The Worst Souvenir Ever

We bought the worst souvenir ever while on our honeymoon in Paris.

Coffee and map reading.

Coffee and map reading.

I know what you are thinking –

How is that possible? It was your honeymoon! Everything should have been oozing romance and perfection. What prompted you to purchase something that would have been anything less than satisfactory?

I had such HIGH hopes for this souvenir too, it makes me so sad to think that it is now hidden away in my closet, stacked between heavy books not easily moved.

It is not a common souvenir.
In fact, it was custom made, right before our eyes.
One of a kind.
A complete original.

It is not one of those cheesy dime-a-dozen key chains with the Eiffel tower or a neon-green shirt with ‘City of Love’ sprayed across the chest in obnoxiously large font.

Nope. It is way better that.

It is a charcoal drawing/sketch of my portrait done by a seemingly talented artist who was standing right along the Seine, just next to the Eiffel tower.

As if, this was the most convenient place for an artist to create art.

Moments before we found the artist.

My camera bag is only slightly large. Moments before we found the artist.

He caught our eye because he had just finished a sketch and it was stunning. The woman looked beautiful. She had deep shades to show the contour of her facial bones and her eyes were smiling. Immediately, Mr. Speedy asked how much and agreed I would be the subject.

However, the artist’s work that we just saw, and approved of, was taking a break so his co-worker promptly stepped in and began my sketch.

This is so exhilarating! We can frame this and always remember our honeymoon and Paris… I thought as I sat and positioned myself to look at the artist.

I used to be an model for the Art Department at grad school and it was my favorite job ever. This brought back a flood of memories and kind of gives a person a whole new level of value that they can keep to themselves. I can be the subject. I am the subject. I am being art.

However, after some time and sketching, it was apparent something was very very very wrong.

Mr. Speedy kept snooping, peeking over the artist’s shoulder, and making these contorted faces as if he just bit into a rotten apple.

And when the artist was finally done and wiped his brow, as if to say You were difficult… but I am a master, I held my breath hoping it was a notable likeness.

To my horror, this is what he saw in me:

My neck is a size XXL. Just to let you know if you buy me a button up.

My lips are NOT that lush. Those eyebrows… did he miss out on how the thickness? My neck is a size XXL. Just to let you know if you buy me a button up.

Man. I am a man.

Man. I am a man.

WHAT IS THIS.

WHAT IS THIS.

We payed the artist, and walked away with our sketch (if you can even call it that, it is more like a long-lost twin brother), and wondered how on Earth did the man think that this looked anything like me?

“I feel like he looked at you, and any type of flaw, like your thicker eyebrows or freckles, he altered your face. I don’t like it. I love your face and this is not it,” Mr. Speedy said.

It’s true – my real features are pretty plain – I have small lips, large eyes, thick eyelashes, crazy eyebrows, freckles, and a very thin neck.

Mr. Speedy things that this portrait looks like….

  • Me as a male football player
  • Me as an male army sargent
  • Me if I got lip injection, a nose job, and tweezed all my eyebrows out
  • Me if I was not me

I guess in the future, if we REALLY want a portrait done, we should probably go with an artist who is a bit more legitimate than a man sketching tourists along the Seine.

Sincerely,

Lily

p.S. On a completely unrelated note, I just figured out our iPad has Photobooth which means I can take pictures like this:

20140717-183610-66970429.jpg

A Painting for 100 Days

Mr. Speedy and I have been officially married for over 100 days.

I just love this picture. It is so.... quiet. Peaceful. If I could picture a heart that is content, it would look something like this.

I just love this picture. It is so…. quiet. Peaceful. If I could picture a heart that is content, it would look something like this.

100 days.

This is basically the gestation period for a pig… which is actually QUITE ironic because we just bought this delightful painting of a pig.

This painting made me laugh so hard at the shop, that I knew I would never get tired of looking at it. It’s one of those works of art is just so simple and plain and ordinary, you kind of feel like you are looking at the extraordinary. It is the type of painting that instantly resurrects a smile from my face.

It makes me feel like I’m looking at something out of storybook:

I wanted to name him 'Saturday' because we bought him on a Saturday, but Mr. Speedy named him Chester.

I wanted to name him ‘Saturday’ because we bought him on a Saturday, but Mr. Speedy named him Chester.

It was done by a local artist that obviously has some impressionistic-like talent. The brushstrokes are fantastic:

Chester. I'm smitten with you.

Chester. I’m smitten with you.

I still need to frame this. I was thinking a gilded gold one to contrast with the black background? He deserves a decorate enclosure, don’t you think?

Looking at this pig, reminds me how darn thankful I am to have Mr. Speedy.
A husband that allows me to buy a farm animal painting on a moments notice.
A spouse that is okay with my taste in decor.
A partner that supports my random needs or wants.

