Friday, July 30, 2010


One of the first things I heard when I arrived in South Dakota was, "Can I get you anything to drink? Pop, water, iced tea?" pop. Pop. POP! Ha! I knew I wasn't in Georgia anymore. And, I loved it. I didn't have a ton of interaction with people outside of Matt's family, but the few I had the pleasure of interacting with were so friendly. Everyone says people in the South are friendly, and they are for the most part, but people in the MidWest are also uber nice. Like, you want to give them a big hug and make them say words with a long "o" sound... like South Dakota or Minnesota.

I fully expected we'd have a good time in SoDak at the "Phalen Phrolics" family reunion 2010, but I didn't expect that I wouldn't want to leave on Sunday. It was so nice and relaxing, and as expected, I loved all of Matt's extended family. It was a weekend filled with food, SeaDoos, pontoon boats, food, four wheelers, golf carts, food, lawn games, Big Mable, food, the most amazing thunderstorm ever, KELO news station (which I was obsessed with because those are my initials if you include my maiden name), food, family, fun, and food... and did I mention food? Because we ate... a lot. (And, it wasn't really filled with much KELO but that was kind of fun to see that.)

The weather was perfect. I think I fused several vertebrae in my neck from riding Big Mable one too many times. Matt and I now want a lake house. And a jet ski. And, we'll definitely go back sooner than later. Unfortunately, it's not exactly the cheapest plane ticket, but worth it. I didn't get any people pictures on my camera, so I'm looking forward to seeing pics from Momma Kath and Tom and Uncle Dave's cameras. Go Team Scabs (that's me and Uncle Dave)! These pictures are in absolutely no order whatsoever, but enjoy. Hopefully I captured some of the beauty on my camera.

Ooops, foggy - it was cold inside and this is what happened when we came out.

farm roads






awesome lightning show

man, I love him (even if he looks pained...hehe)


sweet Bode



lawn games

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sister Act

More like twin act! My "baby" sister is seven years younger than me, but as of late, we are constantly asked if we are twins. It was certainly no exception when we were gallivanting around together in NYC. We had a great time and certainly stayed busy! We really didn't do any "touristy" stuff, and I feel bad that she missed out on that, but she wasn't really into it anyway. Her main goal was shopping. :)

View from the Brooklyn Bridge on my way into Manhattan.

My client's office is right across from this - Widespread Panic was playing just days after I left. Bet that was a good show!

She got in on Thursday, and I picked her up at Grand Central station, so she at least got to see that. We dropped off her stuff, got ready and headed down to Chelsea to meet Lindsey at a great pizza place called Co. We thought about that pizza the rest of the trip, and I will definitely try to go back the next time I'm up there. After dinner, we walked south and ended up at the SoHo House for a drink. Lindsey is a member, so we lucked out because that's the only way you're getting in! She had to work the next day, so she left us there after a drink and Brandi and I went up to the rooftop pool area for another drink and to enjoy the view.

In the cab on the way to Chelsea (Brandi's first NYC cab ride) :)

Rooftop at SoHo House

Gansevoort Hotel

SoHo House rooftop

Loved this sign in the SoHo House, but I think that means me... hmmmm.

So, after a few drinks and some conversation, we made our way back to our hotel in Midtown. We spent Friday walking around Midtown - Times Square (which I DESPISE, but it had to be seen... plus there's a ginormous Forever 21 that Brandi had to visit), 5th Avenue, candy at FAO Schwartz, and a quick stroll through the southeastern part of Central Park. After we'd walked ourselves out, we headed to the West Village where we spent the rest of our time. That night we went to eat at a little Italian place called Piccolo Angelo and then spent the evening at the Gansevoort rooftop.

Looking northeast

Looking north

Opposite view from the night before.

