Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Zach and I just celebrated our 6 year wedding anniversary. For about 6 weeks before, I was on a hunt for the perfect gift. I love the idea of the traditional anniversary gifts, and was intrigued when I looked it up and learned that the traditional sixth anniversary gifts are "iron" and "wood". I was stumped for awhile, but then hit upon the idea of an iron ring. I don't really know why I thought of this; Zach typically doesn't wear a lot of jewelry. But I absolutely love, love, love his hands and fingers (yay, Tate got them too!), so the thought of a big, chunky iron ring on the middle finger of his right hand was (dare I say it?) sexy and appealing.
Alas, when I started calling local jewelry stores, I quickly learned that, well, rings just aren't made out of iron.
But I was not to be deterred. I continued my search, and although I never found a ring actually made out of iron, I stumbled across something perhaps even better- a ring made of ironwood. Sereiously. It is a kind of wood, apparently, known especially for how hard and substantial it is. This particular ring is so manly and sexy and just what I was looking for, with a titanium stripe right through the center. I am so happy that Jewelry by Johan exists and creates such a perfect anniversary gift.
After getting Zach's ring size, we are ready to place the order. Such a perfect homage to the traditional "iron" and "wood" gifts, don't you think?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Since I'm married, I don't have an online dating profile. And even if I wasn't married, I don't know if online dating would be my thing. But I think I absolutely would try Cheek'd. Here's the idea. You create an online profile, and then Cheek'd sends you 50 little cards, kind of like business cards. Except that they have witty little sayings, and a link to your online profile. So then, as you go about your business in everyday life, if you see someone that piques your interest, you give them a Cheek'd card, which they can then use to visit your online profile and contact you. The cards have funny and quirky little sayings and are very clever. What do you think, friends? Are you "cheeky" enough to do something like this?

Studio 1 a.m.

I am coveting the Measure Me stick by Studio 1 a.m. out of Chicago. Isn't it awesome? So much cuter than most "growth charts". Both U.S. and metric measurements. And it goes all the way to the ground. I think this is the perfect addition to Tate's nursery. If only I had another wall. I am officially out of wallspace. Sigh.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Nations Best

Ok, ok, so this is not a snazzy post. Its not pretty or whimsical. There are no pictures. It is entirely practical. And yet, it is the solution to a problem I have had for years, and I am just so ridiculously happy about it that I had to share. Do you remember back when cameras actually had film? Although only one in twenty pictures was actually any good (or at least those were about my odds), the great thing was that at least I had a physical copy of that one good picture once my film got developed. Since the invent of the digital camera, I far too often never print out my digital pictures, and instead have these huge files on my computer which, while nice to flip through, lack both the nostalgic fun of flipping through actual pictures and prevent me from having pictures framed around the house. I have tried to solve this multiple ways. Zach and I got a picture printer, which we never use. It is bulky, and always out of one color or another, be it red or green or blue, so the colors come out so funky and weird. And I have considered the local Target photo counter, where I could print up my digital files, but its just not all that convenient. And frankly, in all of these scenarios, the quality is just not what I am looking for. Especially now that we have baby pictures to frame, I want professional quality photos. You know what I'm talking about, right? The ones that almost have a texture to the photograph and are on heavy weight paper. Like the ones in our wedding album. And I want the pictures to be inexpensive. And I want to be able to order just one or two, or twenty or thirty, at a time, depending on my need. Is that too much for a girl to ask? Apparently so, is how I have felt over the years. Apparently so. But all that changed recently when I stumbled across Nations Photo Lab. Now I don't know how many photo labs are in our nation, but I for one believe that this is the best one. So here are my Top Ten Reasons I love, love, love Nations Photo Lab: 1. They have their own software, (called ROES), that you download and that is so easy to use. (Seriously. Easy to use. If I can do it, you can definitely do it). And once you download it, you just upload your photos and click! you can crop your photos, change them to black and white or sepia tones, make them landscape or not... love it. 2. They automatically color-correct your photos for you. Love this. 3. The quality of the pictures they send you are professional quality. Seriously. I just ordered some of Tate and they are everything I could have hoped for. 4. The prices. An 8x10 is only $1.50 or something like that. AND there is no minimum order. 5. Options galore. You can order sheets of wallet-sized photos (perfect for a baby announcement or a holiday card or...) all the way up to huge pictures that are like 40 inches tall. You can have your pictures mounted on foam board or on canvas. You can have them divide your picture up into three different canvases (you know, the ones that hang close together to create one long, broken up picture). They make postcards and calendars and photo blocks... really, the options are endless. 6. They do albums too! 7. If you are a nature photographer (or take lots of black and white pictures of Paris at night), they do those cool, really shiny black and white pictures that you always see in galleries. 8. They arrive super-fast, through the mail. 9. They are a privately-owned small business, which makes me feel so good about sending them my money. They aren't some Kinko's spin-off. 10. The icing on the cake? You know how photo paper says things like "Kodak" on the back? At Nations Photo Lab, you can order your photos so the paper says whatever you want on the back!! This is so fun. Like I could have my photos say "Tate April 2010". Have I convinced you yet? Run... run, I tell you, don't walk... to place an order. I am so, so happy I did.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Ex Libris

You may remember the gorgeous bring-a-book baby shower thrown for me by Andrea. It was lovely. The shower itself was the proverbial cake- the fact that it was a bring-a-book shower was the icing on the cake- and the gift that Andrea brought Tate a few weeks after he was born was the cherry on the icing on the cake. I have been waiting to share it with you until I got some good pictures, which I think I have officially done, so now you can all hurry out to buy your own bookplate stamp by AsspocketProductions.
Isn't it adorable?
This is such a great gift, completely affordable and completely personalized. Asspocket does such a fantastic job of offering many different designs so that you can choose something that fits the person you are gifting it to, and I am so happy with the quality of the stamp, and the old-fashioned, post-office-stamp quality of the big wooden handle. It makes me happy just holding it.
Also related to books, the long-awaited bookshelves finally arrived! Two big boxes met me at the door yesterday. Zach was kind enough to build one bookcase for me after dinner so I could tell what they would like, and I am so happy with them. I will post pics soon, but they accomplish just what I wanted, which is to make the books look so colorful and so appealing. Tate won't be able to help being drawn in by them.