This painting will always remind me of our first 100 days or so together.
It’ll remind me of this summer.
Waking up late and finding each other under the sheets.
It’ll remind me of meandering around an antique shop, looking for everything and nothing all at once.
Picking out items and pointing, as if silently asking ‘Will this work?’
It’ll remind me of saying yes sometimes to things out of the ordinary.

Like this painting.

When I chatted Mr. Speedy that we have been together for same amount of days that it takes a pig to reproduce, his response was this:

2014-07-15_1023

Did I mention I love this man?
He doesn’t even realize how directly he speaks to my heart, my soul, the marrow of my bones.

A painting for each cornerstone in marriage.
What an unconventional, romantic way to go about our life together.

MUSHY, I KNOW.

Sincerely,

Lily

 

 

 

The Best Stamp in my Passport

Name this movie-

But Jack, Jack gave me the perfect gift
a stamp in my passport.
He took me to Florence for our honeymoon.
I guess he might say he gave me the world.

While You Were Sleeping.

While You Were Sleeping.

As I held my ticket to Paris, this scene and these words kept replaying in my head.

I was about to see the world, a world I only had studied and read about in Art History, a world that Mr. Speedy knew meant everything to me.

I hope one day I can give him the world.
The trip of a lifetime.
Take him some place he has always wanted to go but never had the chance.
Maybe this will just a be a lifetime of making a home, family, and memories with him?

Here is an overview of what we did/saw during our trip.

First, Mr. Speedy really went above and beyond with our stay in Pairs.
We stayed in a suite at the Saint James Pairs.
A previous mansion that is now a luxury hotel.

The lobby.

The lobby.

Us on the first night outside the Saint James.

Us on the first night outside the Saint James.

Our room was two levels and decorated in highly elaborate fabrics, wallpapers, patterns, and paintings. We had a spiral staircase that made me dizzy. Portraits of people. A set of really tall windows (no screens). It was very unique.

The sitting room. I LOVE this book wallpaper.

The sitting room. I LOVE this book wallpaper.

Enough about the room.

Here is what we did:

  • Arc de triomphe
  • Eiffel Tower
  • Musee de l’orangerie (see the beautiful massive Monet waterlilies here)
  • Champs Elysees (major street with shopping, shopping, and more shopping)
  • Musée Marmottan (a tour of a patron’s mansion…. SO much impressionism inside. GO SEE THIS.)
  • Louvre – we did not go in because that would take me weeks to get through, but walked along the outside
  • Notre Dame
  • Sainte Chapelle
  • Pont des arts (the lock bridge for lovers — DO THIS IF YOU GO TO PARIS WITH YOUR LOVE)
  • Musee Rodin (MY FAVORITE. I WOULD LIKE TO LIVE IN HERE.)
  • Les Invalides (Napolean’s tomb…. it is massive and the most regal thing ever).
I started to cry when I saw this. I cried pretty much everywhere I went. It was all so beautiful.

I started to cry when I saw this. I cried pretty much everywhere I went. It was all so beautiful.

Oh someone was being funny.

Oh someone was being funny.

Zee River!

Zee River!

Lover’s Bridge-

Locks, Locks, Locks.

Locks, Locks, Locks.

He bought a big lock.

He bought a big lock.

Notre Dame.

Notre Dame.

My favorite place- Rodin’s museum and gardens-

I have no idea what I am doing.

I have no idea what I am doing.

Close -up of 'The Kiss'

Close -up of ‘The Kiss’

Napolean’s Tomb-

It was MASSIVE.

It was MASSIVE.

Then we took a train and went to Nice for the rest of the week.

Our hotel was built into the side of a rock formation (Hotel la Perouse), jutting out along the sea. Just above us, we could hike up to the castle ruins and overlook the entire town. Nice was relaxing, less crowded than Paris, and had all the food of Italy. I loved it.

View from hotel.

View from hotel.

Bird!

Bird!

Loved these steps.

Loved these steps.

Mountains in the distance.

Mountains in the distance.

Everything was in bloom!

Everything was in bloom!

We exlored the marina, I got my hair cut, and we sat long the coast.

It was a bit chilly!

It was a bit chilly!

Our room here was very romantic-

Hearts everywhere.

Hearts everywhere.

Kissing.

Kissing.

And the only sunset we caught was on our last night, in a hotel room at the airport, a perfect ending to the entire trip-

Airport sunset.

Airport sunset.

Tell me-

What has been your favorite vacation ever?

Was it Florida?
That time you went on a girls only getaway to your best friend’s house.
Italy.
Somewhere with a beach.
Tell me what blew your socks off.

 

Sincerely,

Lily

 

Quote this, Quote that

I love quotes.

Quotes from books. Quotes from friends. Quotes from coffee mugs. Quotes from Mr. Speedy.

I love just about any string of words that hum against my heart and find a hollow spot in my memory, staying with me.

