Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Beaux Arts and beauty, ye bitches!

Alert the (social?) media, I have returned from Fall break!  I had a week off to relax and unwind so naturally I scheduled two jam-packed vacations and my sinuses are now suffering the consequences of so much travel.  Since I feel like this blog has turned into an ongoing list of my ailments and travels, we'll just skip to the good part.  Feel free to catch up (or follow me!) on Instagram for a real blow-by-blow of all my activities with moderately entertaining captions.  You've never seen a sandy beach until you've seen MY sandy beach pics!

After a half week in Florida I booked it to DC for a ladies' weekend and to take my citizenship to another level.  After months of emails and planning we were able to get a tour of the White House!  America, fuck yeah!  Figured we should just do all three branches of government and decided on a tour of the Capitol and Supreme Court.  Notorious RBG here we come!

Sadly, the White House tour was not very exciting.  Partly because I KNEW that somehow we were going to meet Michelle and we did not and I was pretty pissed.  How rude of her.  We did however wait about an hour in line to get a 15 minute self-guided tour of the East Wing.  I think you can see more of the White House in an episode of Scandal.

However I DID enjoy the tour of the Capitol which I'm pretty sure I spelled 'Capital' on about half of all my 'grams and tweets last week.  

We had a (volunteer) docent who was incredibly knowledgeable and helpful.  And who can resist a ballet pink coffered ceiling?  

The art and statuary was pretty incredible and here is one of my favorites in the Rotunda: "The Portrait Monument" featuring Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott.  It debuted in 1921 where is sat for ONE day and then was housed in the basement for 76 years until 1997 when it came back into the Rotunda on Mother's Day.  They some badass suffragette bitches who sat in the basement way too damn long.

After a quick stroll through an underground tunnel we came upon the Library of Congress which was by far the highlight of my DC tour.

I may be a weirdo modernist/Brutalist-lover but who can resist dozens of pairs of immaculate Corinthian columns?  

With the exception of the dramatic ceiling and mosaic-tiled floors, the entirety of the structure was in white marble.

Oh hello, you sexy, sexy marble man beast of a building.
I love me some good contrast.

It was so pretty I forgot that Michelle Obama stood me up for the meeting that existed only in my head.

"Hear ye, hear ye, let us inlayeth some glorious mosaic IN theith marble floors!" - A very smart early American architect person probably.

But the ceiling was what made me drool and walk around the mezzanine slack-jawed in circles for about an hour.  The center has a stained glass coffered ceiling because why wouldn't it be?  This is one hunnit percent Beaux Arts, ye bitches!

Read the entire list of quotes and references painted on the ceiling here.  I wish we'd done the guided tour here but it was an afterthought and we were tired.  Walking on concrete and marble for six hours really starts to wear on you and your plantar fasciitis.  Dammit, what'd I say about travel and ailments?!?!?

I feel like they're just showing off now.  Sheesh, America.  Tone it down.

Ornamentation can't be all bad, right?!

All of these pictures were taken in the grand hall of the library but you could peak into the main reading room here:

I KNOW some Nicholas Cage-type angels live here.
But you were completely enclosed in glass as to not disturb all the people below actually using the library for research purposes.  Or "research purposes" because they all looked like they just wanted to be seen in the Library of Congress to appear smart.  You're not fooling me, old guy in cardigan reading a three foot tall book.

Thank you, 19th-century absence of interior lighting.
There were also two large reading rooms on either side of the main hall that held exhibits on the Civil Rights movement and early American peoples.  I could have spent a few more hours in there but they didn't have as many marble columns (and also no pictures allowed).

Be grateful I spared you the images of the HVAC grates and handrail details.  I had to draw the line somewhere.  Also, the rest of my group was sighing dramatically sitting on the benches waiting for me.

So my advice is to skip the White House (thanks for nothing, Mobama!) and head for the Capitol and Library of Congress if you haven't done so.  All free and all worth it.  IF YOU LOVE AMERICA.  

But if you hate America and her architecture but love makeup fear not!  After I did my citizenly duties I did my consumerist duties and went to the Smooch Studio in Frederick, MD and had some custom lipstick made for myself!

