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Trip to Tennessee

22 Jun

Hubster and I have some downtime in our wedding season this year. Last year we took advantage by heading out to Colorado for a week. It was AMAZING! (see pictures here and here) This year we’re more budget conscious thanks to moving cities over the winter. As luck would have it, my aunt and uncle came in the same weekend as our studio open house and renewed their request to have us out to take pictures of their bed and breakfast. We accepted so the trip planning is on… but not really in full swing. Colorado, especially Boulder, was a bit more up our alley (i.e. Let’s hike in the morning and happy hour in the evening. Done.) Tennessee is… well I’m not quite sure what we’re going to do. So I’m soliciting suggestions.

Here’s an estimate of the route we’re going to take.

It’s our first road trip and I’m interested in making a stop or two along the way if we find something worthy. The general plan is go through Nashville on the way out. We’ll leave mid-day so any stops would need to be short so we don’t get to the B&B too late. On the way back, I’m thinking we’ll head through Kentucky so we have some variety. We should have all day to travel so if there’s something worth stopping at I’m open to ideas. I’m also willing to reverse the route if something in Nashville really piques our interest.

We have two strong candidates to for filling our few days in Tennessee:
Smoky Mountain National Park
Biltmore Estate (technically this is in North Carolina, but I keep hearing it is worth the day trip)

We’re not into super hokey touristy things, which seems to be limiting in this area (i.e. We’re not going to Dollywood. As a side note, Hubster and I have actually both been to Dollywood in our younger years. This seems very random to me.) We’re also not huge into country or bluegrass music… also limiting.

Barring those things, any suggestions from the audience?

How sweet he is

9 Jun

At the end of May, Hubster and I celebrated our 6th anniversary. (Wow! Somehow ticking past the 5 year mark just makes me feel old.)

Normally you’d expect a gift exchange on an anniversary, but we’re really bad about gift giving. We have a tendency to buy what we want, which doesn’t leave a lot of extra wishes on our list. So the general assumption is “no gifts”… but that doesn’t always happen. Instead, one of us will get a wild hair, purchase a gift (or two) and leave the other one saying “I didn’t know we were doing this…”

Apparently it was my turn to feel a bit bad, because Hubster knocked it out of the park.
 

Gift 1: Milk glass cake stand

I’ve been eyeing one of these on Etsy, but it was a bit more than I wanted to spend. So every recent trip to an antique mall trip has been backed by the hope that I’d find one in the “wild”. It may have been the promise of more cakes or just a useful prop for my new cooking blog, whatever the inspiration I’m happy to have this baby in the house and counting down the days until I have a minute to bake.
 

Gift 2: An iPad of my very own

The key to this gift is the last part: it’s all mine. The first thing Hubster said after he bought “our” iPad was, “We probably need two of these.” I disagreed, partially because I wasn’t excited about spending that kind of money twice in one week. What I didn’t realize was this was some kind of guy code for “I will be using this technology exclusively and if you want more than visiting rights, you best get your own.” Lesson learned. A few weeks ago I announced that I did, indeed, need my own (preferably with 3G so we can use it while traveling) and he used our anniversary to fulfill that desire.

So, Hubster, good job! You’re amazing, as always! I love that you surprise me with things I wouldn’t buy for myself. Maybe next birthday/Christmas/anniversary I’ll come up with some awesome gifts for you. Until then, at least you’ll be getting cake.

Resolved to read more

11 May

I’m notoriously bad at making New Year’s Resolutions. They seem almost pointless to me. Why wait until the beginning of the year to make positive changes in your life? I’m fairly sure “Floss more” was my standard answer between 2006 and 2009 when asked about a possible resolution. And honestly I didn’t even try to keep that resolution.

This year, I was struck with a bit of inspiration in December after my director at work had her entire group read “Monday Morning Leadership.” One of the tips in the book is to read a few minutes each day in order to finish 12 books a year. It was such a simple sentiment that I knew immediately I wanted to give it a try. Plus it seemed like a challenge that would only have positive impacts.

My original thought of reading 24 business-related books was modified to 12 non-fiction books, which I figured was a more manageable goal and allowed some flexibility with my topics.

So far it’s been going great! I’ve finished the following books:

January – Four Hour Work Week (if you don’t know, this was part of the inspiration for this blog)

February – Freakonomics (The most interesting read thus far. I highly recommend it.)

March – Who Moved My Cheese (This book is tiny, but perfect for a March that was fairly busy.)

April – Moon Walking with Einstein (This was added to my list after seeing an interview with the author on The Daily Show. It was really entertaining and well written.)