Some are short, some are long, but all hold value.

unconditional

So without further delay, here is a collection of some of my favorite quotes.

For love

dreams

The love literally saves you, pulling you back into your dreams, hopes, and desires. How beautiful is that? Sometimes I feel rescued by Mr. Speedy and how easily he can unfold me from any distress and place me back into our life. Our dreams. Ours.

alchemist

The Alchemist is one of my favorite books- please read it if you have not. P. Coelho is a genius and writes with a rhythm and descriptive language I have never known. I love this quote because it so perfectly demonstrates how when you love another with your whole being, you wish to serve. To sacrifice. To give and take, together. To create a connection that is delicate and balanced. To give you a reason for living.

hafez

Love is not about keeping tabs and pointing fingers. Love is about being selfless. Putting your needs on hold for the other. Love can light up the sky.

DSC_0182

elephants
Oh….melt, butter, absorb, want. This is such a sensual sentence, full of a variety of senses- touch, taste, see. It makes you crave what comes next. What a simply savory way to want someone. I just love how he wants to melt into her and then walk around with her, for the rest of his days.

For yourself-

angelou

Angelou is so sound in anything she has ever breathed, written, or said. I love how life is not about money, it is about finding your passion and pursuing with such a determination that others will literally have to peel their eyes off of you and your talent. Find it and pursue it. Pursue it hard.

worthless

This is true. You are worth something that cannot be measured. You are worth. Trust in that.

pretty

Pretty women. What is pretty? What is accepted? Does it all matter? You know what matters- how you carry yourself, how you love yourself, how you love life. I’m not cute or built to a fashion model’s size…. The span of my hips, the stride in my step, the curl of my lips. 

Let’s make a deal- to love ourselves and spread it like wildfire, making any woman capable of being pretty and beautiful and real all at once. DSC00216

And just because I couldn’t leave him out….

speedy

You know when Mr. Speedy told me this? After a few weeks of dating, in a random email. The words poured into me like slow honey and stuck.

And he still thinks this way- as if we were (are) a single entity. He makes decisions based on not himself, not me, but us. He sees us as one.

On my birthday.

On my birthday. I drank that whole thing.

Other notable ones:

  • “I remember every single spot of light that ever gouged a shadow beside your bones.” -Zelda Fitzgerald
  • “You say you’re not special because the world doesn’t know about you, but that’s an insult to me. I know about you.” -John Green, The Fault in Our Stars
  • “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” – Pablo Picasso
  • “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” – Toni Morrison
  • “And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” -Sylvia Plath
  • “Perhaps when we find ourselves wanting everything, it is because we are dangerously close to wanting nothing.” -Sylvia Plath
  • “I didn’t know why I was going to cry, but I knew that if anybody spoke to me or looked at me too closely the tears would fly out of my eyes and the sobs would fly out of the throat and I’d cry for a week.” -Sylvia Plath (THIS QUOTE IS SO TRUE… unfortunately, sometimes I get a lump in my throat and tears forming at work and there is this one co-worker that ALWAYS steps in and sees the storm coming, and then awkwardly has to see me crumble. Poor fella. He probably thinks I’m a nutcase.)
  • “Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.” -Coco Chanel
  • “ In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.” -Coco Chanel
  • “Separation
    Your absence has gone through me
    Like thread through a needle.
    Everything I do is stitched with its color.” -W.S. Merwin
  • “There is more to sex appeal than just measurements. I don’t need a bedroom to prove my womanliness. I can convey just as much sex appeal, picking apples off a tree or standing in the rain.” -Audrey Hepburn
  • “If I get married, I want to be very married.” -Audrey Hepburn
  • “Boys think girls are like books, If the cover doesn’t catch their eye they won’t bother to read what’s inside.” – Marilyn Monroe
  • “Sometimes I can hear my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I’m not living.” – Johnathan Safran Foer

One day, maybe I’ll write something worthwhile and those words will leap off the page to some reader and they will decide to keep them close. Or just keep them. That would make me happy and feel like I’ve created something with some guts. Some substance.

One day.

Sincerely,

Lily

My Scary Neck and My First Dress Rental

Hello.
My name is Lillian and I have the neck of a turtle – please see below:

Please, tell me to stop. Please.

Please, tell me to stop. Please.

This picture is from my friend’s wedding and it makes me crack up. The other girls are so completely pretty and normal and chic and I…. I have a lot of questions. What possessed me to wear large rabbit ears? What is up with the over-sized glasses? Why are my neck veins coming out to say hello? I have the head of a turtle. This is my burden. This is my life.

Moving on from that awkward picture, I am very excited for the next few weeks.

First – tomorrow is Mr. Speedy’s BIRTHDAY!!! I made him this card:

I hope he enjoys my handmade card.

I hope he enjoys my handmade card.