I told her I wanted a red so dark it was black since I'm going for goth winter witch look this season.  Then a makeup wizard scientist mixed it up for me on a special makeup palette (part painter's palette, part color wheel, part recipe board) and poured it into mold and let it set then TA-DA!  I named it Tennessee Vamp.  Seemed appropriate.  

I'm sure Thomas Jefferson would have approved, the old fucker.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

...in which dirt is dirty and I overreacted like a punk.

If you're a gardening person you know that it's Fall planting time as indicated by the glorious weather and that special need that comes from deep in your loins to birth green shit.  That is a terrible mental image...  

But because I, and most of my friends, are cheap bastards - we prefer the more respectful term "frugal fuckers" - we began a Plant Swap.  Bring me your old, your tired, overgrown shrubs yearning to breathe free...

So in preparation for the big day I began digging up years worth of irises to divide, wildflowers of unknown origin and whatever else I could rip from the ground.  It may have been glorious weather but I was sweating so hard I actually thought it was raining.  

So sexy.

After a few hours of work I squeegeed my face and took my gloves off and noticed a tiny splinter on the back of my hand.  This probably explained the pain I felt the last hour but had decided to ignore because I'm a gardening beast [mule].  When I removed the splinter I surprisingly gushed [trickled] blood for a few minutes as the splinter was apparently the cork in my knuckle artery.  These frugal fuckers better appreciate the brutal carnage I endured to get these irises.

The next day I woke up and my tiny wound was sore and inflamed.  Meh.  Maybe Charlemagne licked it during the night or I slept on it funny, I'll just let my superhuman immune system take care of it.

But it didn't take care of it - it got worse and worse.  

As I whined to my work colleagues throughout the day, someone mentioned it sounded a bit like a spider bite.  Since I can't remember how the injury happened it seemed like a possibility.  What I had assumed was a splinter was now most likely a giant fang from an EBOLA SPIDER.  Completely rational.

Naturally I went to the internetz which is the source of all things good and fair to guide me in my troubling time.

Is the area red and swollen?  Most definitely.

Is it hot to the touch?  Positively feverish.

Does it hurt?  I can't grasp a pen.

Are you easily swayed by hyperbole from the internet?  I'm here, aren't I?

Are there two puncture wounds near each other?  Um... yes.  Are spiders actually tiny vampires??

Are you experiencing elevated blood pressure, dizziness and stomach cramping?  WELL I AM NOW, GAWDDAMMIT.

It didn't help that when my boss pulled up a picture of a black widow spider bite she gasped because it looked exactly like my finger.  Even though I KNEW (in my head, not my heart) I wasn't going to have my hand rot off I still left work a few minutes early to go to the doc in a box to at least deal with the obvious infection in my hand.  

The nurse came in to do my history and I could feel her rolling her eyes.  My whole hand was throbbing and I was sure my muscles were disintegrating into black soup on the inside but it didn't actually look that bad so she was totally justified.

Fortunately, it was NOT a deadly bite from an Ebola Black Widow Spider From Hell but was in fact a bacterial skin infection called cellulitis.  Even though I've never heard of it it's pretty common.  The doctor told me if my swelling went beyond these lines, though, I would probably lose my hand.

Just kidding, he said take some antibiotics.  I mostly trusted him but since I heard him telling some other patients in the next room over about the Ebol-ai virus and compared it to HIV I was a little suspect.

Fortunately, the swelling went down considerably overnight and even though it still hurts to grasp anything at least my hand muscles aren't rotten meat soup so I'm fine.  

The worst part of the whole "ordeal" (mild inconvenience?) was that I updated my tetanus shot and had a pretty severe reaction to it.  Thanks, medicine!  In addition to the normal tetanus muscle pain and inability to lift my arm to take my clothes off or wash my hair, I also developed flu-like symptoms the rest of the weekend!  Yay!  

Luckily, before my joints started to ache and the chills set in the plant swap happened and it was glorious.

Not all mine. 
Never been so excited about a bunch of dirt and weeds in plastic grocery bags before.  I think everyone left with lots of new goodies and none of their own so Plant Swap is now a "thing."  A regular event.  I'll probably send out invites in foil-lined envelopes in the Spring so start digging!

