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And There Was No Alcohol Involved. I Swear.

There inevitably comes a time during every trip when I get… antsy.

know — it’s not enough that I get antsy when I’m not traveling.  No.  I also get antsy when I am traveling.  And while I don’t always act on it, I often feel that I need some kind of change.  Some kind of drastic purchase or body modification in order to commemorate the trip.

After leaving San Diego, I had an itch.  And since I wasn’t having any promiscuous sex, I knew exactly what it was.

“Let’s get tattoos!” I suggested to 2 of my long-lost loves, Stacy and Becs, over coffee in Austin one morning.

Stacy and I used to work together on Fort Bragg, and Becs was one of my hot-sauce makin’ employers in Costa Rica.  Somehow, via the twisting roads we like to call Fate and my own sheer good fortune, they both ended up living in Texas — San Antonio and Austin respectively, and only a couple of hours apart.

I was feeling extra comatose, which was horrific because I only had one day to spend with Bec.

So they took me to Austin Java in order to drug me back into consciousness.

Austin Java

“Hellooo… are you listening?  I said tattoos.”

Once they realized I was actually awake, the caffeine having worked its way through my capillaries and into my alertness and pleasure sensor receptacles (it’s all very sciency), the momentum snowballed.

“No tattoos,” Bec said.  “But there’s a piercing I’ve been wanting to get for a while.”

What?  Awesome.  Let’s go.

A quick check with the barista, who was overloaded with ink and holes and obviously an expert on the subject, and we were on our way.

Diablo Rojo

Welcome to Diablo Rojo.  We totally belong here.

Okay, Bec — Time to pick your poison.

So many choices…

Dainty and demure?

Statement tribal?

Large and in charge?

I’ll admit — I have no clue where most of these are supposed to go.

Fortunately, the expert piercer from New Zealand knew exactly what she was doing.

“This isn’t going to hurt… any more than sticking a metal needle through nerves and cartilage.”

These boots mean business.

Whenever you get a piercing, you have to get “the talk” on how the place sterilizes its needles and how to properly care for your new punctured body part.  If they don’t give you that talk, you should probably sober up immediately and get the f*ck outta there.

She’s still IN!

Wanna guess what she got?


Sterilizing the surface…

Just relax…

It’s no worse than a pap smear… it’s no worse than a pap smear…

Ta da!

“Hey, Devil — my eyes are up HERE.”

Anyway, she’s pulling. It. Off.

I, however, as the queen of now-cliché piercings and tattoos (yes, I have a navel piercing circa 1998 and a “tramp stamp” circa 2000), decided to hold off until I know what I really want.

I did make an impulse purchase at the coffee shop, though — and it was slightly more expensive than a couple of grande, non-fat chai lattes (though not by much):

Mike Johnston Painting "Beach Houses"

“Beach Houses,” painted on a piece of scrap wood, by local artist and elementary school art teacher, Mike Johnston.

I think I love it — nails and all.




You like?

Plumbing Pipe Closet Organizer

(No, the flange is not attached to the attic access panel.)

(Most accurate wall color representation above.)

Plumbing Pipe Closet Organizer Domestiphobia

I made it myself.

(Details soon.)

It’s Like Someone Injected Me With Speed This Weekend and I Can’t. Come. Down.

You know how I kind of sort of have a nasty habit of starting projects and never — ever — finishing them?

Like when I declared I was going to clean out the garage or organize my office or build storage for the master closet or decorate our bedroom?


I have news.

And try not to spit out your coffee when I tell you.

Here goes.

I’m actually making progress on two of those…

Valspar Gypsy Teal

Valspar’s “Gypsy Teal”

Cindy Crawford Style® Fontayne Grommet-Top Drapery Panel - Fog Mist & Taupe Gray

Click photo for curtain panel source.

Macy's Hotel Collection - Transom Charcoal

Click above photo for duvet cover source.

DIY Chalk Painted Dresser

DIY Chalk Paint Dresser (tutorial coming soon)

Ballard Designs - Julian Apothecary Lamp - Aged Silver

Click above photo for reading lamp source.

Solaris Olde Silver 3-light Chandelier by Chrystorama

Click above photo for more information about light fixture.