Second, this Saturday is our bridal shower in Michigan. I was freaking out and didn’t know what to wear so I took a chance on Rent the Runway and HOLY MACARONI THIS WEBSITE IS AMAZING. Who has used this before??? I love it. You simply pick out a dress, accessories, whatever and for a fraction of the retail price (it is all high-end designer stuff), you can rent the outfit and ship it back. SO EASY. They send you two sizes, just in case you aren’t sure which to pick.

For our shower, I picked out this sequins-covered dress, trying to stick to the Art Deco theme:

It just arrived, in a pretty box with shampoo/conditioner samples and a coupon for next time!

Here is a sneak peek at the dress…. I had to try it on immediately and I think it turned out great!

Hiiiiiii. I'm in my bathroom.

Hiiiiiii. I’m in my bathroom.

I feel very fancy. And I am glad I do not have back pimples. Ew.

I feel very fancy. And I am glad I do not have back pimples. Ew.

After our shower, Mr. Speedy and I are planning on taking a few pictures with our photographer for a pre-wedding-warm-up session. I suppose you could call these engagement pictures but I just want us to be comfortable in front of the camera.

Let me re-phrase that- I just want me to be able to control myself in front of the camera from mauling Mr. Speedy while he is dressed up and I am dressed up and we are taking lovey-dovey pictures. I will try my best. Wish us luck.

Also, I am going to try to avoid my TURTLE NECK look in ANY wedding photos… so I should practice not doing that on camera.

Other news – first book club meeting is next week and I AM SO PUMPED! We read this book:

SO GOOOOOD

SO GOOOOOD

If you have not read this book, READ IT. It is very good and you won’t put it down. The narrator is Death and the main character is a little girl growing up in the middle of Nazi Germany. It is fantastic. It is beautiful. It made me cry and crave and wonder. This author is amazing.

This next picture really makes me smile. For New Year’s Eve, I had my girlfriend over and then my other girlfriend along with her husband. We played games and wore really awful party hats that constantly tilted. Despite their unattractiveness, we had a blast. Here we are playing PIT, which is a game made for those who can brutally trade cards and yell at the same time:

I am not sure why we were doing thumbs up.

I am not sure why we were doing thumbs up.

I really like the Monet in the background. It just totally screams ‘NEW YEAR’S EVE PARTTTTTTY.’

Speaking of Monet, I registered for one painting and really did not think anyone would buy it. But one woman who was invited to the shower and who has an equally deep appreciation of art, bought it as a gift and shipped it to our home. I couldn’t help but open it early and I was floored by her deep thoughtfulness. She wrote a note that said –

“Lily, this too is one of my favorite paintings and I am so pleased to see that you wanted it. Please enjoy it for the many years to come.”

Gustav Klimt is one of my favorites.

Gustav Klimt is one of my favorites.

Is that not the kindest little note to go along with such a stunning piece of wall art? I have always imagined having this painting, hanging in some future child’s nursery. It makes me all warm and fuzzy inside just thinking about it, because now that would be possible.

I really can’t wait for Saturday. Rented dress and I are going to have a blast! Let’s hope the neck of the turtle doesn’t make any appearances!

(That sounded weird. I promise not to refer to my rented clothing as a friend again….)

Sincerely,

Bridal Shower Lily

An Art History lesson on heartache

Mr. Speedy left early Tuesday morning for his out-of-town bachelor party and does not return until late, late, late tonight.

In his absence, I have experienced many emotions- the tinge of free time, the disappointment of being left behind, the happiness of reading, the anxiety of not talking (apparently, the bachelor is not allowed to communicate with the bride much), the coldness of being alone. The emptiness of having to live in a home that is missing the most important element.

  • I have not slept very well and when I do fall asleep, I wake up in a sleepy haze and forget that he is not here. It is like waking up in a scab that isn’t quite healed, and every morning, I re-open into the scab and walk through it.
  • I have not ate very well, in the sense that I have not been eating much of anything. I have a tendency if I am sad, stressed, or anything other than myself, to not eat. I have a theory that if Mr. Speedy were to pass before me, I would become one of those elephant that just kind of disappears and wains away from losing their mate.
  • Our kitchen light burnt out and I am completely perplexed on how to remove the fixture to fix it. So I have been avoiding the kitchen all together since it is dark and gloomy. Or maybe I am avoiding it because I feel foolish that I can’t remove the fixture and fix it myself.
  • I finished reading the third Hunger Games and IT FREAKED ME OUT. I had anxiety and was sweating in the bed at night thinking President Snow was lurking on the balcony. Obviously, I can’t handle tween fiction.

All of this loops back to Art History, I promise, stay with me. And it stops sounding so depressing.