We always follow the Plant Swap with the driveway sale at Green Thumbs Galore which is a magic fairlyland of earthy goodness.  They almost exclusively do online sales so everyone can shop.

My goal is to take a few pics for you soon of my new plants - I always want to wait until they "look better" but that's just low landscaping self esteem thanks to Pinterest.  I'm still planting and mulching (hard to dig holes when you can't grip a shovel with your right hand or move your left arm) but I'll show everything to you soon - good or bad.  Hold me accountable.  For the sake of plants everywhere.

But glorious foliage will have to wait because I'm going on vacation next week!  I planned that well - plant a bunch of things and then leave for a week.  No wonder I kill so many things.

But while I'm gone please make sure to visit this garden tour at The Design Files which I'm loving.  You can also entertain yourself at the Fly Art tumblr which is filled with gems like this:

I would like a giant - shall I say... anaconda-sized? - poster of this on my wall please.

Also, someone please go water my plants while I'm gone.  I still have tons of irises that would love to go home with you too.

Just make sure to double glove.

And do NOT google images of cellulitis.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Velvet and rhinestones and an-easy-yet-efficient-storage-solution-for-my-accessories oh my.

Lest you think I'm a total flake I'm hear to assure you I haven't forgotten about showing you my "final" bedroom - whatever that means.  I'm fine if you think I'm lazy but not a flake.  I have personal standards.

Ok I actually keep forgetting to print a photograph to frame so I guess that does make me somewhat flaky... 

And since I'm wrapping up some things in my bedroom I'm shifting focus to other things like ORGANIZING.  Can you even contain yourself with how much excitement you're feeling right now?!

Depending on how you much like jewelry and order maybe you ARE feeling excitement.  I happen to j'adore jewelry and order so much it causes me to use phrases like 'j'adore' in sentences with no hint of sarcasm.

I have a pretty large collection of jewelry - wait, I should say shiny things I adorn myself with because none of that shit is real.  I mean, it's 'real' in the sense that I didn't metaphorically buy it from Forever21 but not real in that sometimes I still find tarnish on my finger when I take my jewelry off.

But I'm tired of shamefully storing it in ugly plastic bins with drawers.  I'm going adult!  With my plastic jewelry.

However much I would like to casually-but-purposefully display my "jewels" with the help of antlers or Brutalist sculptures or figures from my brass menagerie,  I just don't think I want this much clutter on my dresser top.  I'm not to be trusted with artful mess.

I j'adore 'artful mess' but the problem with 'artful mess' is that it quickly becomes j'pile of artful shit.

No way I can maintain a curated mess like this all the time.

Now THIS mess, maybe...  I love the Chanel bag behind the bottle of Yellow Tail.  I can't tell if I love this girl or want to pee in the bag while flipping her off.

Regardless, it's a j'izzillion times better than this mess:

Jesus crafting Christ, y'all.  

Let's check in with some professionals because this cheese grater shit is the Ebola of Pinterest.  (Creating lots of unnecessary hype in this country by middle class white people that probably watch a lot of Fox News.)
Stylist Mary Alice Stevenson really knows how to, well, do everything in life perfectly, I'm guessing, based on how meticulous her designer jewelry collection is displayed.  See the rest of her closet here and j'weep in joy and jealousy.

We can't talk about jewelry organizing with talking about everyone's favorite/feared designer Kelly Wearstler.
Her closet is just as impressive/fearful as you would imagine.

Somehow I just feel a maniac lurks beneath her expensive exterior.  But I'd be j'happy with her maniac closet and jewelry organization.

But the rest of us plebes have to make do with the Container store and costume jewelry but I'm fine with that because both of those things make me squee.  Who's the middle class white lady now, huh?!?!?!?

I'm not allowed to look at the jewelry displays at junk stores anymore.  I'm like a magpie but only for bargain sparkle.



I have a lot of big bangles - it's my crutch signature - so bracelet storage is the cornerstone of my setup.

Cute little storage bowls like these are fine for some people but I need architecture.