We really didn't drink that much that night, but I was not feeling so hot the next day (it was really weird, because Brandi was fine). But, after sleeping a little longer, some crackers and Diet Coke, I was as good as new. So, we ventured on the subway to Canal Street to do a little illegal knockoff shopping. Brandi was successful in finding a Louis Vuitton and Tiffany earrings. She commented as we left that she felt like we were doing a drug deal. While I have no idea what that feels like and hope she doesn't either, you do feel a little dirty when leaving. :) We walked north through SoHo, shopped around a bit and then headed back to the West Village to get ready for our amazing dinner at Abe & Arthur's. It was DELICIOUS, and we ate way too much!!!! I'm something of a bread pudding connoisseur, and that was the best bread pudding I've ever had. We ended up sitting next to a football player, but missed JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE and LEBRON JAMES by a night!!!! Dude, I would have fainted if I saw Justin Timberlake. Then, he would have had to give me mouth-to-mouth, and naturally, he would have fallen in love with me and forced me to leave Matt. And, of course, he'd dump that ugly chic, Jessica Beal. Duh. So, Abe & Arthur's is pretty much the hot spot, and I recommend if you can get a reservation. I'm lucky to have a hookup, so Brandi pretty much got to do some cool NYC stuff that she may not have been able to do otherwise. Jenn's sister and BF from high school are kind of a big deal in NY. So, after dinner, we were too full and too tired to go out, so we walked along the Hudson River and then went home and packed up to leave the next day.


The next day was spent brunching and grabbing cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery and then heading to the airport. It was great to spend that time with my little sister, and I hope she enjoyed her first (and definitely not last) trip to the Big Apple!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


A little link love over to our fabulous interior designer's blog for a post on our DIY re-do of the desk and chairs! I thought I saved a before picture of the desk but no such luck. It was beat up and stained with a lighter and redder (is that a word?) brown. We (and by we, I mean Matt) stained it dark walnut, which we apparently have a penchant for since it's the same color as our hardwoods. The chairs were all me, and I'm available for hire. ;) Go check it out.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Itchy and Scratchy Show

A little homage to an old favorite, The Simpsons.

WARNING: if you are easily grossed out, look away.

Y'all, poison ivy is serious business! Given my history of allergens, I'm sure I'm probably more allergic to poison ivy than the average bear. It is horrendous. I went to the doctor today and got a shot of steroids in the booty to help me stop itching, and I am just hoping and praying it works. I cannot go out in public with my legs showing, for fear of scaring small children (and grown adults who might fear I have the mumps). And, in case you didn't get the memo, it's been HOT has HADES up in here (hottest June on record internationally)! I've been wearing skirts and dresses to work pretty much every day, but I have had to wear pants yesterday and today, because my legs (specifically my right leg) look really bad. The pants actually make it worse, because of the constant contact/rubbing of the fabric on my skin. Between my still healing mountain bike laceration and this, I think someone is trying to keep me from showing my legs! I honestly am going to go to Old Navy and Target this evening to grab a few maxi dresses, so I can wear them this weekend

Beware of this stuff! I'd somehow managed to escape it my whole life and then I run into it working in our yard. We have the big planter area that runs through the front and side of our yard with crape myrtles, rose bushes, purple coneflowers, brown eyed susans, etc. and I was working in that cleaning out weeds and vines that had grown in. Well, apparently one of those vines was poison ivy. Awesome! NOT.

Okay, now if you want to see what poison ivy can do to you, look on. Otherwise, you were warned. It actually looks better in the pictures than it does in person, because you can't quite get the full idea of how big the welts are. Except in the first picture, if you look at the top of my leg, you can get an idea of the size of the bumps.

This is the outside of my lower right leg.

Top of my lower right leg.

Inside of my right arm. Try not to be too impressed by that bicep. ;)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Time Flies

Seriously, we're half way through July and I'm still trying to figure out what happened to June.

I am scatterbrained, so this post shall be too.

I have poison ivy.

I leave for NY tomorrow morning for work.

My sister flies to NY tomorrow evening to come play.

She's never been to NY before.

We are going to play, play, play our little hearts out Thursday night through Sunday.

She signed up for Twitter last night so we could stalk Bethenny (not in a scary way, but if the girl is at The Standard and we are a few blocks away, we might have to head there too).

I am ashamed that I got addicted to her show so very innocently a couple Thursday evenings ago. The TV was on Bravo from watching Top Chef the night before. Less than two minutes, and I was suckered in. But, she is hilarious, and I'm pretty sure we'd be friends. I may have even gotten teary eyed during her wedding.

I don't watch Housewives or similar reality TV.