I was never like this before – not sleeping, lack of appetite, etc- when my companion left. In the past, I always had no problem going on about my business and enjoying the days apart. But this is the first time that Mr. Speedy left me (I was in CA for a work week, but I was busy at work and he was left behind). Left me to my own defences and over-active imagination (SERIOUSLY, I THOUGHT PRESIDENT SNOW WAS ON MY BALCONY). Left me to burnt out lights that I can’t brighten.

In the middle of my ruin, I was flipping through an art history book for comfort and came across one of my favorite sculptures of all time –

Rodin's Danaid

Rodin’s Danaid

Quick lesson –

Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) was a French sculptor who was known for portraying the body in uncomfortable, twisted, and sensual positions. His sculptures were almost turbulent, and often left rough on the bottom, with the figures emerging into realism in various parts. They were literally born from clay. Sculpted in his mind and then born into life in the sculpture. He worked traditionally, with a craftsman style, and married a woman who was his lifelong companion.

Here is the kicker now – that brings us back to the Danaid-

Rodin eventually acquired an apprentice, a young and beautifully talented 18 year old girl, Camille Claudel (1864-1943).They began to have a very passionate and unstable relationship, that helped them both produce masterpieces. Camille often modeled for him, and it is speculated that she may have inspired some of the Danaids.

And what is the Danaid? The story behind that is another fun one- in Greek mythology, the Danaids were the fifty daughters of King Danaus. The King was fighting with his brother who had fifty sons (apparently, birth control was not used in ancient Greece). The sons demanded to marry the daughters and for revenge, Kind Danaus plotted to have his daughters kill their grooms on the wedding night. They did. And then they were sentences to work in the underworld, forever having to fill up leaky jars full of water. Over and over again. Many of Rodin’s Danaids are depicted in exhaustion and utter brokeness. Stuck in a world for a crime they did not invent. Stuck with a task that only leads to frustration and failure.

Back to Camille Claudel-

After her affair with Rodin, an affair that clearly ruined her psyche, involving an unwanted abortion and much more, she lost her ability to function normal. She began ruining her own work and became mentally ill. She was committed to an institution in 1913 and lived in them for over 30 years before she passed away.

WHAT IS THE POINT ME ME TELLING YOU ALL OF THIS?

Right now, as dramatic as I sound, I’m having a hard to being alone. I feel very much and probably look like the Danaid (except I am not sprawled out naked, I have a robe on). Love can make you feel such wonderful things but also it can cause you to feel such deep, drowning aches. Aches that wake you up every hour. But I don’t want to end up crazy like Camille and wither away an institution because I can’t get a grip on my empty heart.

What I have learned from Mr. Speedy’s absent that I really need to try to have a plan next time.

I had no idea I’d react this way with his absence. I don’t want to be folded and crumbled in a pile again. I want to be just like I am when he is here. I realize this is completely PATHETIC in every way possible because it is not like he was drafted and was gone for months. To all those woman who have to deal with the deep kind of absence, I admire you. You possess a sort of strength and independence that I will never be able to achieve or have the ability too.

So far with my plan, when I am left behind again, I have come up with three things:

  • Make sure all lights are working so they don’t leave me in darkness.
  • Make sure I meal plan – and stick to it.
  • Do not read scary books

Any suggestions?

Sincerely,

Lily

My Top 10 Gift ideas for HER

HER.

You know who I am talking about – that lady. Her could be your mother, girlfriend, crush, sister, best friend, teacher, or wife.

HER.

Here are my top 10 gifts for any HER in your life:

1. Burt’s Bees Lip Gloss: Or any Burt’s Bees lip product. It is all natural. It creates a smooth shine and healthy lips. All women wear chapstick, lip gloss, lip stick, or a combo of all three. We need this. It is an essential part of our daily routine. My friend Brittany mailed me this and it is always in my coat pocket.  Find it at CVS for $8.99. PERFECT STOCKING STUFFER.

This is THE BEST.

This is THE BEST.

2. Magazine Subscription: THIS IS SUCH A GOOD GIFT. You know what I love? Curling up a with a good magazine that I didn’t have to pay for. Does she like cooking? Home decor? Travel? Clothes? Sports? I look forward to finding my Self, Runner’s World, and Country Living in my mailbox every month. Get her subscription to a magazine- you can’t go wrong! It is like getting a present every month! Find a variety on Amazon for a range of prices… or just find the magazine directly and order.

YES. DROOL.

YES. DROOL.

3. Wine, this wine: This is just not any wine. This wine is made in Northern Michigan and it is hands down the BEST RIESLING I have ever had. It is sweet but not as sweet as a Moscato. It is smooth and airy and light. I love it. Buy her a bottle of this or an entire case and invite me over. Please. Find the Late Harvest Riesling at Black Star Farms, they can ship or have a list of stores that carry it (many in Detroit area). $15.00

This wine seriously taste like an explosion of all good things.

This wine seriously taste like an explosion of all good things.

This also makes a great hostess gift if you are attending a holiday party!

