Friday, September 2, 2011

Paper Cuts and Glue Gun Wounds for the Sake of Prettiness

Every Monday, I keep vowing to be a better blogger. And then...I get all caught up in working on things for our wedding and suddenly, it's Thursday - of the following week.

So, now, I'm vowing to start this "betterness" in December (after the wedding and our Bon Voyage party). Until then, I'll just pop up with a few little Mandylynn musings and maybe a photo or two of my DIY creations...low resolution iPhone pics, of course. Le sigh.

Here are a few little glimpses to prove I'm not just sitting around eating macarons while my blog waits patiently for attention.

All of our party invites are being hand-drawn...and painted...and lettered...and stamped...and tied.
Oh, and wax sealed...

Our party will have a French patisserie color theme,
so I'll be covered in pistachio green and pink paint through early November.

My Paper Peonies. Only about 90,0oo more to make. :)
Hopefully, I'll be able to peek over the pile to say hello every now and again until the Winter.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Favorite Poem

image via pinterest

A few nights ago, I was sitting at the dining table with Freckled Boy working on the invites to our pre-wedding Bon Voyage celebration (Future Un-Freckled Brother-in-Law refers to this as "the Preception") and somehow we ended up discussing a sad event.

When I was just out of college, my parents had a house fire and lost pretty much everything. Thankfully, they were safe from harm. But among the "everything" lost were 2/3 of my gigantic book collection. The parents were storing for me since I didn't have the space in my teeny first apartment.

With most things, enough time allows you to make light of things a bit and my mother always jokes now that all that paper added fuel to the fire. We laugh about it, because what else can you do really?

Anyway, back to the dinner table with Freckled Boy. He asked me if I'd replaced all those books. The truth was, after my initial sad shock, I began to realize that I didn't need to have them all around me. They had given me so much in the time we spent together - almost like a family pet, or the views from a long train ride in a foreign country.

There was a copy of one book, though, that I was elated to find shelved in a used bookstore a year or so after the fire. Tattered and slightly dust-infused, it was one dollar and I would have paid one hundred. It was the old 1970's college anthology, with a pink and brown municipal building-style generic seascape on the cover. The pages were what I call "bible paper thin". The version I'd owned pre-dated me by 10 or so years, so I was really shocked to find another. But there it was, the book where late in the night a 15 year old girl found her favorite poem.

I immediately jumped up from the table when I remembered and plucked it from our shelf just under Jason's favorite bottle of Gin. I hadn't opened the book in years, but the minute I did, it fell open to the poem. Apparently, I had also trained the spine of the replacement copy to go there from frequent use as well.

Wallace Stevens (1879 - 1955)
The House Was Quiet And The World Was Calm

The house was quiet and the world was calm.
The reader became the book; and summer night

Was like the conscious being of the book.
The house was quiet and the world was calm.

The words were spoken as if there was no book,
Except that the reader leaned above the page,

Wanted to lean, wanted much to be
The scholar to whom his book is true, to whom

The summer night is like a perfection of thought.
The house was quiet because it had to be.

The quiet was part of the meaning, part of the mind:
The access of perfection to the page.

And the world was calm. The truth in a calm world,
In which there is no other meaning, itself

Is calm, itself is summer and night, itself
Is the reader leaning late and reading there.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Humidity Makes the Hair Grow Into Fun Shapes

Well, it's Summer in Atlanta. I think it has been since late February. All in all it's been an extra odd year for weather here. We had multiple snows (Northeastern friends, please don't mock. 6 inches is still considered snow if snow is present.) and then one day of spring and straight into the nineties.

My Summer project has been to grow hair. Don't worry, I'm concentrating on my head only. For years now, I've battled with the random waves that sprout and just opted to stay at chin-length so as not to frighten people and animals.

My hair has always had opinions of where it wanted to go and it normally was not straight down. But, lately, I've been finding out that maybe other people have this hair too. They've just kept it flatironed into submission. Suddenly, my wavy declarative hair is becoming the norm in ads and on runways. Really? Could this be true?

Stumbling around pinterest, I came across a photo of one of my fashion icons, Alexa Chung and sure enough, there it was, confused jumbled hair looking positively fashionable and dare I say sexy? I do. I say it. Look!

image via designcrushblog

image via

I'm positively encouraged, at least until I go outside. That's when what I call the "angel fuzz" appears. It's like a glowing hair halo of delicate frizz all around the top of my head. I only have hopefully 2 more months of this, so in the interim, I'm entertaining these delightful solutions: The poster is just for inspiration, I won't wear it. I don't think...)
1. & 2. Asos
3. funnelcloud
4. Birchbox

Also, check out this adorable post about the sticky stuff. It enlightens you on how to say "humid' in Japanese. Apparently, it's not only regulated to Hotlanta.