Although one day I really would like a printer's cabinet or apothecary cabinet or flat file solely filled with glorious jewelry but I'll settle for a drawer or two of my IKE-Rah Malms right now.  

Until then, please continue to enjoy this collection of jewelry storage porn.

So velvety, so shparkly.

I mean, damn.

Literal moist panties right now.  

I j'cream for tray after tray of glitz apparently.  Big surprise.

So I've been researching organization trays for my drawers and the next time you see me I'll probably be draped in powder blue silk and perched atop my Louis Vuitton luggage going through my drawers of aphrodisiacs. 


Monday, September 29, 2014

Architecture for cats who can't see good.

As discussed last week, in lieu of important landscaping I bought I new dorky glasses.  It was kind of a spur of the moment decision but I think we can all agree they look pretty good.

The irony that all eyeball-challenged people will understand is that in an attempt to update my prescription, I currently can't see shit with my new lenses.  My depth perception is like trying to drive on Rainbow Road inside an actual kaleidoscope after funneling a gallon of Fireball.  When I encounter a curb or a stair or just a change in floor materials I have to first paw at it with my foot like a drunken show pony to make sure I don't plummet to my death.  

Haha just kidding I fall all the time no matter what glasses I'm wearing.  (Fortunately when I fell this weekend - trying to dig more holes in my yard, of course - it was behind a bush so I was shielded from the neighbors.  But not shielded from the sandpapery brick of my foundation...)

So I'm trying to wear them around the house but if I turn my head too fast I think I travel to another dimension.  

It's been a weird day.  

Perhaps it's my vision or perhaps my questionable taste in design but I'm not sure how I really feel about this lakeside villa designed by Viennese architect Alexander Diem.

Do I like it or can I not really see it?  Having a hard time focusing...  

Well it's the first modern house that I've seen in awhile with actual landscaping so that's good.  Or is that a very small circus in front?  Did these glasses also come with acid?

Now THIS I do like.  At least I'm pretty sure I do when I squint...  From what I gathered from the apparent shapes and hieroglyphics that are trying to be words at Dezeen, the wood screen surrounding the house creates privacy while allowing for light because we live "in a time which supposedly knows no privacy."  *makes jacking off motion while rolling my crossed eyes*

Shutters are, as we all know, a completely modern invention as all people before 1947 were savages who ran around nekkid all the time and had to poop in communal troughs in the city square.

Those poor celebrity women who had their nude photos stolen just needed an intricately carved screen around their iClouds.

Apparently my impaired vision makes me bitchy as well as dizzy.

via Dezeen
The fretwork is said to highlight harvest themes in keeping with traditional Alpine style detailing and I do admit to totally squeeing over it.  This is what I would classify as a modern gingerbread house.  And since it's half fairy tale, half art history, half drunk on new glasses, I can't be wrong!

I'm thinking Hansel and Gretel are graphic designers lost in the forest.  Led to the house by the promise of powerful wifi and gluten-free snacks, they immediately Instagrammed the shit out of such an architectural beauty.  An evil witch had unfortunately lured them to the villa to steal their iPhone 6+s but they were able to bludgeon her to death with them instead and escaped to talk about kerning or some shit.

I'm really good at fairy tales and relevant pop culture references.

Not so much at architectural criticism.

Kittehs here
Or is it the other way around?

Monday, September 22, 2014

14 going on 34 going on 84

I'm not sure if you felt a gentle breeze on Sunday tickle you in all your naughtiest places but that was probably Mother Nature letting you know it was my BIRTHDAY!  

The leaves are changing, the air getting cooler, like sands through a still-86-degree summer hourglass, these are the years of my life.  Or something… Look, I’m 34 now.  Don’t feel a day over my emotional age of 14.

So what does one get for her 34th birthday?  An incrementally smaller mortgage, a greater feeling of ease about your place in the world and plantar fasciitis. 

Sigh…  I’m 34 going on 84.

I’m at the age where I don’t ask for a lot of gifts for my birthday and instead want “just to spend some time with my friends and family.”  I totally understand now why my grandma used to say that even though young me felt that grandma was throwing away a perfectly good opportunity for some Bath and Body Works lotion sets or Guess jean shorts.  

