Ten on Tuesday: December 2013

I thought I’d change a few things up with this feature and share with you some thoughts and news outside of the good ‘ol Q&A format. So here goes!

1) Over the weekend we got a significant snowfall and it was so pretty to see that white stuff come down. Unfortunately, I was hit hard with a head cold that meant I was inside much of Saturday. So Nick bundled Dean up and took him out solo for his first little outing in the snow (and riding in style in the sled my brother got him for his birthday in October!)

2) I was feeling better Sunday so we ventured out to run errands. High on that list? Purchasing a new couch for our living room! Yes, just a few years ago we bought a gorgeous Room & Board couch (that we’ll be selling if anyone is interested!) but the reality was that couch was not a great investment. Beautiful? Yes. But soon enough, not practical for this stage of our lives. So now that we’re in full-on family mode, we wanted a sectional that we could all lounge on. Comfort was No. 1 on the list and you guys, this is what we bought. It might be the MOST comfortable couch I’ve ever sunk into. I can’t wait for it to arrive and then sleep on it for a week straight.

3) Also while out shopping for Xmas gifts, we started the tradition of buying Dean his first Hallmark Keepsake Ornament. We thought this one was SO perfect. Anybody else do this tradition for their kiddos? Nick and I love that both our parents did this for us and I still get a little thrill taking my ornaments out of the box with years like “1987″ and “1992″ written inside them in my mom’s handwriting.

4) So as if going to see Justin Timberlake wasn’t enough to make last week an eventful one, I also decided to color my hair. As in, much darker. Went with a little ombré (and might make that look a bit more pronounced the next go round). I haven’t had my hair dark like this since high school, making it a nice reminder that sometimes it’s fun just to do something different. We’ll see how long I keep it — probably until spring when I crave it lighter again.

5) I love seeing everyone’s Christmas cards pour in this time of year. Sadly, I made the last-minute call NOT to do ours this year. We just have a lot of stuff going on right now (big-ticket purchase items for the house included) that put them out of our budget (stamps are expensive, yo!). But hope to bring them back next year! (I’m taking solace in knowing no matter what we would have come up with, it wouldn’t have topped “Christmas Jammies”!.

6) Speaking of the holidays, I feel woefully behind on Xmas spirit this year. I blame it on the fact Thanksgiving was a week later, right? Who else has been thrown off by this?! It might also be that I can’t seem to keep my eyes open long enough to make it through any of my favorite Xmas movies (both Love Actually and National Lampoon’s Xmas Vacation so far … yikes! Hoping I fare better with The Family Stone! Darn you parenthood!)

7) On the topic of movies, I really, really, REALLY want to see American Hustle in the movie theaters soon. Date night with my man for that one. The buzz on it has been tremendous and I love all the people involved (and that it was based on a true story)! What movies do you want to see this holiday season? I also want to see August: Osage County and Her.

8) Unrelated, but I was feeling pretty good about this stage in my life until I read this TIME list of 30 AMAZING people under the age of 30 and good grief … equal parts fascinated and depressed by that one!

9) Bright spots for the winter season (I’ll take all that I can get!) is the pending return of Downton Abbey! I saw the cast on Good Morning America last week and now I can’t WAIT for the premiere on January 5!

10) Still on our list of holiday fun? Taking Dean to see Santa. Anybody want to place bets on whether he’ll love his lap or hate it? I’m SO curious to see how he does. In the meantime, I’ll have fun looking at these.

10 on Tuesday: October 2013

1. What was the last concert you’ve been to?

I’m a bit of a recovering concert junkie. In my 20s, I’d see a live show at least once, more like twice, a month. My last show was in July 2012. I was about 6 months pregnant. It was Alabama Shakes at The Vogue in Indianapolis’ Broadripple. All I could think about was how much my feet and back hurt. How the acoustics were horrible. How I felt too old for this. That said, after a long hiatus, I’ll be making my “concert return” in December with my college besties to see Justin Timberlake perform at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. AND I CANNOT WAIT.

2. Is it easy to make you cry?

No. I’m not a crier. Though, yesterday, after attending a bittersweet memorial service for a coworker of mine at Ball State who died unexpectedly, I found myself sitting in the car, sobbing. See, I don’t like to cry in PUBLIC. On my own? Well, ain’t no shame in a good ugly cry. Ain’t no shame at all.

