Fashion Backwards: I Never Know What to Wear

2127110-p-MULTIVIEWHere is the downside to (predominantly) women’s conferences that hasn’t been mentioned in any debate over the merits: clothing. Figuring out what to wear and how to navigate a field where fellow bloggers judge you by your shoes is a total pain.

For the first time in about six or seven years, I’m not going to BlogHer, but that has nothing to do with the clothes or the shoes. The upside of BlogHer growing so large is that you can wear whatever you want. Wear a dress, wear shorts (although pack a cardigan or risk freezing due to air conditioning), wear a t-shirt with your Twitter handle written in sequins across your chest (shudder), it doesn’t matter.

This year I’m going to Alt Summit, and while everyone I’ve met online seems really nice, it’s definitely a more artistic, fashion-savvy crowd, not to mention it’s at the Fairmont, which means my sneakers and capris are staying home. Adding to my panic is that the party theme one night is Alice in Wonderland. I wish I’d know this while I was at Disneyland last; one crazy hat could have solved my problem. Between kids, work, a yet to be unpacked home, and various other time sucks (ants! wonky tire pressure!), throwing together a Queen of Hearts-themed outfit is not going to happen. Do I go hipster or do I dress up?

I ditched work to head to the mall this morning to find a dress and a dressy cardigan. I’m sure there is a name for that – knit bolero? – but I don’t know. I bought a dress and two knit boleros (doesn’t sound right. Shrunken sweaters?), and as I walked toward the food court to pick up a victorious salad, I checked Facebook where a few people were rallying together to say let’s make this casual. Oh no, we will not. I just bought a dress, so this thing is on.

But now the shoes. I may go casual after all.

Doing It and Doing It Wrong

Endless Whimpering from Throat Pain

I’ve had a sore throat for what feels like forever. I’m at that place where I’ve given up hope on ever feeling better. I tried gargling with salt water, and with a strong gag reflex, it immediately looked like I was simultaneously choking, vomiting, and convulsing. Rocket watched the whole thing, then casually said, “I think you did that wrong.”

The Luck Enigma

Clover and a friend were discussing how they both like the song Get Lucky, but they don’t get it.

Clover: I don’t understand how staying up all night helps you get lucky.
Friend: Oh, I know! A casino! They’re open late.

Lately around here:

These brownies were the basis for a make your own sundae bar at Rocket’s family birthday dinner. Add more peanut butter than recommended, fewer chocolate chips (or not), and if using Starbucks VIA for the coffee, two packets are enough.

These are the best shoe inserts for plantar fasciitis.

This book will keep a 10 year old girl occupied for a day.

One of my summer goals was accomplished. If I don’t pick up the pace, my summer will continue into November. My LinkedIn profile has been updated to slightly better than total neglect.

Remodel: Ready to Recap From Start to Finish

I'm finally ready to talk about the remodel. People ask me questions frequently and want to talk about it, but I don't. Part is been-there, done-that, part is that is the wound is still a teensy bit open. We love the house, it's incredible, and it will work well for our family, but there is the part where I still remember the downsides of construction. Every day was a confrontation, from tiny things to huge, potential deal breakers, and it wasn't fun. Not to mention, we lived here among the dust heaps, construction tools and debris with little escape. 

I could not have done this remodel 10 years ago. I don't think at age 30 – ahem – I could have stood so strong for so long. A friend told me last year that her mother always says, "If you don't open your mouth, you open your wallet." I said that to myself many times during the remodel, that if I didn't speak up, I'd end up paying for something I didn't want, didn't work, or was flat out wrong. Here is a simple fact of construction, and really life: you are your own advocate. No one was going to speak up for us. Many times I'd point something out to our builder, only to have the response be, "yeah, I noticed that, too." What I wanted to scream each time was, "THEN WHY DIDN'T YOU DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT?" 

See, the wound hasn't healed. 

Then there are the moments, when I am sitting at the kitchen island on the family room side, working at my laptop, while dinner cooks a few feet in front of me, the kids are just behind me watching a baseball game, and golden light comes through the slats of of the kitchen shutters and I can see the pink roses outside in the sunlight. 

Tippytoes-dinnertimelight

Or there is the morning, when I reach my office early, it's peaceful, and look out at Rocket coloring at the art table, awash in soft light. 

Tippytoes-arttablelight
Those moments are perfect and it was all worth it to take our okay house and make it something that will work for us long term through the many stages of our family, with young kids, to teens, to someday an empty nest. 