Now I’m up to “Nuts: Southwest Airline’s Crazy Recipe for Business and Personal Success” and I’m really struggling. The book seems very dated (it was published in 1998 and we know a lot has happened since then). Also the authors seem to be so passionately in love with the company that it makes me a little ill. I’m not saying I want a totally objective read, but the authors seem to have moved from appreciation to fawning all over Southwest. And thus far it’s just been boring! I’m about 80 pages in and wondering if I should chuck it and get a new book for May, which has its own set of problems. The main one is that I’ve been ordering sets of books from Amazon and I may not get a new batch in time. That single fact is pushing me to stick it out with “Nuts” but I’m not exactly excited about it.

 Has anyone read this book? Were you bored in the beginning? And most importantly, did it get better or did you give up reading it? Also, do you have any New Year’s Resolutions you are still actively pursuing?

Welcome baby Jackson!

3 May

Yesterday was quite the exciting day for me!  As an only child, you’re never certain if you’ll have the opportunity to have a niece or nephew.  Fortunately, for me, my husband has several siblings so I had a feeling my chances had increased!  Well, yesterday, my husband’s older brother and his wife had an adorable baby boy, Jackson Thompson.  The middle name is still TBD. 

The entire experience was new to me.  I somehow managed to stay at work, relatively focused, the entire day, knowing that the other Christine Thompson had been induced that morning and would be giving birth sometime yesterday.  Thankfully, my brother in-law sent me updates via text message so I didn’t feel like I was in the dark at my desk all day.  Things were progressing along very well so at 4pm, I hit the road to meet up with Brett to go to the hospital.

By the time we arrived, we were told that Christine was in the “pushing phase” already!  Sure enough, at 5:47pm CST, Jackson arrived, healthy as can be!  He weighed in at 8 lbs 12 oz and is 21 ½ inches long.  Big, beautiful boy!

While Christine (did I mention my brother in-law’s wife is also a Christine?) recuperated and had some dinner, we rushed up to the nursery to see the cutie pie through the window:

Wow, I had no idea how much they put a baby through right out of the gate!  Jackson was so cool, calm, and collected though.  He only cried a little bit when they pricked his foot for blood and a little during his first bath.  However, as she measured him and gave him a thorough overall inspection, he was about as easy going as can be!  I just watched quietly, trying to take it all in, for what seemed like an hours.  It was so much to learn and absorb.  Good luck Brad and Christine!

Before we headed out, we were able to see the lucky mom and dad.  I see where Jackson gets his calm attitude.  Both parents were so relaxed and so happy.  I’m anxious to check up on them in a week from now to see if that’s changed from the sleepless nights!  Ha!  No, I know they’re going to be a fabulous, loving family.  Congrats to Brad and Christine!

And before you even ask….Brett and I say, “Never say never, but children are not in our 5 year plan!”

Eloquent rants

14 Apr

 

I feel like I’m on a roll today. I’ve skewered Microsoft Office Auto Formatting publicly on my Facebook page and sent a private rant to Hubster regarding a photography pet peeve.

I think I’m most eloquent when I rant. Something about finding the best way to slam something that is annoying me feels like a minor victory. It also appeals to my sarcastic nature.

To that end, I decided to revisit one of my favorite rants that was penned by Mike Lacher and titled “I’m Comic Sans, Asshole” via McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. This isn’t a PG post, nor is it targeted towards those who don’t know what a serif is. However if you’re a graphic or font lover and you haven’t seen this you’ve been living under a rock you should check it out. Consider it a pre-Friday distraction.

 I’m Comic Sans, Asshole – By Mike Lacher

Listen up. I know the shit you’ve been saying behind my back. You think I’m stupid. You think I’m immature. You think I’m a malformed, pathetic excuse for a font. Well think again, nerdhole, because I’m Comic Sans, and I’m the best thing to happen to typography since Johannes fucking Gutenberg.

You don’t like that your coworker used me on that note about stealing her yogurt from the break room fridge? You don’t like that I’m all over your sister-in-law’s blog? You don’t like that I’m on the sign for that new Thai place? You think I’m pedestrian and tacky? Guess the fuck what, Picasso. We don’t all have seventy-three weights of stick-up-my-ass Helvetica sitting on our seventeen-inch MacBook Pros. Sorry the entire world can’t all be done in stark Eurotrash Swiss type. Sorry some people like to have fun. Sorry I’m standing in the way of your minimalist Bauhaus-esque fascist snoozefest. Maybe sometime you should take off your black turtleneck, stop compulsively adjusting your Tumblr theme, and lighten the fuck up for once.

People love me. Why? Because I’m fun. I’m the life of the party. I bring levity to any situation. Need to soften the blow of a harsh message about restroom etiquette? SLAM. There I am. Need to spice up the directions to your graduation party? WHAM. There again. Need to convey your fun-loving, approachable nature on your business’ website? SMACK. Like daffodils in motherfucking spring.

When people need to kick back, have fun, and party, I will be there, unlike your pathetic fonts. While Gotham is at the science fair, I’m banging the prom queen behind the woodshop. While Avenir is practicing the clarinet, I’m shredding “Reign In Blood” on my double-necked Stratocaster. While Univers is refilling his allergy prescriptions, I’m racing my tricked-out, nitrous-laden Honda Civic against Tokyo gangsters who’ll kill me if I don’t cross the finish line first. I am a sans serif Superman and my only kryptonite is pretentious buzzkills like you.