3. Do you ever feel like people underestimate you?

Maybe at one time, when I was younger, I did. But here’s why I don’t think that anymore: The older you get, if you tell people you’re going to do something, AND THEN YOU GO AND DO IT, that impresses people. It’s not about whether you become some huge success at whatever it is, it’s the point you got up and DID it. I think I’ve gotten pretty good at the doing, at least …

4. Name 7 completely random things that you like:

1) PopTarts 2) Good Morning America 3) The scent of my son when I bury my face in his neck 4) Hazelnut coffee 5) The sound of a good thunderstorm 6) The TV show SharkTank 7) Gummi bears

5. What word do you always misspell? 

Soldier. Conscience. Separate. Psychologist (forever putting the y before the s!) I could go on …. 

6. What is your favorite hair care product?

This shampoo and conditioner.

7. What’s your favorite song at the moment?

HAIM’s The Wire. SO GOOD.

8. What’s the number one thing on your Christmas wishlist?

Well, it’s a little early to be talking about, I guess, but I’ve had my eye on a particular camel-colored leather tote bag from Madewell since, like, 2011. I feel like it’s time to ask for it as as gift. Like, my ONLY gift ($$$!!!), but still … it’s time.

9. They say everyone gets 15 minutes of fame. Who’s 15 minutes has gone on far too long?

Miley Cyrus. OK, we saw her lady bits swinging around on a giant ball and chain in some music video. CAN WE JUST MOVE ON ALREADY?

10. Would you rather go without pizza or ice cream for the rest of your life?

Eating healthier these days means I’ve been going without both, but whereas I would have said ice cream in the past now I think I’d say pizza! My tastes…they’re a-changing!


Ten on Tuesday: August 2013

Haven’t given you a dose of 10-question randomness in a while, so here goes!

1. What is your favorite Pixar movie? Have you seen all of them?
Oh gosh, it’s so hard to pick ONE fave, but I think it has to be the one that started ‘em all, Toy Story. That whole series has my heart. I have grand hopes that Dean will take to Woody and Buzz Lightyear (and hopefully just pass over all the Cars merchandise), because they’re my favorite! I also have a soft spot for A Bug’s Life (which I think lots of people forget about), but I remember seeing that one in the theater and laughing until I cried at the “blooper” reel at the end. Also SUPER great? Up, of course. (And the only Pixar flicks we haven’t seen are Cars 2 (which I heard wasn’t great), Brave, and Monsters University (which I can’t wait to see when it comes out on DVD!)

2. Do you enjoy soccer?
Do I sit around and watch it? “N” to the “o”. But I remember we were in Europe during the World Cup and I loved the global fever for that game. It was crazy to see people literally standing outside of packed pubs, trying to watch from outside. I expect I’ll become more of a fan in years to come, as we’d much rather see Dean gravitate toward soccer (or preferably basketball, tennis or swimming) than football, given all the recent findings about the dangers of the sport. (Ask my husband about this documentary …. it’s been a real game changer for him on the topic).

3. Are you musical?
I’d like to think so! I started taking piano lessons in the fourth grade (at my sweet music teacher, Mr. Hambrock’s, urging) and kept them up until I was a sophomore in high school. I also played my brother’s hand-me-down trumpet for six years in the marching band. I LOVE music, however, I’m a sheet music kind of gal. I WISH I could sight read or come up with my own stuff, but that’s not in my range of talents!

4. How many push-ups can you do?
Ummm….if I have to ask if “girly” push-ups count, does that answer the question? Because it’s too pathetic an answer for me to divulge here.

5. Did you have braces when you were younger?
ACTUALLY, I got braces RIGHT before I started my freshman year in college. How crazy is that? My teeth weren’t all that bad, I just had a few minor gaps that I wanted to fix, so I helped pay for them with money I earned that summer working. Then I had them for the entire fall semester of my first year in college and got them off on my birthday (Feb. 20) later that winter. NO regrets about them at all! Everyone jokes about the Freshman 15 when you go to college. Oh gosh, I LOST the Freshman 15 because I couldn’t eat anything with those things in!