Even though I only require a nice brunch and hug from my friends, I do try to give myself something special to mark such a momentous moment in time.  Besides, I have enough organic coconut oil and raw shea butter to keep me positively greasy until my existential crisis when I hit 40.

The past few years I've tried to give myself the gifts of tackling a long-held fear, a new experience or stepping out of my comfort zone (with a Glock).  This year I just wanted leg warmers and comfy socks.  This is unrelated to the plantar fasciitis - socks just feel nice.  Although I should probably look into getting some arch support...  

I ordered from the premier sock source on the internet (yes, there is one) appropriately called Sock Dreams.  They have a every kind of sock/leg warmer/thigh high available and a large and active community of customers.  I’ve never seen reviews this specific and impassioned outside of sex toys.  They have every size imaginable (of socks not sex toys - different site) so no matter what your calf-to-ankle ratio is, they have you covered.  COVERED!  Sock puns, y’all.

In keeping with the theme of old people gifts, I was also going to gift myself some yardwork from some very handsome and well-mannered twin boys who live in the neighborhood.  I feel like I should make a dirty joke here but I just can’t lust after guys whose ages end in -teen and call me ‘ma’am’ twelve times in under five minutes.  They are children and it makes me feel gross.  Besides, how can I fantasize about working out my daddy issues on someone who isn’t old enough to drink?

Unfortunately instead of yardwork I made a spur of the moment decision and bought myself some new glasses.  I can't pass a 50% off optometrical flash sale.  Steel yourself for the upcoming selfie, Instagram followers.  

Since my landscaping help is pushed out til Spring I treated myself to some DIY landscaping.  I’m not sure I understand the concept of gifts…?  It was definitely less glamorous than drinking a cocktail and watching twin 18-yr-olds work in my yard but dirtier.

First, I gifted myself a few Wench irises!  Look how cute these ladies are.

I ordered them from Zulily so I might get a box of twigs sometime next April, who knows.  I'm not really interested in having a lot of flowers for my yard but I like the ballet pink and dark plum color combo.  And the fact that irises are tough as nails helps their survival prospects.  

Goat's beard, Tennessee coneflower, Arkansas blue star, prairie dropseed grass and seersucker sedge
I also hit up a few plant sales for some new goodies…  Still working on getting these into the ground but I like looking at their potential.  Notice how I always have a lot of pictures of new acquisitions like this and not in the ground…?? Ahem...

I also got myself the gift of follow-through by buying some Limelight hydrangeas as we discussed previously this summer!  You may remember I had exposed a side to my house previously blocked by a rotting mini barn and now I’m filling it in.

I'm still digging so this is not my yard but maybe in a few years?  Here.
Happy birthday to me now go dig some giant holes while being eaten alive by mosquitoes wheeeee! Digging holes in my dirt is a painstaking two-day process so I really suck at celebrating.  Six inches down my shovel hits the solid wall of clay and I reverberate like a cartoon coyote. Fortunately, I only slipped off the shovel once and I’m a spry 84 so I recovered quickly.  Hope my neighbors enjoyed my muddy tumble.

Your gift to me is to please pray to your god for me that these guys live.

Not to be outdone, Charlemagne found a nest of bunnies and brought them ALL to me this weekend.  *sob* A dead bird on occasion I can handle.  The rare chipmunk is hard but it is the natural order afterall.  But the bunnies?  THE BUNNIES?  Pretty fucking miserable.  

They were too far gone for me to save or find a vet for a mercy killing on a Saturday night so I just had to listen to bunnies SCREAM on my patio while I tried to draw winged eyeliner on teary eyes.  Apparently turning 84 also hardens your heart because to drown out their screams I had to turn up the music and take another shot of Fireball to dull the pain. I mean, shit, Charlemagne…. 

So even though I cleaned up murdered bunny carcasses and dug holes on my birthday, it wasn’t actually like the prison sentence it sounds like.  It was really pleasant and there was much drinking and laughing and french fries and Beyonce concert footage to be had.  

Murdered bun buns aside, I gifted myself socks, glasses, plants and most importantly a sense of accomplishment.  And that’s the best gift of all, says this grandma!  

Other than literally anything else on the planet.