Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year

You have one month...

Let the countdown begin! 

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Happy {early} 2013 :)


I've been feeling off lately, for a couple of reasons that ganged up together and worked as a team (against me). First off-- the holidays. Between both of our families and friends, we had three full days of nonstop action. It was wonderful, but for an introvert like me, all that social interaction can be incredibly draining and by the 26th I felt pretty much depleted.

How did you handle that, you ask? Oh, you know, just with all of the skill, finesse, and grace with which I usually approach my problems.

That is, I spent the next several days inside the house curled up in blankets staying up too late and sleeping in too late and watching too much Netflix.

Well, that's only partially true. On Thursday I had a delicious several hours of tea and hot chocolate with my best friend who was in town for the holidays. On Friday we were supposed to have a party, but Kevin, who was already a little sick, woke up super sick that morning.

That's the second thing that threw me off-- Kevin is usually my motivator when I start to hibernate, and since he was so ill, he was hibernating himself. This threw off my routine even more. And so (naturally) I ordered takeout several times.

That potent witch's brew leaves me today feeling unhealthy and weighed down (the food), undisciplined, lacking reason or rhyme (lack of routine/ schedule), and generally blah.  Blah, I tell you!

Oh well. Isn't that what a new year is supposed to be all about? Fresh starts and renewal and all that jazz? Rebuilding, even? (Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.) So that's my goal (or one of them, at least). To stop feeling blah, which for me, equals establishing a schedule and routines without which I melt into the couch like the Wicked Witch of the West.

Speaking of, you know how water caused her demise? I think it's causing mine, too. I spent much of this weekend researching water allergies. It's a THING

Kevin is convinced I'm a hypochondriac. And so, probably, are you--unless you are like me, in which case I say, I know, right?! You probably totally have this too!

New Year's Eve Series - What Will you Be Wearing?

Chinoiserie Chic attire for New Year's Eve.

Insurance statistics in Washington state

Each year, the Insurance Information Institute, an industry-backed research group, compiles data on the insurance industry in each state.

From this year's Washington edition:
  • Number of people working in the insurance industry in Washington state: 49,445.
  • Their payroll: $3.2 billion.
  • Premium taxes paid: $406 million
  • Premiums: About $19 billion.
The report includes a lot of other information, including details about which companies write the most insurance, losses incurred, etc.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

for sunday:

Don’t squander joy.

We can’t prepare for tragedy and loss. When we turn every opportunity to feel joy into "I better not let my guard down and feel too happy - that's inviting disaster" we actually diminish our resilience.
Yes, softening into joy is uncomfortable. Yes, it’s scary. Yes, it’s vulnerable. But every time we allow ourselves to lean into joy and give in to those moments, we build resilience and we cultivate hope. The joy becomes part of who we are, and when bad things happen—and they do happen—we are stronger.

My intention: To lean into joy. To remember that traumatizing myself with too much news or letting my imagination run wild doesn't create empathy - it generates fear and blame. I'll try to remember that joy requires vulnerability and that if I want more joy (and I do) I need to stay openhearted. 
-Brené Brown, from Daring Greatly

I like the tactile quality assigned to joy in this quote-- joy as something that can be softened into, leaned into, as though if we would only be brave enough to curl up against it, joy would hold us in its arms, feeding us love and strength to carry on in darker times. 

Lean in. 

Photo of Salvage One (Chicago) by Victoria Sprung.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Scrapbook {A Glimpse Into Our Christmas}

{Twas the night before Christmas...}

{Sparkles and art supplies. Her life is complete.}

{Wait wait plus a playhouse. Now life complete.}

{Where'd Squish go?}

{This is how boys paint nails}

{White Christmas in Texas}

{Sweet moments with her grandmothers}

{Crash landing}

{Winter glow}

{Photography by Squish}

{Everybody loves snuggles with Daddy}


WWII poster available on Zazzle

Posting has been light this week and I haven't been able to get to some of the topics I still want to address... I'll get there. In the meantime, I've been playing nurse to a future-husband with a 103.6 degree fever and simultaneously googling dangerous effects of high fevers and freaking myself out. I'm pretty sure it's just the flu.

