Wednesday, February 29, 2012

pizza pie

alex came home from school and proudly uttered the eight words i have been waiting seven long years to hear:  mom, i eat artichokes and green olives now.  

this, from a child who has only ever accepted cheese pizza. 

cue the angels singing, harp strings snapping in half and vegetable gardens exploding all over the universe.  we made dinner together last night to celebrate.  sure, the pizza still had three separate sections, but we're making progress.  this is pretty major. 

leaping lizards

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happy leap day.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

instagram of the day: growing up

yesterday i was doing a little reading on another blog i follow.  the post i read focused on their little girl's ninth birthday and the party she had.  nine looked so big.  so grown up.  so un-far away and so not tiny enough to look this cute in a giant shower cap and an oversized tub.  

i have to be really careful what i read online.  more often than not it's harmless, but every once and a while, i'll read something really and truly awful.  a headline or story so disturbing it affects me for weeks and sometimes, years.   

i was a broadcasting major in college until a professor told me i only needed to get one thing right:  practice hearing the worst thing imaginable then set aside all judgement, opinion and emotion to report only on the facts.  i peaced out of the major the next day.  that type of thing just isn't possible for me.  that switch doesn't exist. 

yesterday, while doing some research online, i accidentally read something unimaginable and my heart was utterly destroyed.  i thought about it the rest of the afternoon, while driving home, cooking dinner and getting into bed.  even today, it's still there. 

last night  i pulled my little water baby out of the tub and squeezed her extra tight.  the world is a shitty place sometimes.  if only we could protect them from everything and keep them in giant shower caps and bubble baths forever. 

creative outlet

in the past couple of months a series of events have occurred that have really caused me to step back and take an inventory of things.  it started around christmas when some friends referred a friend of theirs to me for some help with an upcoming book.

what’s interesting about my new friend is that he has completely shifted everything in his life to pursue an entirely new venture and to write a book about it in the process.  without  going into too many details, the basic premise for the book centers on the idea that everyone has a true passion in life and work that they aspire to do.  i found our particular meeting and the conversation that followed to be both serendipitous and in some ways, life-altering.

to say that our conversation was timely is an understatement.   the idea about finding work that is enjoyable and creative has been swirling in my head for a number of years.  in recent months that swirling in my head has become ever-so-deafening to my ears.  i was beginning to feel as though i was drowning in my own self-doubt and uncertainty about what it is that I am supposed to be doing to earn a living.  i’ve obviously never drowned before, but i had a close call with it once and I can honestly say the feeling of having creative ideas and not being creative, feels a lot like being trapped under water.

i know i am not alone in this.  at some point whether you’re sitting in a cube or sitting in 5 o’clock traffic, daydreams of finding what you love to do are always just a gaze in the distance away.  there are a million reasons to talk yourself out of it but with any luck, there are a million and one reasons to push you toward it.  the struggle is finding balance and of course finding what it is that you want to do and making it happen.  well, and having faith that you'll get paid in the process somehow too. 

lately i have been seeking out more opportunities where i can fine tune my creativity and hone in on the type of projects that allow me to take ownership in my work and feel proud of the time i devote to it.

in the last month and as recently as yesterday, i have found myself among two very different but very unique groups of creative people.  and within these groups i have the opportunity to work on two projects that excite me and make me feel good about the work I am contributing.   i feel like i’ve been holding my breath for opportunities like this to arrive and for the first time, in a long time, i can breathe again.

let me be clear, i'm not quitting my full time job.  (boss, if you're reading this...) but i am increasing the amount of freelance projects i take on and surrounding myself with opportunities to try new things.  i can't be certain any of it will go anywhere but I know if i don't at least dip my toe in, i'll never know for sure.  

so we'll see how it goes.  with any luck, a few new projects here and there will be just what I need to keep my head above water and my creativity afloat. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

instagram of the day: yum

hello new friend.  do you know about this yet?

lots of yummy flavors too.  darn.  i even ran on the treadmill this morning and everything.

a little shameless promotion

we're big fans of apartment therapy and so excited to be a nominee for their 2012 homies!  head on over to their website and cast your vote in the "best family blog" category for your homegirls & homeboy at 26 east!  holla!

wild imagination

when alex asked me if i was interested in hearing about how she became a magical wolf from a far away dream world,  i responded like any reasonable parent would.  um.....duh!  and then i grabbed my camera to make sure whatever happened next was recorded and saved forever.  you know, in the event that we ever need to revisit this in say, 20 years.

a series of stories followed, were recorded and then uploaded to youtube.   i concluded our sit-down with an interview, just to be sure i had all the magical facts straight.