Closet and bedroom.

Peanut Butter Reece's Pieces Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies

Also, I baked cookies.  And I only ate like six.  Or seven.  The rest of these puppies are going to Afghanistan.  Click photo for recipe.

Yep.  That’s right.  You only get the crappy Instagrammed sneak peek.  Because between the painting and the decorating and the domesticating and the cold I’ve somehow managed to develop, I’m too tired and full of cookie dough to give you more.

Also, I still have some finishing touches I need to complete.

By the way — those of you all caught up in these various body cleansing diets that are currently all the rage, here’s a tip:  Consuming exorbitant amounts of raw cookie dough will also do the trick.

Just so you know.

In All Seriousness, I’m Not Sure If I Bought Enough Nipples.

Okay.  To those of you thinking of building yourselves a closet organizer made of plumbing pipes, because people do that all of the time, I have one piece of advice for you:


It’s only 8:30 in the morning, and already I’ve used up my math cache for the entire week.

Yep.  See, I only have a limited cache of math skills.  It’s so limited, in fact, that I’m forced to dole out math-related problem solving brain cells in carefully regimented quantities throughout the week so that I don’t run out before they have a chance to replenish.

And this project is using them all.

Even if you’re great at math, I would still not advise you to take on this project, unless you want Home Depot employees to run screaming for the exits every time you enter the store out of fear that you ask one of them to spend 2 hours — two hours! — custom cutting and threading galvanized pipe to your specifications in order to save a little moolah.

Obviously, I’m not above that.

And I’m going back today.


I probably shouldn’t publicly warn them on the internet.

Because I’m sure they read this blog, just to see if the crazy woman with graph paper and an extensive plumbing fitting vocabulary plans on coming back.

That’s right — due to my extensive research, I can talk flanges and elbows and tee fittings and nipples with the best of ’em.

I can even say “nipples” to a male Home Depot employee named Kelly without cracking a smile.

I’m that good.


My point?

Unless you have beyond stellar math and 3-dimensional planning skills and an extensive knowledge of pipe fittings and absolutely no fear of possible retaliation from disgruntled Home Depot employees, you probably don’t want to make a closet organizer from plumbing pipes.

But if you do, I’ll have the instructions for you eventually.

Unless the HD peeps slash my tires and start sending threats to my family.

Wish me luck.

See? I Have Proof.

Last week I posted photos of our back shed and proclaimed to all the internet (or maybe 1/1,000,000,000 of the internet) that my husband is a hoarder.  Really, the post was intended to be a giant metaphor for how far I’ve come in accepting the fact that the person I live with is human and that it’s possible to find ways to form our habits so they complement each other, rather than fight each other.  And… okay… maybe a little bit to call him a hoarder.

So all I would like to say to those of you (beloved readers) who defended Justin in the comments section, claiming his hoarding issues aren’t true hoarding, for shame.

I know you probably did it because he’s hot.

And he is.

But that does not negate the fact that he cannot throw anything away.  That shed was an unfair example because I’d already taken half of the mess out before snapping the photo.


You need further evidence?

I’ll give you further evidence.


Domestiphobia Garage

This is what I originally set out to clean.

See that flower pot on the right side, near the garage door?

I’d intended to move that and a few other select gardening tools out to the shed and then get back to this particular mess.

Let me break it down for you: The old ceiling fan from our bedroom, a broken tool organizer that our neighbor was going to throw away (it is currently still broken and holds zero tools), 2 televisions, a wood pallet, bags of mulch and garden soil, 5,287 empty cardboard boxes (those might be my fault), worn, crusted gym clothes, old doors, cement board, laminate flooring, wood scraps, shoe molding, trash, trash and more trash, and billions of DIY home supplies.

In a nutshell.

Yep, this is the very same garage I’d started to clean out last year.

I had.

But then this happened.

And this.

Domestiphobia Bedroom

And so the garage turned back into a veritable dumping ground for everything we couldn’t deal with — physically and, apparently, emotionally.


Who isn’t a hoarder?