And in other news- could Zach's strawberry rhubarb pie look any more delicious? Mmmm...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

In the Land of the Living

I am back in the land of the living. Kind of. Well, I at least have one foot in, after a 9:00 am Sunday call to my primary care physician in which I almost wept as I begged for a new prescription, a Tuesday afternoon CT scan (which was surprisingly fascinating, and in which I had a really fun conversation with the tech who laughed when I said it was "just like House except that I didn't start bleeding from the eyes in the machine"), untold boxes of Kleenex and cough drops, and a few days napping. I can officially function again. In recent news, Zach's mom spent two weeks visiting and getting to know Tate, which was a great time all-around, but the particular highlights center, as always, around window shopping (and sometimes not window shopping, if you know what I mean) in downtown Portland. One of my favorite things we found (and that LaVonne promptly gifted us with) was the most adorable wall art by eeBoo. It turns out that eeBoo is a a boutique toy manufacturer that specializes in useful, beautiful and well-made educational games and gifts. But at the time we bought the wall art, I had no idea all the beautiful things eeBoo made. I just knew I loved the Counting Birds wall cards. Basically, it is a series of 8x10 counting "flashcards", as it were, that you can then hang. We don't have much wall space in Tate's room left, but I am determined to find a spot to hang these. I love them so much. Not only because of the gorgeous colors, but also the biological accuracy (the two cardinals aren't both red! There's clearly a red male and a not-so-red female!). As LaVonne and I flipped through them, counting "one robin", "two cardinals", "three mourning doves" and so on, we commented on how it would be great if they included chickadees. By the time we got to nine warblers, we had pretty much resigned ourselves to there being no chickadees in the bunch. But lo and behold... ten chickadees! So perfect, isn't it?
When I looked into the rest of eeBoo's offerings, I was equally impressed. From whimiscal world maps to flying paper birds, there was much to covet. I was even inspired by the whimsy of their office space.
The only thing I am left pondering is "why eeBoo"? What could eeBoo possibly stand for? I looked through the 'About Us' section of their website (and their website is adorable too, by the way, so worth checking out) but couldn't find an answer. So I am left to wonder.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Sick sick sick. The kind of sick where you crawl in bed and just lie there curled up around your pillows thinking "how can one person possibly feel so bad?". Lots of fun things to share but will all have to wait until I am not so sick...

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Tag & Co. (& an amazing aunty)

Sometimes, in life, you're just not the best person for the job, and when it came to my baby announcements, I knew this to be the case. You see, my sister, Lissa, has not only the most amazing eye (example: we went shoe shopping when she visited, and every single pair of shoes she picked up, I had walked right by- and then, I would try them on, and they were adorable) but she is also a bonafide expert on all things stationary and paper-related. Having worked as a graphic designer, she knows layout and color and says things like "bleed to the edge of the paper" and is, in general, fantastic at designing anything paper-related (case in point: her wedding invitations. She designed them herself and had them printed, and they were amazing). So when it came time to think about baby announcements (which I did way too early, probably, like, before I even had the hospital-required carseat... ahh, priorities), I knew that Lissa was the best person for the job. That she would pick something far beyond what I ever could even dream up. And wow did she come through. I did contribute some to the effort, as I wrote the text, which I worried about since it was looooong. Most baby announcements, as we all know, feature just a small amount of text- the baby's name, weight, length, etc. But, true to form, I really wanted our announcements to tell a story, to set Tate's life down in the context in which it was created. So I spent a fair amount of time developing the text that I felt would share our story and celebrate Tate's arrival. Ultimately, what I came up with was the following:
And that, along with a dozen or so pictures, is all I sent Lissa in regards to the announcement. She spent the next few weeks huddled up at
Paperdoll, her favorite stationary store in Chicago, designing and redesigning, thinking and rethinking, and ultimately choosing a Tag & Company design for what would become the most beautiful baby announcement I have ever seen. Although true to form , Lissa didn't just use a Tag & Company template- she worked with the design studio to make something truly personal, picking out certain fonts, and pulling in colors from the photo, figuring out the layout for the large amount of text I had provided her, and generally turning what was once the "Aria" style template into something I think could only be called "Tate". Isn't it gorgeous? You can just imagine how moved I was when I received mine in the mail (I got mine at the same time as everyone else, which was so much fun):
And what the picture can't communicate is the luxurious feel of the paper- it is heavy and soft and tactile, it feels like a baby cheek. Since the announcements have been received, I have gotten dozen of compliments, which really belong to Lissa, and I have had a few requests for the name of the company that designed them. You can count on Lissa to have discovered this
Tag & Company, which has so many beautiful designs. Although none so special and beautiful as the announcement Tate had, designed for him, especially from Aunty Lissa.