the wolf-interview is nearly seven minutes of you're life you'll never get back, but i think you'll agree, there are far worse ways to spend seven minutes.  i am willing to bet none of them are nearly as entertaining.

i ran out of storage space just as we were getting to dessert.  and in case you were wondering, she did eventually remember those tasty desserts wolves enjoy so much: snow-cones.  of course.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

first world problems

and now for a little installment i like to call first world problems.

i usually try not to complain about life's minor inconveniences, because let's face it, while there are certainly some annoying things in life,  we really have it pretty good.  there are much MUCH bigger issues to discuss that very few of us can begin to relate to, but every now again something stupid puts a death grip on my nerves and I feel the need to wiggle out by way of whining.

so let's jump in shall we?  i am not a smoker.  have I ever smoked?  mom/dad/alex, are you reading this?  maybe/allegedly i did it once or twice in college and during a brief identity crisis just after graduation.  you know that time in life when it makes total sense to bartend until 4 am through the grace of red bull and nicotine?  but I've never been a full blown smoker nor have i ever owned my own pack of cigarettes.

see how i justified it there?

bottom line: smokers stink and my apologies if you are in fact a smoker.  you do in fact smell.  please accept my public service announcement in making you aware of this if you didn't already know it to be true.

i have a very hyperactive sense of smell and an attitude problem in the early am.  prior to having the required dose of caffeine i wake up, shower up, dress up, communicate with husband, seven year-old  and cats who think toilets are for drinking.

so far everything is going great and it's just any other day.  smell is not an issue and attitude has not yet come into play.

but then i get to the main doors of my office where a ridiculously large crowd of people have gathered to kick-start the morning with a marlboro and suddenly cats licking toilets isn't the most disgusting thing that has happened today.

there is usually a huge debate that happens in my head at this point.  do i wait it out?  see if they all go in soon?  see if more join?  do i make a break for it?  run quickly through them hoping to somehow escape the giant cloud that now covers the entire entryway?  do I run through waving my hands in utter disgust coughing obnoxiously and hacking with gusto?  do i glare at them?  stare at them?  walk through them with stink bombs?  no seriously.... is this legal?  i would like to do this.

i'm open to suggestions and would love to get yours.  i need a way to say:  seriously people, you might not care about your impending wrinkles, stench and death, but i do happen to care about the scent of all of those things lingering in my hair and on my clothes for the remainder of the day.  i get all of your suck-y stench with none of the buzz-y benefits and it stinks.

obviously we work together so let's actually work together.  if you need a disgusting habit, let's see if we can put our smelly heads of hair together and come up with one for you.  and in the event that we can't think of something less disgusting for you to try, i know a couple of felines who might be able to weigh in...

instagram of the day: the good foot

of the weekend actually....

the goodfoot at the uptown theatre on saturday night.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

couch potato

the upcoming season of mad men has me so excited for all the drama, amazing fashion and retro decor that i can't  help but think about some new furniture to plop down on to enjoy all the madness.  i am in love with this mid-century inspired couch & chair found here.

lots of fun colors to choose from too.  love the charcoal-y gray tones and the mustard-y yellows.  hey a girl can dream, can't she? 

it would all go so nicely with this totally insane print from cb2 that just makes me hysterically happy: 

let's get liberated

its's almost here!  squeals!

Friday, February 17, 2012

instagram of the day: house lust

i walked by this house last night and thought about knocking on the door and asking if i could just look inside. they probably would've went for it.


this isn't a topic that i am going to go into a lot of detail about.  mainly because my husband would not approve, but also because i would just embarrass myself.  i will however say that sometime around august of 2010 something very strange happened.  we were about to host a double engagement party in our home and we made the decision to install a new heating & cooling system.

and that is where i stop describing any of what happened next.  i will however say that since then, someone (it's not me) has become mildly (to put it very mildly) obsessed with HVAC systems and has been cutting holes in my walls.  i don't know exactly why it's happening or when it will all end, but for the past few months things have looked a little like this around here:

 i'm with the cat.  what in the world is going on here? and then out of nowhere this happened too....

huh?  this hunk of burning duct work love will be back later with more details.... for all of us...because seriously, i am dying to know too.

Giveaway Day - this contest is now closed.