Because I’m pretty sure it’s not this guy:


(By the way, I feel like I should mention that Justin added a dead bolt to our front door, hung crown molding in the kitchen, and switched out an outlet that had been driving me crazy this weekend.  I’m pretty sure the fact that he had a clean shed, courtesy of moi, was the underlying motivation.  It just makes sense that I should get credit for all things awesome.  Mwahahaha.)

(Yes.  I am one lucky girl.)

The Best Kind of Progress Isn’t Something You See. It’s Something You Feel.

Okay, so it might be because I ate approximately 80,000 calories worth of crusty, cheesy fried-then-baked eggplant parmesan, leftover spinach feta quiche, and German pancakes drizzled with a homemade sugary syrup yesterday.

Dutch Baby German Pancake

Check out that Dutch Baby, baby.  And please ignore my filthy oven.

Or it might be because I just ordered 26 galvanized malleable floor flanges from Amazon before having even one sip off coffee this morning.  Or it might be because I spent the entire day yesterday, aside from a 2-mile walk with the dogs and shoving approximately 80,000 calories worth of delicious, artery-jamming crap into my system, sketching out a design for a closet organizer made entirely out of plumbing fixtures and pine boards.

It might be one of those things.

But whatever it is, I’m feeling mighty accomplished this morning.

Fat, but accomplished.

On second thought, none of these things are the reason I feel accomplished.

They’re most certainly the reason I feel fat, but not the reason I feel accomplished.

I know exactly what it is.

But first, I need to take you back to Saturday.

Saturday, my friends, is the day I made an important and disturbing discovery about the person with whom I’ve chosen to live (aka. my husband).

This discovery wasn’t a complete surprise, mind you, since inklings of this issue’s existence have been cropping up, here and there, for the past 9 years.

But apparently I’ve been living in a protected shell of denial.  Apparently I haven’t wanted to make this discovery, because then I’d have to admit that the issue exists.

But on Saturday, I could ignore it no longer.

While Justin was busy doing this:

I ventured out to The Shed.

The Shed is a wonkily assembled, pseudo mini building attached to the back of our house, presumably added by the previous owners.  When we moved in 5 years ago, I quickly labeled the non-ventilated space as man territory, clearly, and have rarely ventured back since.

Until Saturday.

On Saturday, I walked into The Shed.

On Saturday, I saw this:

Messy Shed

Actually, I should clarify.  This is after I removed the lawn mower, a weed whacker, a small hand cart, and approximately 35 (or 6) large, assorted bags of garden soil.

That’s right.

My husband is a hoarder.

It turns out, every time I asked him to get rid of something — like the chicken wire we’d once used to line the inside of our fence to keep the pups from squeezing out — this is where he put it.  Not only that, but this is also where he put project supplies that he bought but didn’t want to immediately tackle.  So, it turns out, for years we’ve been storing oil-rubbed-bronze doorknobs (all of which we’ve since bought and replaced in the house), outdoor light fixtures (since bought and replaced), and giant bags of garden soil and mulch, all — you guessed it — re-bought and used multiple times over during the years that these things have sat, forlorn and neglected, in the bowls of The Shed.

I found bags of trash.

I found an unopened, unused seed starting kit.

I found a tupperware bowl I’d long – long – since given up finding.  Unfortunately, it was filled with oil-soaked newspapers, but still.  Finally discovering its fate brought me peace.

And so, my dears, did cleaning out that shed.

Clean Shed

If the difference doesn’t look drastic to you, keep in mind that this “after” photo, as opposed to the “before,” now contains a lawn mower, hand cart, weed whacker, large rake, cylinder of propane (where is the best place to keep this, by the way?), and several garden tools and flower pots.

I would have carted out the 7 bags of concrete mix, but I found that moving one from the bookshelf in the back to the rest of the pile may have caused me permanent back damage (just kidding — I think), so there they will stay.

This discovery was important because it made me admit — finally — that while Justin is an out-of-sight, out-of-mind type of person, I’m most definitely an it-might-be-out-of-sight-but-it’s-still-right-there-in-mind-so-it’s-still-giving-me-an-eye-twitch type of person.

And also, call me crazy, but I like to be able to access things without wading through a pile of garbage.