This week I'll put a Band-Aid over the wound and begin to talk about what went well, what we'd do differently, and of course, show pictures, beginning with our master bathroom, simply because it is the cleanest room in the house. 

How – and Why – We Ended Up with a Furby

Tippytoes-furby-2

The crazy eyes will get you.

No way, we thought when Clover made a very late addition to her Christmas list. No way are we getting a toy that will only hold her interest briefly, while annoying us for a very long time. That it was too close to Christmas would have been a solid final response, but really, there was a set of grandparents who still needed a gift idea because all of the other art supplies, books, and trinkets had been taken by other relatives who don't wait until the last minute to shop.

Please, no Furby, we continued. 

Suddenly, it was the eve before Christmas Eve, and the grandparents still had no gift. I started having second thoughts. It wasn't because my parents still needed a gift, but if they hadn't, the issue would have been moot. As we thought about what they could buy her, the Furby was the only thing left that Clover really wanted. There were two small reasons why I was weakening: one, I worried her friends would get one, and she'd be hurt, especially because her best friend already owned one and they wanted to play with them together; and two, a gift needed to be purchased. It was the third thought that was major, and won Clover a Furby: she's 10. She's on the cusp of growing out of toys, and into the realm of teen-dom. Shouldn't we hold on to childhood for one more Christmas? Next Christmas it could be electronics, and clothes, but for now, it was still a toy. 

That thought was how Kevin and I found ourselves late at night at a Toys R Us that appeared to have been looted. We waded through the mess to find there were no Furbys left. Of course, once we decide to let her get a Furby, it's too late. I drove through the rain to Target, while he looked on his phone to see if Amazon could still overnight (nope). Thankfully, pushed back on a low shelf, were six yellow and teal Furbys, ready for a home. 

We didn't tell Clover our opinion had changed, which meant when she ripped open the gift from my parents, she was both surprised and excited. One of the first things she said was to me, "HA! I GOT IT! HAHA!" Her moment of excitement was worth it, not only because it was the toy we'd rejected, but because how often in life do you get a present wrapped so that it cannot be guessed by size, sound, or shape, only to have it be the one thing you really wanted, but never thought you'd get. Even if we've learned more about Furbish than we'd ever wanted to know (and we'd wanted to know nothing), it was worth it.

As long as no one wakes him up. Please, do not wake him up.

Remodel: Déjà Vu, There is Light at the End of this Tunnel

Tippytoes-heartrockThe past two weeks were the vacation that was not a vacation. Add it to the long and growing list of things ruined by a remodel. We came home from Christmas to be told that the flooring wouldn't be finished in time for us to host our annual Superbowl party. Beleaguered should have been my word for 2012.

The good news is that four weeks from today, the house will be so close to done. But, I may have said that in November, too. The bad news, other than the fact that I may have made the one month announcement before and may be wrong again, is that the next four weeks will be incredibly chaotic as everyone returns – the plumber, electrician, painters, roofers – added to the builder and his one man crew, who will be joined by the flooring team. 

Last month I was jealous of everyone posting holiday photos of warm fires near beautifully decorated Christmas trees or freshly baked and decorated cookies. Today, I am ready to unfriend all of the people relishing in a quiet home as school is back in session. I'm back at Starbucks, having almost completely forgotten what quiet or privacy was ever like. Some friends joke about carefully folding undergarments and hiding them under clothes while visiting the doctor or gynecologist. Recently, after teams of men had been working in my bedroom all day, I walked in to find three of my bras hanging in the closet doorway. Why had I wasted all of this modesty at the doctor's office? I have lost the battle for privacy. 

Being close to the end means visible things are happening again. All of the counter tops are in, including the shower details, mantle base, and most importantly, the island of (my) dreams. 

Tippytoes-counter

Tippytoes-counterlaundry

Tippytoes-shower

Tippytoes-bathvanity

The mantle is almost complete, but it took a lot of negotiations. Our issue is that the TV needs to go above the mantle, which shut up, I know, some people hate, but due to the shape of the room, it's what we need to do. With the TV above the mantle, I didn't want the mantle high because that would make the TV too high, yet the mantle needed to be high enough to meet the safety requirements of the fireplace.

Tippytoes-mantledetails

It was designed, negotiated, built, questioned, renegotiated, and rebuilt. Thankfully, now it's down to the finish details.

Tippytoes-mantlestage2

Things I never thought I'd hear during the remodel, especially from the electrician: "Uhhh, I think I woke the Furby." 

Tippytoes-furby

The best home security device ever.