nice to know that I won't be working six days a week, and that I'm really working towards having a personal life again.

So that being said...Any organizational tips??


Scissor Variations Linked to My Wedding! Yay!

I am so pleased to announce that one of my favorite blogs, the beautiful Scissor Variations, linked to our wedding recap. Scissor Variations is written by Janice of the gorgeous supply store Papier Valise. After I started recapping our wedding, I sent in an email about my place cards, which I made based on one of her tutorials. She linked to this blog and my wedding recap in her most recent evermore, thank you posts. I'm so flattered she had such kind things to say about our wedding. Sigh...I heart Scissor Variations.


So beautiful!

How beautiful are these amazing, custom cake toppers? Concarta is L.A. artist Gwen who makes these beautiful sculpted paper cake toppers. Check them out! And if you're interested in learning more about her, check out her etsy seller interview here (she was a featured seller in July of this year), and of course her etsy store can be found here.

All images via Concarta


Happy News from Blogland!

Good things are happening to some of the bloggers whose blogs I read...

Felix at Avoision is one of five finalists for The Museum of Science and Industry's Month at the Museum. Check out his profile here. The voting has ended and the winners will be announced this Wednesday! Let's keep our fingers crossed for him!

And after a tough summer and some ups and downs (with more of the latter), Drea of The Maiden Metallurgist fame is expecting her first child with her husband, Josh!

Congrats to both! I can't wait to see how both plots develop!


Name Changing

I was reading one of my favorite blogs, A Cup of Jo, and an interesting topic started brewing in the comments of this post: Did you/Are you going to change your last name when you get married? I did not. This is nothing new, really. I've gotten into separate fights with both of my parents over my unwillingness to change my last name when I got married (and that was before I even met A.P.). And maybe part of me always thought that when it actually came down to it, I would change my name. But I didn't. And I have some good reasons and some not so good reasons for doing this.

Start with the good:

I feel like I am my own person, and I have a very strong identity that, over the past 30 years, has been growing with my last name. I am not this new person with this new last name, and I wouldn't even know where to begin in constructing an identity around A.P.'s last name. I don't know if that makes sense, but my mind was blown over the possibility of becoming this new person.

I also have this weird thing about being my father's daughter. I would never tell my father this (especially having argued with him in the past over this issue), but part of the reason I kept my name was because of him. I am the youngest of five, and by a long shot. Meaning my father is no spring chicken. While most of my friends have parents in their 50s/early 60s, my mother is 72 and my father will be 81 in less than a month. I have only one other friend with this type of situation and it's because her father was married before. Anyway, ever since I can remember I was worried that my father would die before I got married. As you saw in the pictures, that turned out not to be an issue. But the new issue is whether or not he will meet our children one day. And since there is always a strong chance he won't, despite his good health, I felt obligated to keep my father's last name, rather than take on my new husband's. Plus, my father was actually this very famous athlete, and I feel like if I give up my last name, I give up that history, too. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I feel like there is a pride in keeping my father's name.

Now for the not so good reasons:

I am insanely lazy. The thought of filling out paperwork, changing loans, credit cards, bills, getting a new driver's license, etc. made my head spin. It seemed like a huge pain in the ass for something I wasn't even sure I wanted.

I feel like if the situation were reversed we wouldn't even be having this conversation. I can't imagine men would change their names as easily as women do. Which I told A.P....many times.

Despite a lifetime of growing up hating my last name, which can be made fun of so easily (I can't remember if I've ever said this before, but my name isn't really Marty J Christopher...it's a pseudonym/joke name I blog under...in other words, Christopher is NOT the name that I kept, and NOT the name that can be made fun of so easily), I hate the blandness of A.P.'s last name. It's so...all American, and that is the last thing I've felt my whole life.

Plus I accidentally Googled what my name would have been if I'd changed it. How do you accidentally Google something you ask? Well, I was actually going to Google myself and since A.P. and I share the same last name initial, Google suggested I search for this girl who has my exact name (and spelling!) if I had changed my name and taken A.P.'s name. And what turned up you ask? Just this crazy friend of Miley Cyrus who parties all the time and is like a young Lindsay Lohan. In other words, so not me.

I don't know if I made the right decision or not. It has occurred to me that when we have children one day, I will not have the same last name as them. But I hope that's more of an inspiration than a bad thing. I hope that my children learn that I am a strong person, who is independent, and that I made sure I was fully formed and knew who I was and what I wanted in life before I got married.

My other hope? That I don't ever regret my decision, try to change my name and find out I can't...like this blogger. Yikes! Talk about a bureaucratic nightmare.

So...did you/are you going to change your last name? After reading the comments out there, I feel like I'm in the minority, but I'd love to hear what people have to say.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...