6. Summer or winter? Coffee or tea? Wedges or flats?
Summer (unless it’s 90 degrees or hotter), though I do love the first good snow of winter; coffee (hazelnut is my fave!) usually (just plain or with a little creamer) but lately I’ve been doing the green tea thing; and I love BOTH wedges and flats! I tend to wear wedges more in the summer (so many heel options in sandals) and flats come fall. Speaking of fall reminds me, BOOT season is right around the corner ladies!

7. Do you buy new or used cars?
Always used. Never new. I am so not a “big fancy shiny” car person.

8. Are you afraid of needles?
Yes. Which is why I hate to admit that I haven’t given blood since high school. I remember being SO nervous about getting (my first) IV put in when I had Dean because I knew they were going to put it in my hand and it was going to feel weird and I worried I’d be such a baby about it all. Then, the woman put it in my forearm (without me even asking) and I wanted to kiss her with relief!

9. Do you get cranky when you’re tired or hungry?
Absolutely. I call it “hangry”. Even-keeled 90 percent of the time, but you get me in that scenario and my Hulk can come out.

10. Write your newest favorite recipe.
Well, I made this spicy shrimp meal Friday night with some cilantro lime rice and beans and both Nick and I couldn’t stop talking about how good it was! SUPER simple to make too, you just need to invest in a few spices for your pantry if you don’t already have ‘em!

Ten on Tuesday: May 2013

It’s been awhile since I gave you a dose of this kind of randomness so here you go!

1. Would you rather give up pedicures or flat/curling irons?

Last month on a trip home to my parents, I got to unpacking only to realize I’D LEFT MY CURLING IRON AT HOME. People, I went out that same day and forked over $25 for a new one. Forgetting a curling iron (or flat iron) to tame this mane of mine is on par with forgetting underwear or contacts or anything else I deem TOTALLY necessary to travel. Sooo yeah, that ought to answer this question.

2. Does your middle name have a family meaning?

My full name is Gail Lorraine. While my middle name has no special meaning (though, can I just take a minute and tell you all how much I really love it? ‘Cause I do…good choice mom!) my FIRST name is in honor of my great-grandmother. It’s a bit old-fashioned (case in point, the other day I met another “Gail” for the first time in years …she was at least 80), but I’ve come to love it. For sure, I was the only Gail in a classroom of Jessicas, Jennifers and Courtneys growing up!

3. Do you like to sneeze?

What a silly question. And no, not really. But a random trait of mine — whenever I sneeze, it’s always in threes.

4. Do you think kids should need to learn cursive?

I think kids should learn good PENMANSHIP. Print or cursive, doesn’t matter to me. I loved cursive as a kid (Type A perfectionist in me loved being the child picked to demonstrate a capital “Q” on the blackboard), but in college I started writing exclusively in print and haven’t written cursive since.

5. When you go to the beach for the day, what do you take?

A bathing suit, towel, sunblock, sunglasses, some snacks and MOST IMPORTANTLY books and magazines.

6. Which decade had the best music?

For me? 80s all the way. From New Wave (I mean, just look at this list!) to Michael Jackson and Madonna, that decade is my jam and its music makes me all warm and fuzzy for my childhood. (Funny story: A few years back, we uncovered this old cassette tape my sister had made of me as a baby babbling in the bath tub… when we flipped it over to side “B”—remember when you had to do that?— it was Top 40 songs my sister had dubbed from the radio and “Electric Avenue” started playing…I love when little bits of your past help you remember what was in vogue at the time!)

7. Are you a good hand-shaker?

Well, I’ve never asked anyone but I’d say yes. Nice and firm. The worst handshakers? Those folks with sweaty palms. Watch out for them!

8. Do you have a go-to meal for when you are at a restaurant and you can’t decide?

It’s kind of restaurant dependent, I guess. But yeah, once I’ve been to a place once, I tend to order the same thing I liked. Especially at ethnic restaurants (which explains why chicken tikka masala has been my go-to Indian dish forever!)

9. Do you have slippers?

Yep! I wrote about them here — STILL lovin’ ‘em!

10. Are you easily grossed out?

While I can totally handle blood and gore in movies (let’s just say I recently saw Django Unchained and LOVED it), the older I get it seems I can’t handle it in real life. Like that one time I sliced my finger open and nearly fainted.