UPDATE: congrats to jen!  you are the lucky winner!  thanks to all who entered!  we'll do another giveaway soon!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

instagram of the day & a bonus feature

'atta girl. and check out this bonus video...

how do you say "i could just die!" in french???

randomness: how cool is storycorp?

last summer npr was was promoting storycorp pretty heavily in our area.  it's probably one of the cooler ideas i've heard about on the radio.  i could honestly kick myself and my husband for not walking up the road to take part in it.  there was an airstream recording facility 1/2 a mile from our house for a number of weeks. the idea behind storycorp is simple.  from their website: 

Since 2003, StoryCorps has collected and archived more than 40,000 interviews from more than 70,000 participants.  Bring your friend or loved one to the StoryCorps recording facility. Our trained staff will explain the process, make you feel comfortable, and sit with you during your 40-minute session. At the end of your session, you’ll receive a free broadcast-quality CD to share with to family and friends, and a second copy will be archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress

that's freaking cool. 

long story short, we didn't walk up the road, therefore didn't interview each other, hence don't have an interview on file for our great-great-great-great grand kids..........yet. 

with valentines day happening earlier in the week, npr was sharing some of the love stories they have gathered over the years from all the interviews they have conducted.  some of them have even been set to animation.  the story of danny & annie about caused me to get in a six car pileup.  this is just beyond any words i can write.  you'll have to hear it for yourself to understand.  go grab a box of tissues and prepare to be moved.  

in the spirit of lovers, this is danny & annie's story: 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

instagram of the day

while i am still the last facebook hold-out on the planet, (i'm not convinced its gonna take off) instagram and twitter are my new things.  i know, welcome to the universe.  if you aren't using instagram, it's basically just a fun filter app for your iphone.  a way to take photos with an artsy-filter-y twist.

introducing a new feature here at 26 east: the instagram of the day.  you can of course find these shots and more by following us on twitter @twentysixeast, or just check in here to see a snapshot of our day.

today's instgram is technically yesterdays instagram, but you wouldn't have known that until i told you.  :)  so without further adieu, we give you: valentines day dinner-gram.

and it was delicious.  and fat free.

hey!  have you entered our contest yet?  it ends tomorrow.  what are you waiting for?  click here to enter!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

made with love

i know not everyone gets into valentines day, but we love, love, love it.  there is just something about making little love notes and handing out treats that makes you feel like a little kid again.  i love that feeling of getting ready for the class party and strategically placing that one special valentine card in the desk of someone special.  nothing over the top, just a little note and a simple treat, something special to say i'm thinking of you.    

i wonder how much longer alex will want to partake in this tradition?  i was trying to think of when i became too old for taking valentines to school and then i remembered, i never did.  this morning as i loaded alex's backpack with cards and suckers for friends in her class, i loaded my laptop bag with mini boxes of nerds for friends around the office.  we won't get to stop working at 2 pm and have cupcakes and make art projects, but at least a momentary sugar high in the board room will be in order. 

gotta love that. 

how about you? do you love valentines day?  what did you do for your valentine this year? 

did you forget your valentine this year?  there is still time to enter our giveaway and surprise your sweetie with a customized piece of art!  click here to enter!

Monday, February 6, 2012

philanthropy is for the birds

let me explain.

by now you know the littlest member of our household turned seven this year and when a birthday falls within a week or two of christmas, a couple of things happen:  excessive gifts and more excess.

we have been helping alex to understand her needs versus wants, especially around the holidays when every television commercial laser focuses on her demographic and fires away.  so we decided to take aim on those less fortunate and with an unexpected buy-in from the wee one, we devised a plan to do some good.

we received a holiday giving catalog from the world wildlife fund in early december and it became a huge hit in our home.  alex is an animal lover - especially animals of the stuffed variety - so when she realized there were endangered animals that she could actually help, we suggested she use her birthday party as an opportunity to do a little giving rather than receiving, and she totally went for it!

through the wwf she decided to symbolically adopt a bird.  a toco toucan to be exact.

we found out that when you "adopt" an animal through wwf, you get a stuffed replica of the friend you help save and considering stuffed animals are like gold around here, it worked out pretty well.  so rather than a house full of more toys from her 12 birthday party attendees, alex raised $103 and saved not only a bird friend, but an adorable arctic hare as well.

everybody feels right at home. i don't know how the arctic hare feels about this unseasonably warm winter we're having, but I can tell you the toco toucan has been resting quite comfortably.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

second home-a-versary

even though we became the proud owners sometime in mid-december of 2009, we didn't officially spend our first night at home until the 31st of january, 2010.  well, you know what that means - time flies and we've now been here for exactly 2 years!

happy home-a-versary 26 east!  you're like a fine wine...and in 2013, not only will it have been 3 years, but you'll be 100 years old!  we should probably have a party.

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