Until later, some additional reading I've been looking at:

A New Focus on the ‘Post’ in Post-Traumatic Stress -- addresses the crucial role of post-trauma environment on recovery. Not mentioned is how this ties into those who don't have one pin-pointed moment of trauma, but rather exposure to long-term traumatic stressors over years and even decades.

Our Failed Approach to Schizophrenia -- an interesting, and perhaps incendiary, op-ed on the rights of patients with severe mental illness.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Aetna fined $1 million for insurance violations

A Connecticut insurance company has been fined $1 million by Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler for multiple violations over several years.

Aetna Life Insurance Company has agreed to pay the fine. The violations include issuing unapproved insurance policies, failing to file legally-required documents with the state and charging unapproved rates.

“All insurers must comply with state law, and most of them do,” said Kreidler. “I hope that this fine and compliance plan resolves these problems with Aetna.”

Among the violations:

• Starting in 2005, Aetna issued health, disability or life insurance policies to more than 4,400 people that did not comply with state law. Among the violations: The policies had not been filed for approval with Washington state.

• Also starting in 2005, the company issued health policies that did not include all Washington state health care mandates. Nor did they describe Washington’s appeals and grievance process, as required by law.

• For more than three years, Aetna continued to sell a health policy that had been disapproved.

• Starting in 2009, Aetna issued other health, disability and life policies that had not been filed with the state. Some of those health policies that did not include all Washington state mandates. Nor did the company have an approved appeals and grievance process for those plans.

• In 2010 and 2011, Aetna issued medical and dental plans for more than 100 Nordstrom retirees that had not been approved by Kreidler’s office, as required by law.

The company has also agreed to a compliance plan designed to prevent similar problems in the future.

Fines issued by Kreidler’s office do not go to the insurance commissioner’s office. The money collected goes to the state’s general fund.

Yak insurance vs. yakking about insurance

Nepalese herders, tired of losing their livestock to snow leopards, have come up with an insurance plan to compensate them when a leopard kills a yak.

The herders pay about $1.50 a year to cover each yak, and are paid about $50 if the yak is killed by a snow leopard.

(On a side note, we're betting that this story is driving a significant amount of traffic to, which is a blog devoted not to yak insurance, but to yakking about insurance.)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

it's a boxing day MIRACLE!

Earlier today, I mentioned we were enjoying a relaxing day at home. What I didn't mention is that we kicked off our morning with a trip to Target (Target!).

If you'll recall, I love Target. I love being there, I love going there, I love shopping there. (Those are all the same thing.)

Kev wanted to get in early for an iPad exchange, and I took the opportunity to return the sequin-y Tracey Reese for Neiman Marcus for Target for Lauren shirt that I took a gamble on after the NM goods were marked down. (Fifty percent off--so if there's something you wanted, go get it now. Also, I know I said I'd do a post about the collection after we modeled the his-and-hers Thom Browne yachting blazers, but I figured everyone and their brother had seen the stuff either online or in stores.)

Tracy Reese shirt from the Neiman Marcus collection at Target

Strike one against the Tracy Reese shirt was that it looked (on me) like one of those loose old lady sequined tops that we'd buy at the thrift store in college to wear to Strokes and Wolf Parade shows. You did that too, right? With your leggings and Anna Karina bangs and white fringe cowboy boots?

Example of such a top. I also had that hair color at some point in college. via 

Strike two was that the care tag had a typo on it. A typo! Neiman Marcus for Target, don't tell me that my shirt needs to "dry falt." That's not a thing.

So back it went. When we pulled into the lot this morning, I saw two CBS vans and I told Kevin that maybe-- just maybe-- my dreams were about to come true. (You know, my dreams of being interviewed about Target at Target. Aim high, kids.)

And then they did:

Returner? The reporter was nice and all, but I specifically asked that she run "Target Superfan" under my name.

paint it black.