Questions provided from Roots and Rings

Ten on Tuesday: April 2013



1. Ikea: over-hyped and confusing or genius furniture company?
Oh gosh, well, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love IKEA. And that we have PLENTY of it in our home (our dining room set, for starters), but, also, my husband HATES their furniture. With a passion. (Really, he hates the whole “putting it together guided only by that little cartoon man” part of it). But I still love all their shelving options, so I wouldn’t be surprised if a few more of their bookshelves find themselves in our home at some point. Though, given Nick’s stance on things, I’ll have to sneak them in!

2. Your favorite interior-decorator-type person wants to makeover one room in your house. Which room do you choose and why?
I should PROBABLY tell you my master bathroom. It is HIDEOUS in an “I live in a 1950s ranch and the counters in my bathroom are Pepto-Bismo pink” kind of way (seriously, it deserves nomination for a Bathroom Hall of Shame) but really, I’d remodel my kitchen. Make our open ranch even MORE open by taking out a wall, putting in an island and making our kitchen a true focal point of the home. The older I get the more and more I LOVE cooking at home, so I’d love to have a better range in the kitchen (we have a glass-top stove and I can’t use cast iron or Dutch ovens on its surface) along with updated appliances and new countertops and sink. My “Kitchen Coveting” Pinterest board ought to tell you everything you need to know on how I’d style the space!

3. Describe the furniture in your childhood bedroom. Did you like it? Where is that furniture now?
Oh gosh, it was this dated dresser that was a hand-me-down from my (older) sister with a tall skinny mirror (that I spent way too much time primping in) and then a Target white bookshelf along another wall (and my bed). The bed and dresser are  still there (the dresser has since been repainted) and the bookshelf has made its way into Dean’s closet — so instead of storing my Laura Ingalls collection now, it stores diapers and wipes for my boy!

4. When you’re done with furniture, what do you do with it? Donate it to Goodwill OR Sell it on Craigslist OR Put it by the curb and hope the trash guys take it?
I got REALLY lucky when we remodeled our living room and I was able to sell all of our furniture through an online community bulletin board at Ball State, where I work. (I was SO stoked when an eager college kid took my whole set of coffee table/end tables and TV hutch off my hands in one fell swoop!)

5. My Pinterest furniture style could best be described as
Clean/modern/contemporary with a “lived in” look. Or, basically, anything that Emily Henderson designs. I want to live IN her blog.

6. Name the most important furniture/toy in a toddler’s playroom. And why?
The bookshelves — storage for toys AND books. That’s a no-brainer! But also? I’m SO looking forward to an art table for Dean. I cannot wait to color and craft with my little man!

8. Your biggest furniture buying or home decorating regret?
Oh gosh…two things and they both have to do with our living room, which pains me to say it since it wasn’t that long ago I finished work on it: 1) I bought a BEAUTIFUL Room & Board couch but one that, while I’d sat on it at the showroom and loved it, Nick had not. So it taught me a VALUABLE lesson to never buy furniture without your spouse along (even though, at the time, he approved of it online). I will say, too, that we would LOVE to get a sectional in our living room now that we have a family. I so hope we can in the next year or two…I can picture movie nights with Dean all curled up in its folds! Also, I would LOVE to get rid of our Flokati rug because I quickly discovered just how bad it SHEDS. But our dog LOVES it (it’s “her” spot in the living room) and I’ve yet to find something I like better to help make a statement in the room (and hide a few carpet stains from the previous owner) so it’s staying put for now.

9. $1000 gift card! Do you want it to Ethan Allen, Ikea, Pottery Barn Kids?
Ummm…how about none of the above and you make it to West Elm instead?

10. Bunk beds, loft beds, trundle beds, or canopy beds?
Bunk beds are cute if you need the space for kids sharing a room; loft beds — oh gosh, remind me of my college dorm room and my one semester with a loft (all it took was a tornado siren going off one morning, causing me to sit up in surprise and smash my face on the ceiling to decide that was enough for me); trundle beds …hmm…never slept in one, never known anyone to have one…they seem like something that would be in someone’s beautiful beach home; and canopy beds make me think of my sister’s bed growing up and my best friend’s older sister’s bed (so, basically, kind of an ’80s thing).