Straight back into the drawer

Doing my hair has never been something that I’ve been particularly good at. It doesn’t help that heated wands aimed at ‘styling’ one’s hair can make my knuckles go white (from my hands gripping the edge of my chair or each other). The haircut that I got in the fall looked particularly nice straightened so I figured that I’d try to conquer my fears and straighten my hair on occasion. Step one was watching (with my eyes tightly closed) my sister straighten my hair a few times (while my mom stood in the doorway telling Tory to stop enabling me by doing it for me – the other Nogle women do not share in my hair impairments – they spend lots of time on their hair with the right sprays/creams/equipment and it always looks really nice, even when you compliment them on it and they tell you that it looks terrible and they just rolled out of bed and have only run a brush through it…I’m looking at you Helene).

Eventually I mustered up the courage to purchase a straightener. But instead of just purchasing one, I bought two. Because I know myself. And going from no straightener (all I owned was a blow dryer that I rarely use) to a full-size straightener was just not going to happen. So I bought a full-size straightener, for when I was ready, and I bought a travel-size mini straightener for in the meantime. The plates are 0.5 inches x 2 inches, and the whole piece of machinery is quite light and unintimidating. It works great on my bangs, or if I’m doing a half up/half down look (that first layer of hair closest to the  neck is soooo easy to straighten. Usually where I fall apart is those last few layers of hair towards the top of my head. That’s when I busted out the full-size straightener – I was ready to straighten more than just my bangs and the lower layers of my hair. While I’ve only used that straightener twice, both times have been uneventful, so I’m gaining confidence with it.

Here’s a photo of my hair nicely straightened (which means that Tory probably did it), based on the length of my bangs, and the lack of coat, this was probably late fall:

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On Sunday, my good friend, and college roommate, Vanessa was coming to spend the day with me. She always is dressed to the nines and looks great. So when we’re going to spend the day together, I try to dress at least to the sevens. But I was otherwise occupied on Saturday and didn’t get my laundry done, or started, so my clothing selection was going to be limited to what was clean, so not much. I decided that if I was going to be dressed to the fives, that I’d at least put some effort into my hair and that would make up for it. It took me about 30 minutes, but I finally got my hair straight [enough]. I thought it looked nice, as if I’d just had a blow-out at a salon. Mom thought it looked decent (thanks Helene).

The benefit to straightening one’s hair on Sunday, is that it’s still nice looking on Monday. And it was this morning. Until I left the house. Then my glorious (perfect commuting weather) commute happened. The air, although warm, was a little damp (which happens when it’s above 30 degrees in Chicago) and the slight breeze didn’t help. Now my hair doesn’t look like I put any effort into it – and is puffing out. Here’s me at my desk. Well half of me, the focus here is supposed to be on the increasing width of my hair.

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So it looks like it’s time to put the ol’ straighteners back into the drawer from which they came from – because trying to wrangle my hair in weather above 30 degrees is just futile. While I might leave my house looking like $100 bucks – by the time I get to work, all of that effort (and heat damage) will have been for naught.

The Desk that Mike Built

In a previous post I wrote about the wonderful card that Mike made me for our anniversary and included an excerpt from what he’d written “The traditional first anniversary gift is supposed to be paper, but you run a paper based company, so that’s a bust.” What came after that in the card was an explanation about how he’d like to do some heavy lifting in my office (since I run a company based on paper) as my anniversary gift.

The new home of Studio255 aka The CaveThe first thing to go was the deep purple painted walls. Admittedly, painting two of the walls and the ceiling purple was one of my ideas that was better in concept than in execution and my office was, as a result, a dark place (actually dark, not sad dark). Mike re-painted those walls and the ceiling white and then painted one of the previously white walls middle grey. It took quite a few coats to cover up all of that purple paint.

After the painting was complete Mike took apart the executive desk that came with the house so that he could use pieces of it in my new desk. We sat down one Saturday to plan out what the rest of the desk would look like, what supplies would live in the desk and how much space they needed. Measurements were taken so that everything from the boxes that my shipping envelopes come in to the stack of fine paper that I’ve accumulated had a place.

The next several days for Mike were filled with cutting, building and staining, and then staining some more. After the base of the desk was complete, Mike took me to Home Depot to pick out a top for the desk. Originally we were going to use a kitchen countertop, but none of the things that they had in stock really went with the look that we were going for, and they all had lips that weren’t going to work with the plans that Mike had come up with. After reviewing several other options (wood, tiles, faux hard wood floors, etc) we settled on laminate flooring. It’s durable and in the right patterns it looks really nice, it’s super inexpensive, and best of all, it was available that day! You see, I was getting a little stir-crazy in the temporary office that was set up for me in our guest room (pictured below). What you don’t see is the rest of the space which is piled high with the rest of the contents of my office. While it was nice to have somewhere to continue to work while Mike was re-doing my office, it was very disorientating not knowing where anything was and having no room to spread out.