4. Home Decor OR Decor Surprise: This present only works if you live with the woman or are extremely close with them. Do not do this to a crush or teacher because it may freak them out. Re-arrange and re-decorate a space for them. It doesn’t have to be extreme and doesn’t have to cost much. This image of the bookshelf was one I rearranged- group colors and sizes together and add a pop of color with a new bowl, with fruit. Or buy a vase. A photograph. A few new pillows for the couch. We love and adore home decor. Seriously. These pillows from Kohls are a favorite, $64. I also love this cable knit pillow (it is like a big sweater!), for $69.  Love Nate Berkus line at Target and this starburst, $13.98. You can never go wrong with a classic Kate Spade vase, $50. I adore her Grace Avenue collection and it goes great with ANY room.

A little home decor is always a good gift.

A little home decor is always a good gift.

Mr. Speedy bought me this canvas art and I love it. What a perfect way to dress up the wall!

Mr. Speedy bought me this canvas art and I love it. What a perfect way to dress up the wall!

5. Gift Card to a Salon for WAXING: Or if she doesn’t get waxed, a nail salon or hair place will do. Every lady requires maintenance and let me tell you- I would be so happy to receive a gift towards getting my eyebrows waxed so I don’t have to worry about the expense of it all. A massage would work too. So many good options. Find out where she gets her business (nails, wax, hair cut, etc.) done and go grab a gift card!!!

Don't I just look like  a model?

Don’t I just look like a model?

6. Personalized Stationary: This goes along with the post on men gifts, but seriously, EVERYONE could use some high-end stationary for their personal correspondence. Or if the woman has a favorite flower, buy some with that on it. The choices are really endlessly. Include some stamps for extra bonus points. Order some from Paper Source, or these cute ones from NaomiLynn, $15.

Stationary!

Stationary!

7. A Getaway: Although pricey, this is easy peasy and means a lot. Book a weekend trip (or even just one night) somewhere to go. This is perfect for girlfriends, best friends, moms, or sisters. We love getaways. Find a picture of the person on vacation and write on the back “Merry Christmas- get ready for another trip because we are going X (name location) on X (name dates)!”. A great place in Northern Michigan where Mr. Speedy proposed but would be a fun trip for ANYONE, is the Inn at Bay Harbor. From $157. Or I took him for a night away to the Dearborn Inn (and we visited the museum across the street) which was a total blast, from $149. BE SURE TO GET BUFFET BREAKFAST.

Fate.

Fate.

8. Lavender Vanilla Pillow Mist: It is fact that the scent lavender helps relax and get into sleep mode. Pillow mist is probably one of the BEST THINGS EVER.  I use this before sleepy time, just spray a little on the pillows and climb in. Mr. Speedy doesn’t mind although it doesn’t make him sleepy…. never mind. What a great gift, find it at Bath and Body Works for only $10.

Buy this for anyone, they are sure to love it. Who doesn't like to relax and sleep???

Buy this for anyone, they are sure to love it. Who doesn’t like to relax and sleep???

9. The Pioneer Woman: A Year of Holidays (cookbook): The Pioneer Woman is one of my favorite blogs and she is an amazing cook…. and photographer. And she is hilarious. All of her cook books are stuffed full of rich and flavorful recipes, complete with easy steps and pictures. Perfect for any level of cook. She has three cook books out, but this latest one, A Year of Holidays, is geared around holiday foods. I love that- recipes for any occasion! Find it at Barnes & Noble, $20.99.

Love this cook book!

Love this cook book!

10. Solar-Powered Dancing Daisy: Mr. Speedy bought me one of these and it sits in my window at work and DANCES ALL DAY LONG and always brings a smile to my face. When the sun hits it directly, it dances to fast that the plastic pedals hit each other. It is crazy but it makes me laugh. And brightens my day. I can’t imagine anyone not enjoying this thing. Find it at a Dollar Store, $1. If you really want to be funny, buy a whole bunch. (ha, get it? Bunch?)

It dances in the sun! So dang cute!

It dances in the sun! So dang cute!

Other notable mentiones: soap from CerealFly – try XOXO scent, $4.50, a book on her hobby/passion, a red nail polish that is fast-drying – we rarely have time to wait for our nails to dry and we always need a good red color.

There is my little list of gifts for women… hope you enjoyed it and good luck with the rest of Christmas shopping! One more week and it’ll be here.

I am going to go put myself in direct sunlight now and see if it gets me to dance.

Sincerely,

Lily

How Mr. Speedy Tricked Me into Buying a Ladder

So this is happened this past weekend:

DSC_0073

Soooooo magical and pretty and heavenly scented.

Hello. Good thing we have cathedral ceilings.

Hello. Good thing we have cathedral ceilings.

I have a theory: Sometimes men want things and find loopholes to get them without the women noticing.