But — and pay attention because this is important — if I can just accept the above statements as fact and realize that Justin is about as likely to change his habits as I’m likely to sit in a cubicle for the rest of my life, then we’re one step closer to reaching a symbiosis that actually… I don’t know… might allow us to get things done.

A partnership, if you will.

If I can keep the shed looking like this, despite his rat-pack hoarding ways, then I’m giving him the tools he needs to do things like this:

Photo taken, unfortunately, on a much drearier day.

What happened on Saturday is that I made a mental leap.  One of acceptance, if not understanding.

And that, I think, is what we call accomplishment.

You Can Hardly Call It A Tease If It’s Completely Naked, Can You?

If I had a dollar for everything I’ve told you I would post about but have never actually posted about, I’d be able to buy… like… two Starbucks lattes.


But there’s one thing I’m particularly itching to share.

And of course, since it’s still not finished, I can only give you a peek.

A teaser, if you will.

DIY Chalk Paint Dresser

A hardwareless peek.

It might just be because she’s completely naked, but I think she’s pretty sexy.


Look for the House with the Swans. No, Really. You Can’t Miss It.

I’ve been busy.

I’m not gonna lie.

And it’s been great.

From juggling 3 jobs while a co-worker was out last week (I normally only juggle 2), to the usual freelance asides, to painting-yet-not-quite-finishing my bedroom furniture, to photographing a friend with her husband who’s deploying to Afghanistan, to trying to get out and enjoy this heavenly weather as much as possible, the last fifteen-or-so days have been a blur.

The blog has been suffering, for sure, but I figure I need to use this concentrated juice-like momentum to propel other aspects of my life — like expanding my freelance repertoire, working towards moving out of the guest room, and actually doing some of the crazy things I pin on Pinterest.  (Besides just making the food.  Which I do.  A lot.  Bacon guacamole grilled cheese sandwich, anyone?)

The good news, however, is I do have some exciting things planned for this little place in space.  Like telling you about my road trip, which is coming up quicker than expected.  And sharing more recipes, now that it’s light enough to actually decently photograph them in the evening.  And sharing a DIY chalk paint tutorial (previews on the Facebook page) for finishing your furniture.  And yes, I know there are a gagillion of those out there, but this one will be mine.

And you ain’t heard nothin’ until you’ve heard a domestiphobe’s take on a project.

Because we speak the truth.

The straight-up vanilla, ugly, acne-riddled truth.

Forget cost breakdowns and what kind of paintbrush I used — I’m going to share that and then some.  From what kind of beer provides the best hydration for the duration of the project to how many laptop streaming movies it actually took to complete, you’ll get all of the gritty, must-know details.

Mama knows what you really care about.

And now I’d like to take a moment to share something rather extraordinary.

I passed it on my way to a house I needed to photograph for work last week, and it spoke to me.

It said, you have to slow down, ogle, and snap a photo with your trusty iPhone, all while avoiding getting shot by the neighbors.  Because this IS the South.  So watch your back.


Are you ready?

Here goes.

No, this is not some foolish app of iPhone trickery.

Nor do your eyes deceive you.

This IS a house bedazzled, if you will, with plastic swans.

It’s like the owners stood in front of their nice-yet-plain-jane suburban facade and thought, You know?  Some stately white swans sitting atop those matching brick driveway pillars are just what we need to maximize curb appeal.  No, they wouldn’t be “too much.”  They’re white.  They match the siding.  They accent our entry.  And if we don’t do anything else to the yard — nothing whatsoever — it won’t matter because there will be swans.  It will be a revolution in outdoor decorating.  And all of our neighbors will be jealous of our originality.  Yep.  Forget landscaping — we have SWANS.

I think I might want some.

No longer would I have to explain to arriving guests that we’re the “white house with red shutters” or the “fifth house down on the left” or the “one with the leaning white mailbox and unkempt bushes.”


I’d just have to say, “Look for the house with the swans.  You can’t miss it.”

It would be awesome.

Hideously awesome.

Like guardians of the driveway, only much meaner than gargoyles.

I mean, have you seen swans in person?

They tried to attack my dog.

No joke.

So bad people would know to stay away from the house with the swans because swans are pretty much the nastiest, badassiest birds around.