I watch plenty of other Reality TV - Top Chef, Kate Plus Eight, Toddlers & Tiaras, Little People Big World, DWTS, SYTYCD, etc.

We have to remember to take lots of pictures.

Did I mention that we're staying at a friend's apartment in the West Village, while he and his family are at their beach house in Massachusetts!? Yeah, awesome friend. They live a few buildings away from Kiefer Sutherland.

Poison ivy sucks. It's really itchy. Statement of the century, right?

We're finally actually planning our Greece/Turkey vacation. We got our flight booked from Santorini to Istanbul yesterday, and we may even book some hotels too. Nothing like waiting until less than a month and a half before a trip you've been planning to take for many months!

We're going to South Dakota next weekend for a family reunion. I get to cross two states of my list, because we fly through Minnesota on the way. I keep two lists - one of states I've truly visited and another that includes states I've flown through/driven through. I've truly visited 27 states and been to 29 (have only flown through Detroit and Boston but never been to Michigan or Massachusetts... although, we were stuck in Logan Int'l for over 12 hours, so maybe that should count as visiting).

I got the iPhone 4. I am not obsessed with technology at all, yet I was like the first person to get one. Totally luck... I would not have waited in line for that thing, but I just happened to go preorder it the day it came out because I was not busy at work and brought my lunch. Took me all of 20-30 minutes and then it was delivered to my desk by 10:30am the day they came out. Awesomeness.

I am obsessed with Words With Friends. I've only lost once, and it was CLOSE!

I got a huge scratch on my screen even though I was trying to be so careful until I could find a dang screen protector and case. It makes me very sad.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Illegal Immigration

Chew on this. Can you really blame Arizona for taking matters into their own hands when the Federal government isn't stepping up to do anything? Not to mention, the Arizona law only upholds Federal regulations. What's all the hoopla about? I believe the key term is ILLEGAL.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Master Bedroom Breakdown

First, Capella has posted a few pics on her blog and website. This is a more accurate representation of the color. It looks a little more green in my pictures in the post below than it does in "real life".

So, above is basically the one page I got from Capella. There are few things missing from here to make it a bit cleaner to post, and of course, she also sent a source list, paint colors, fabrics, and room layout. We used *most* of what Capella recommended. Below I will source each item and whether or not it was included in the plan.

Wall color - Pearl Gray by Benjamin Moore
Ceiling color - Mountainscape by Benjamin Moore
Side tables -
Bedside lamps - Arteriors Leopard Silveria glass lamps
Headboard - custom by New Again Upholstery
Headboard, bedskirt and pillow fabric - Lewis & Sheron (don't remember the name but it's a grayish blue linen type fabric)
Bedskirt - custom by moi
Tray and box on side tables, pillow on settee - West Elm (not included in IDESIGN but picked out by Capella)
Settee - Nate Berkus on
Duvet - Pottery Barn (Matt did not like the quilt in the IDESIGN)
Throw on settee, baskets and other accessories - Home Goods
Large wall art - Ballard Designs
Smaller wall art - frames and mats from Sam Flax, larger print from, smaller print from 20x200, personal photo (the art she sourced was from One Kings Lane and I waited too long to purchase)
Desk - Craig's List, refinished by my handy husband
Chairs - passed on from my grandma, Memere - painted BM Castleton Mist and recovered in fabric from L&S by moi (loved the Ballard chair Capella recommended in IDESIGN and would have used it if these weren't just sitting begging for a makeover)
Floor mirror - already mine from Ballard
Shades - bamboo from Home Deport (I couldn't make up my mind on the beautiful, fabric shades Capella picked out so I opted to save that money and go with bamboo; definitely a possibility to upgrade at some point)

So, I've said it before and I'll say it again... Capella was awesome. I really couldn't picture how it was all going to turn out, but I trusted her and that was the best decision I could make. I also have to admit... I had a little more help than the typical IDESIGN customer, because I was her first client to do this. However, it shows me how truly invaluable an interior designer can be. My brain just doesn't work that way. I will definitely do IDESIGN again in the future and then pay her hourly for the extra help be it selecting other options for something or staging the room. I would also consider her full design services if it makes sense... as of now, we like to DIY so this is the better way for us to go.