This very large real tree that smells o-so-beautiful also involved buying a very tall ladder, the latter being on Mr. Speedy’s wish list for a few months now.

For some reason, I have been denying Mr. Speedy to purchase a ladder. In my mind, we are renting a pretty condo and what do we ever need a ladder? We aren’t going on the roof and all the painting is done. There was that one time the smoke detector went bananas and we had to move the couch, balance a chair, and teeter on the top of it to reach the alarm… but is that one spasm of the alarm a reason to buy a big ladder?

No.

Mr. Speedy and 99% of the male population would say yes.

So we bought this very large Christmas tree and in order to decorate it, we had to get a ladder. I didn’t even second guess this need and just was like “Yes, of course. I can’t wait to put the star on top!” I even opened up a Home Depot credit card to get a discount.

It is only until now that I realized Mr. Speedy is drooling over the ladder and I am drooling over the pretty tree.
It is only now that I am having the thought that perhaps buying this tall tree was in the works all along, so that we just had to purchase a ladder.
It is only now that I am wondering how many other times has he tricked me?

Our stockings! And the tree.... is everywhere.

Our stockings! And the tree…. is everywhere.

I shall never know.

But I do know, that these are my favorite ornaments:

Crystal stars.

Crystal stars.

Old world maps!

Old world maps!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

I really like how the wrapping paper matches the rug... I did not plan that.

I really like how the wrapping paper matches the rug… I did not plan that.

And I also know that Mr. Speedy felt the need for some wall art.

And he bought this wonderful warm colored canvas print of a town in Italy-

Italy. Oh. My. I love it.

Italy. Oh. My. I love it.

And I also know that Mr. Speedy felt the need to upgrade our dining room chairs, to these pretty tufted seats-

Loooooove them!

Loooooove them!

So really, I shouldn’t worry about the ladder.

I think he has more than made up for that manly-tricky purchase.

Our tree is simply stunning and any guest that sits will have a beautiful view of a large tree, Tuscany village and a happy, comfortable bee-hind in these chairs.

P.S. I will be sweeping up tree needles for the remainder of the year. This is my burden. This is my life.

Sincerely,

Lily

Sneak Peak: The Love Nest

I’ve decided that my new home should be called The Love Nest for the following reasons:

  • Love: Lots of love be happenin’ in this place-  not just between my mate and I, but we love the family heirloom furniture items that have been given to us and we love having our own fridge, full of runner’s eats and I love having my jar a PB that I can eat with spoon and contaminate with my slimy girl germs.
  • Nest: I’ve always like the thoughts of calling your home, your nest. I don’t particularly like birds (mainly because they poop on me and shriek at me when I least expect it which makes me jump out of my skin) but the thought of snuggled up in a nest with your family members is a good one. Just say the word. Nest. It sounds nice. One sweet, simple syllable that is pure comfort.
  • I can’t call it the Speedy House: This would make you think we are dealing speed or making speed. It sounds shady. And sketchy.

Anyways, Mr. Speedy has been out-of-town since Thursday morning (he comes home late tonight) for a bachelor party and I have been going CRAZY. So crazy, that I thought I’d share what the nest looks like through photos that I took this morning while in my robe.

And with my hair wet because I just ran and showered.

I also have to warn you there is a lot of ART and NUDE ART and well…. I love it but you might feel like you are in a museum a bit.

So please, enjoy the sneak peak of the Love Nest with a crazy lady who is not acceptable in public:

Let’s start with the GUEST BATHROOM:

Yo. This is me. No judging.

Yo. This is me. No judging.

Fancy soap.

Fancy soap.

Fancy candels with fancy room spray.

Fancy candels with fancy room spray.

The next room is the GUEST BEDROOM- it is not complete yet, other than I do have reading material neatly stacked for anyone that sleeps here:

Art. Novels. Read. Love it.

Art. Novels. Read. Love it.

Next is the GREAT ROOM. It is big. There is a nude painting on the wall.

I just love that painting. It was originally in the dining room, but the Monet took over in there.

I just love that painting. It was originally in the dining room, but the Monet took over in there.

That TV.... was where I had the Monet originally, but I lost that battle.

That TV…. was where I had the Monet originally, but I lost that battle.

In this room we have three lovely pieces of items that were from my Nonna’s estate – a mirror, a wooden cabinet, and that chair in the left corner:

The mirror is... to die for. I love it. We need to hang it up still.

The mirror is… to die for. I love it. We need to hang it up still.

Look at the framing! EEEEEK I am geeked.

Look at the framing! EEEEEK I am geeked.

The cabinet. We registered for some fancy bar items- glass tumblers and a cocktail shaker, etc. It will go in here. Ze Bar.

The cabinet. We registered for some fancy bar items- glass tumblers and a cocktail shaker, etc. It will go in here. Ze Bar.

I love the wood and the fabric and everything about the chair.