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In the end the wait was well worth it. Mike does excellent work and took his time to ensure that everything was built correctly and stained well. And now, without further ado, I’d like to introduce, my new workspace…

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That’s 12 glorious feet of workspace right there 🙂

 

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A Mid-February Night’s Costume Party

The occasion: my sister-in-law’s birthday + our friend Jim’s birthday
The theme: famous couples

Originally, Mike and I assumed that this would be like most other social gatherings – he’d have to work, so I’d go to the party by myself. Because I’d only have to be dressing myself and I rarely think ahead for costumes, I figured I’d come up with someone to dress up as the week of and then pull a rabbit out of my hat. The week of the party Mike found out that he wasn’t going to have to work after all. Since I hadn’t yet decided upon a costume, this really didn’t interfere with my plans, or so I thought. Mike’s beard had other ideas. See, he’d been growing it all winter – and had no plans to cut it anytime soon. So we needed to find a famous couple to dress up as where the man had a massive beard. Days went by… and we had nothing.

The morning before the party, I was getting off the train during my commute and a metaphorical lightning bolt struck. I called Mike, he didn’t say no, so I ran with it.

Thankfully, between my mom’s dresser, Mike’s closet and Andrea’s hairdressing skills, the only thing that we actually needed to purchase was a wrap around bandage.

Meet Vincent Van Gogh and the woman [of the night] named Rachel that he gave his ear to after he cut it off. True story.

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Happy Birthday to Tyler, Kathy, Pat, Mike and Jason!

There’s a phenomenon on Mike’s side of the family – all of the family birthdays fall during two distinct periods of the year. We take advantage of this and for the past couple years have been having two large celebrations – one in the fall for 5 birthdays (between October 18 and November 1) and another in the spring for 5 birthdays (between February 2 and March 30). This year Mike and I decided to host the gathering for the spring birthdays. Due to scheduling though (I’m looking at you Mike), we had to celebrate in early February instead of closer to the mid-point. Believe it or not, it was the first (and only so far) gathering in our house that Mike has been in full attendance for (in fact, our nephew told Uncle Mike that he really liked Aunt Sydney’s house).

Mike’s sister Kathy decorates amazing cakes for birthday celebrations, what she can do with icing is a thing of art. The bar for quality had been set. I know that my patience with icing pales in comparison (and by pales I mean I have no patience with icing), so I decided that I’d just bake a lot of cake. But, in true Sydney fashion, I overestimated my ability to get things done – and while Mike cleaned the house, I attempted to bake my way through two potato pies and five flavors of cake. Mike’s definition of ‘Company Clean’ is Herculean by my standards – and once he gets started, get out of the way and don’t let a crumb hit the floor that he’s just finished cleaning (and if one does, because several did, pick it up right away). As much of a headache getting the house up to his standard of ‘Company Clean’ can be, I always appreciate the after-effects of an immaculate house. So while Mike was busy mopping and sweeping the floors, cleaning the bathroom, and re-cleaning the kitchen after I’d ‘cleaned’ it, I was up to my ears in baking. After combining two cake flavors into a layered cake and making another whole cake and some cupcakes, Mike, in an effort to bring my stress level down a notch (and possibly to get me out of the kitchen sooner), assured me that the fifth flavor (carrot cake) for him was not necessary for this party. With that cake crossed off the list, we were able to finish everything up before family started to arrive. Thankfully, my in-laws also came bearing food, so there was plenty to be had.

Both the food and the company made for a wonderful evening filled with full stomachs and lots of laughter. Mike received nice kitchen knives from both his sister and his brother’s girl friend – which I very much appreciated as well. If you’ve ever tried to cut something (particularly a loaf of bread) in our kitchen – and both Kathy and Andrea have on numerous occasions – then you know that our previous knives (especially the bread knife) were pretty much useless with the exception of our boning knife and carving set (neither of which is designed to cut a loaf of bread – did I mention that was a challenge before?)

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The New Spring

I cannot believe that the last time I updated our blog was in early February! We’ve been so busy and preoccupied that our house is still decorated for Easter and I’m running out of justification for why there’s a faux snow-covered tree still on display in our dining room (currently covered in hanging felt bunny rabbits – which is how I justified its presence through Easter).

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Speaking of Easter – we hosted this year! As well as a family birthday party for all of the spring birthdays in Mike’s family (there are 5 between February 2nd and March 30th). Expect posts on both of those events shortly, as well as a post about Easter crafting, Mike’s birthday, the monsoon of 2013, and a look ahead into the start of year 2 in our house (our 1 year anniversary with our house was April 16th!). Hopefully now that spring has sprung, I’ll have the time to blog more consistently about what we’re up to and where we’re headed 🙂