It doesn’t even matter what you think. You know why, jagoff? Cause I’m famous. I am on every major operating system since Microsoft fucking Bob. I’m in your signs. I’m in your browsers. I’m in your instant messengers. I’m not just a font. I am a force of motherfucking nature and I will not rest until every uptight armchair typographer cock-hat like you is surrounded by my lovable, comic-book inspired, sans-serif badassery.

Enough of this bullshit. I’m gonna go get hammered with Papyrus.

I especially love the last two lines. I would SO wear a T-shirt with that on it. LOL!

Have a great weekend! We’ll be coating our condo with new paint!

How we got from there to here

24 Mar

Posts like this one from Little Green Notebook make me want to move!

I love, love the last picture where the first aid supplies are organized in colored dishes. Genius! (And for the record I’m not a huge Martha Stewart follower. Who really has time for paper mache-ing Christmas decorations or the like? I don’t! But this idea is so, so simple and it appeals to my Type A personality.)

My first instinct was “I want to go home, right now, and organize.” Then I remembered I don’t really have a home, which is something I should explain.

I can’t pinpoint that start of our longing to move to St. Louis, but the desire to move out of our suburban home in Blue Springs definitely started well over three years ago. The housing marketing was “great” when we got married and so we followed conventional wisdom and purchased a home. Unfortunately we just didn’t know enough about what we wanted in life and quickly realized that chain restaurants and yard work were not on the list. After a failed attempt to sell our house in 2009, we buckled down and redid our basement into a great meeting space and home office for Hubster to continue to grow the business.

Then we waited… and waited … and waited.

Along the way the economy tanked, we started shooting more weddings in St. Louis and I became pretty unhappy in my 9-to-5. I was ready to grow and there was just nowhere to go (ooh I rhymed!). So when the job search went into high gear I applied to a lot of openings in St. Louis. After several months, and lots of cross-state driving, I actually got TWO job offers on the same day! Shortly thereafter I packed my car and moved into my parent’s basement. The new job has been great, but the time living apart from Hubster is definitely “the dark ages”. Boo to that! Thankfully he joined a few months ago. So now we’re both living in the house with my parents… and our Great Dane… and thanks to the sale of our house (YAY!!!!) all of our stuff.

Fortunately having our Blue Springs house out of our lives has lifted a weight off our shoulders. And we are already looking for apartments for townhouses to rent in the city. (The next trip will look like the map below because we’re not actually in the city limits yet.)

Posts like the one on Little Green Notebook (and my own posts like this) just make me realize I’m SO, SO, SOOOO ready to get a space that’s all our own. I’m ready to nest… and worried for Hubster’s sake, because I’m not sure exactly how that will manifest. It’s been a full 6 months since I moved out of anything resembling our own space. So he can’t really blame me right?

Is anyone else having these nesting urges? Maybe spring is making you a little stir crazy?

Life ADHD

21 Mar

As mentioned in my initial post, this blog is all about exploration. There are no set goals (besides posting regularly) because we’re both willing to let it ride and see where it takes us. That seems to be an overarching theme to my life at the moment.

I’m a little worried that I’m developing life ADHD. I just don’t know what I want to do! Here’s a breakdown of recent thoughts

  • 45 days ago – Polish photography skills and work up to first shooter status. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly know my way around a camera. But Hubster is definitely the lead when it comes to all things photography. I want to keep growing in this area so I can take on my own shoots, especially boudoir, family and senior portraits.
  • 30 days ago – Open an Etsy store! See more details here.
  • 15 days ago – Start this blog and see where it goes.
  • 14 days ago – Start a travel blog.
  • 30 minutes ago – After gazing at Design and Designers 2011 calendar  and then eyeing some gorgeous and fun invites on 100 Layer Cake (by Oh Joy! and Wedding Paper Divas), I thought, “I should learn letterpress.”

  • 5 minutes ago – Upon remembering my plan to start a travel blog, I did some quick research on Google to test my name for it.

ADHD much?

Ok, so maybe it’s not ADHD. I think I’m a dabbler. It’s not that I always chase the newest idea to cross my path. I’ve always had a deep seated love for visual arts and I can definitely see that current running throughout my notions listed above. What I’m worried about is the fact that I don’t have enough time or passion to pursue them all… and how do I choose? Do I break it down to which could turn into a business? Is that really the end goal?

I just don’t know what I want to do with my life…

If I took a week off of reality (hello PTO), I honestly think I’d try all of things listed above… and maybe a few others… and maybe that’s exactly what I need to do.

Is anyone else going through this turbulent exercise of defining your life? I can’t be the only one who stares at my cubicle walls and thinks “this can’t go on forever.”