Worse than Canadian Geese.

And I’m pretty sure my Home Owner’s Association would love them.

So.  When you start seeing the matching exterior white swan trend flying across the blogosphere, remember where you saw it first.

Forgive Me Pretty Baby But I Always Take the Long Way Home.

I’m going to be honest.

This was one of those weekends I wish I could do over.

Not because it was so spectacularly awesome, but because I feel it was relatively wasted in its entirety.  Aside from a fun night of drinks with a girlfriend on Friday, I didn’t do anything notable or interesting.  I accomplished exactly nothing.  I took not one step forward in any aspect of my life.  In fact, I actually took one step backwards because we had to return the curtains I ordered for the bedroom.

They weren’t right.

See, they were incredibly white.  And shiny.  And they felt like a bridesmaid’s dress, except they didn’t get prettier when I got them drunk.


*Update: My buddy Dennis commented that it’s ME who would have to get drunk in order for this scenario — and joke — to work.  That’s what I get for writing posts before 7:00 a.m. Why do you always have to be right, Dennis?  WHY?  (P.S. I don’t think I get prettier when they get drunk. Since I mostly walk around my bedroom naked, they’re not exactly lookin’ at my face, if you knowwhatI’msayin’.  Ba-dum-DUM.)

And actually, I made Justin return them, poor guy, because I couldn’t face the idea of going into town to shop.  Especially not for curtains.  Because apparently bedroom curtains are my Achille’s heel of decorating.  Well curtains, and pretty much anything else that requires money and a commitment.

But don’t feel too bad for Justin because he volunteered.  Probably because he wanted to get away from me and my manic online curtain shopping — that torturous hell hole of grainy photos, 80’s valances, and mixed reviews.

Oh, the reviews.  I read them for what feels like hours and was eventually convinced that it would be better for me to go pick a fabric and sew my own damn curtains even though the most I’ve ever sewed is a button but then I realized that in order to get fabric I’d either have to go out and shop, or I’d have to look online and read more reviews since everyone knows the reviews are the only thing allowing us to make a semi-confident purchase over the internet and still, because of my shiny white grommety curtain fiasco, I’ve learned that even the reviews are confusing and not always reliable and I’d probably end up with some kind of poop brown velvet that a bunch of strangers across the internet convinced me would be a good choice because of its energy-saving qualities and machine washability.

No, thank you.

Fortunately for me and my sanity, I’m learning how to live in the moment.  To step away from my privileged white girl problems, crack open a Yuengling, and surf instead for interesting road trip destinations and cheap tickets to anywhere.

It’s called escapism people, and it’s a beautiful thing.

That is, until you realize that an entire 48 hours have passed, your house is dirty, the laundry has piled up, you have no food in the fridge, you’re still only halfway through your book club book and the meeting is on Wednesday, you haven’t written anything worthwhile in an embarrassingly long amount of time, and you still have no curtains.

I don’t like wasting a weekend.  It makes me feel icky.  I’m one of those people who doesn’t feel right if something doesn’t get done.

But really, I’m thinking of moving us back into the bedroom anyway, because curtains are mostly just for the sake of the neighbors who don’t want exposure to the things that might happen in there, like reading in bed or swinging from our sex toy chandelier.  But honestly, if they don’t want exposure, then maybe they should just stop looking.

You know?

The good news is that I officially have something to look forward to, besides public displays of sex toy swingery.

Here’s a hint:

Okay.  That’s more than a hint.

It’s a road trip, baby!

So it’s not quite the epic cross-country trip that’s been consuming my thoughts, and it’s not even as far as Miami where I drive to visit my sister, but it’s something.

And some of those places are new to me.

And some have old friends.

And wonderful family.

And good food.

And a bed for me to stay.

Because while this trip could easily be accomplished in a single day, you know, in your heart of hearts, that it’s me.

It’s travel.

It’s unquestionable.

When it comes to going anywhere, I always take the long way home.

What about you?  Do you need to feel a sense of accomplishment over a weekend, or are you happy to relax and let one slide by?  Any fun trips planned?  Anyone else like to take the scenic route?

*Post title from “The Long Way Home” by Norah Jones. Love it.