I love the wood and the fabric and everything about the chair.

Another angle.

Another angle.

All of the rugs are also from the estate and gorgeous Persian rugs. They are AMAZING.

I love the colors on these- bright but not too cheery. Just right.

I love the colors on these- bright but not too cheery. Just right.

They have full fringe on two sides.

They have full fringe on two sides.

There is a lot of NUDE ART in our nest.

This is because of the following reasons:

  • I use to be a nude model
  • I love art
  • I think it is a fantastic way to start a conversation
  • It adds a little subtle passion and romance into your room
My cousin sculpted this. She is extremely talented.

My cousin sculpted this. She is extremely talented.

Eve by Rodin.

Eve by Rodin.

This is by Gustav Kilmt. I love her.

This is by Gustav Kilmt. I love her.

These are magnets on our fridge. I made them. I love them... and I am really weird.

These are magnets on our fridge. I made them. I love them… and I am really weird.

Speaking of nudity, want to see our bedroom???

This is the only picture I have b/c NOTHING is done in there:

This is an unmade bed looking at a balcony.

This is an unmade bed looking at a balcony.

Our master path, is just a bathroom and not nearly as fancy as the guest bath, so here is a picture of that cute litte Etsy ring dish I bought that I keep near the sink:

Hello, my favorite ring and necklace ever.

Hello, my favorite ring and necklace ever.

If you like art, you’d really like this place.

We have Girl with a Pearl Earring, Degas’ Dancers, and Monet’s wife in a field:

I accidentally chipped this at some point... it gives it character.

I accidentally chipped this at some point… it gives it character.

The dancers.

The dancers.

This was a gift from my Nonna years ago. It is a treasure.

This was a gift from my Nonna years ago. It is a treasure.

This painting is very large. It is such a eye-catcher.

This painting is very large. It is such a eye-catcher.

In conclusion, it really is coming along. I am excited to get everything in and settled. I am excited to entertain and host parties and use my fancy glasses and best hostess manners. I am excited to have overnight guests and have them use the fancy soap in their bathroom.

Life was good, but now it is so much sweeter making it with someone you’re planning to share your life with…. ::gushhhhhhhh::

I have to go eat some more PB out of my jar now. And try to figure out how to store 856 books.

Sincerely,

Lily-who-also-burnt-a-lightbulb-in-the-closet-but-can’t-change-it-and-needs-Mr.-Speedy-stat

Just call me Picasso

Back in the fall, I went to a painting workshop at a studio (here)  with two girlfriends.

We could bring our own drinks (aka WINE) and food and paint!
I made a beautiful tree that now hangs above Mr. Speedy’s bed.
It is worth at least $567,899 but I shall never sell it- it is too close to my heart:

I call this 'Blue Tree."

I call this ‘Blue Tree.”

Weeping Willow.

Weeping Willow.

My one girlfriend, got inspired by her drink that she brought (HOW DOES SHE DRINK THAT)- she is so crafty:

She carried that thing in her PURSE.

She carried that thing in her PURSE.

Gorgeousssss!

Gorgeousssss!

I went to ANOTHER painting/wine event this week with my cousins and friend.

This one was at a winery (located here) with very cute owners that allowed me to sample 57 bottles.

It was amazing. It was delicious. It made me forget that I don’t know how to properly plan a wedding and that my undies were completely inside-out. I need to get a job here:

OH, hello. I love you.

OH, hello. I love you.

The set-up!

The set-up!

This was really good. It made me paint like a professional.

This was really good. It made me paint like a professional.

This is my cousin Pamelalalallalala.

She was married into the family (she married my cousin who looks like Ben Stiller).
She always dresses cute and has a fierce love for her puppy.
She is the only blonde in our entire family unit.

winepam

And there is me…

I had to wear my spectacles because I was going to stay up past my bedtime and my eyes were twitching:

I am so glad I look attractive.

I am so glad I look attractive.

We were painting a sunflower. It was very simple to follow and not too complicated.

Our little group- the bottom left beauty is my other cousin, who will be a bridesmaid in my wedding (I REALLY HOPE SHE GIVES ME HER PAINTING AS A WEDDING GIFT):

We are just a bunch of painters.

We are just a bunch of painters. Cousin P, Me, Cousin E, Friend L.

Whoever thought to host painting events at wineries or places where people can drink wine was a genius.

If you ARE IN MY AREA AND WANT TO PAINT- here are some upcoming paintings you can sign up for:

I really like the sunset. Or the field. Or the purple flower. I like them all.

I really like the sunset. Or the field. Or the purple flower. I like them all.

I suggest you looking up your local winery or art shop and seeing if they offer courses like this. It was a fabulous night out and I have some pretty wall art to show for it.

And if your painting doesn’t turn out, you can always use it as a fancy serving tray to serve wine on! PERFECTO!

Sincerely,

Lily