First up, bit of musical accompaniment (and eye candy, courtesy of young Mick Jagger) for today's post:

Hope your holidays were swell. After non-stop visiting and smiling and announcing and hugging (and some crying--I still am, after all, me), I am very very happy to spend Boxing Day relaxing at home.

So it turns out my mom thought the Apartment Therapy tour was just the main article-- not realizing there were 30-odd pictures behind that little link that says "Enter House Tour here." I put this all together last night over Christmas dinner at our place, when she kept saying "Oh, I didn't see this on the tour!" "Oh these pillows are cool, are they new?" At which point I asked, "Mom, did you look at the pictures in the tour?"

Nope. Just the thumbnails in the article.

So we pulled out the computer so she could see pictures of our apartment while she was sitting in our apartment. (Christmas is all about meta moments.)

Then I found this up on AT's homepage:

Apartment Therapy black rooms

We're pleased to see that we had been featured in an Apartment Therapy "Best of 2012" round-up of black rooms. I actually wish they'd used a different shot because that little arrangement over the dresser there is now driving me batty. 

An aside: I'm pretty sure Kevin's mom is still incredulous about the use of black paint on our walls. After we told his parents that someone was coming to take pictures of our apartment, she said "Do they know that you painted your bedroom BLACK?!"

our black bedroom from Apartment Therapy- Martha Stewart Francesca paint
Photo of our bedroom by Carolyn Purnell for Apartment Therapy

This was the (very professional) prototype for the dresser wall from early on, when that wall was still completely empty:

black wall mockup

Now that we've lived with the end result for awhile, it needs some revamping. Right now it's just too much restricted to just the space over the dresser, with an expanse of blank black wall on either side.

I will say that painting that room black last spring was the best decorating decision we've made for creating that was a bedroom that was "ours." Painting things black isn't as depressing as Mick & Keith make it out to be. Once I had that base to work with, everything else came together. Also, our paint color (Francesca) was named after one of Martha's ridiculous bulldogs, and it doesn't get any better than that:

Martha Stewart Francesca
Francesca all dolled up in Martha Stewart Living

In case you are needing a push to use black in your own home, here are a few black rooms I had saved to my desktop that inspired the initial choice:

Jenna Lyons black bedroom Living Etc
Jenna Lyons's bedroom photo by Melanie Acevedo for Living Etc.

black bedroom from the nesting game
Molly of The Nesting Game's bedroom. I'm jealous I didn't think of that blog name first!

dark masculine bedroom
Bedroom by Gabriel Hendifar via Elements of Style Blog

living area with black walls and pink pillows
Living room by Amy Howard via Design Crisis

Happy Holidays

There is no regular post for today.
Instead we want to wish you a wonderful Holiday Season and best wishes for 2013.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

As much as we all would love to unwrap that dress tomorrow morning {resting beneath a silver tree adorned with roses...yes please}, look at who is beside you and be thankful they are near. Wishing everyone the warmest of Christmases and lovely celebrations into the New Year!

How I Wore It :: Tea with the Sugar Plum Fairy

Little Miss Munch and I went to the Nutcracker Tea with Clara at Bass Hall last week {or was it already two weeks ago?} I bought this dress for her when she was in my tummy, but I did not even know she was a girl. I thought, if I have all boys I am putting this in a frame - it was too gorgeous to pass up! From Bonnie Young in Aspen, it is my favorite thing I have ever bought for her. This is the first time I wore my skirt as well, a Marni that I treated myself to for a birthday present. We had such a great time and are already looking forward to next year...

On S :: Shirt - Ralph Lauren :: Skirt - Marni :: Shoes - J.Crew
On M :: Dress - Bonnie Young :: Shoes - Gap Kids

{We did lots of spinning to get into ballerina mode}

{She fell head over heels in love with the Sugar Plum Fairy}

And even with all of the treats, all she wanted to do was color. My little artist! 
This little miss is going to design fabric for me someday... I can't hardly wait...