Scheduling Creative Time

Looking back over my blog, I find a lot of tiny cries for help woven into my posts. I know that I'm very much at a point in my life where a shift is necessary, and I seem to be constantly implying the question, "How?".

I've always kept my creative impulses separate from my work life. For a long time this was intentional. I liked to think of painting or crafting as an escape of sorts from a stressful week at work. Now, though, across the threshold of thirty, I no longer feel okay with working in an environment where there are no paintbrushes.

The trouble is, I've already spent a small fortune pursuing what I now refer to as a "Dinner Conversation Degree" at a women's college in lieu of a sure thing scholarship at a now world-renowned art college.

So, in the meantime, I stare longingly at Etsy shops and blogs and the people running them who made the quintessential choice to take Adobe classes and spend summer semesters in Italy painting that now have entire days free to devote to doing what they love.

I'm not entirely gloomanddoomwoeisme negative Nancypants about it all. I do have plans for change, but they have to wait until after the wedding and a little bit of savings account cushioning have happened.

In the meantime, I'm curious about those of you who juggle a 9-5 with your glitter and glue. Do you work on a schedule or just try to create when the impulse strikes? I have a tendency to get overwhelmed and then go into hiding. It must be stopped, and for now, time management and even ...ugh... some type of allotted time to create seem to be in order.

What's your daily schedule look like?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Money Can't Buy Me Love or Doe Eyelashes

I can't even begin to remember how many times I've heard the praise of a certain cult favorite mascara. You know, the watermelon-colored tube one? Or the blush from NARS with the title that makes one blush more. For the product-obsessed, certain items are mentioned so often they conjure up images of magical instant glamour. "Poof!", one swipe and you glow.

I once knew a beautiful Australian flight attendant, married to a wealthy Italian man who flew to Rome and Milan every week for work. If all that wasn't enough to induce a bit of envy, she had eyelashes that were so lovely, I was convinced they must be the result of a magic potion of some type. When I asked her about them, she replied, "Lancome".

Working in the spa industry, I had occasionally spent upwards of $150 on a skin care product, $40 on a conditioner, $13 for a bar of French soap, but for some reason had never really broken the $20 mark on mascara. I just couldn't do it. Not when I knew the watermelon tube was lurking at my pharmacy for five bucks.

The truth is though, that watermelon tube never did anything except separate my already puny 15 eyelashes into slightly less puny clumps of 3 eyelashes.

Finally, last month, a mere eight years after hearing "Lancome" in an Australian Italian-inflected accent from my gorgeous friend, I looked the other way and spent $32.

I planned a romantic evening for just the two of us. Me and my new shiny black tube of amazingness. I poured a glass of wine. Turned on the lamp on the vanity to a warm glow and then discovered that my coveted dream product made my lashes look like I'd glued clumps of charcoal to them. Sigh.

Lesson learned. Some people just have good lash genes. Alas, I am not among them.

The moral of this tale? Work with what you've got and don't buy into the hype ;)

The good news - I have naturally high cheekbones. The Nars product? I'll take two please.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Playing Ostrich

Wednesday seems as good a day as any to pull my head out the sand and say hello again.

I've always been someone who is easily overwhelmed. Sometimes, in the case of chocolate or creme brulee for example, this is wonderful. One bite or two spoonfulls and I'm in a blissful heavenly state. But...other times, I think it keeps me from fully realizing my potential in things or fully experiencing the present.

Whenever I start to get busy with my calligraphy or illustration projects, instead of being excited, I panic. "I've got a full-time day job. I'm planning a wedding. I to paint my toenails with glittery polish and read War and Peace. I just can't do it!" And Etsy site goes on "Vacation Mode". I turn away offers to do fabulous projects and end up sleeping my afternoons away in hiding.

Oh, and I neglect my blog. Why?

Why can't I learn to be "one of those people" who can balance tout le monde tout le temps?
So many of you out there in blogland seem to have perfected the work life balance thing with time left over to look super-cute and drink lattes on patios. I realize that's what's nice about blogging. We can choose only to share the lovely things and perhaps omit the pile of mail, the pile of laundry, the pile of piles.

But nevertheless, advice would be appreciated. And it's lovely to see you again. Perhaps we can share a latte. :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

If My Blog Were a Plant

If my blog were a plant. It would be angry, like this one:

It would blame me for weeks of neglect and I would feel terrible.

Fortunately, my blog is a blog and if you're still reading this, maybe you aren't making an angry plant face and are as happy to see me as I am to see you again here in this little square of interweb.

So, what's new for you?

I actually finally purchased the table I mentioned a few posts back, finished a TON (or at least 75lbs.) of calligraphy projects AND had some fun engagement pics taken as an early wedding gift by our friend and fabulous photographer Lyndsay Sweeney.

So, back to you...anything new and exciting happen during my disappearance?