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Favorite Things

So this is the problem with blogs.  It’s like what our mothers told us when Facebook came out.  “Once you put something on the Internet, you can never get it back”.  Well that’s what I did.  I went and talked all about my favorite movies.  And what did I do?  I LEFT OUT MY FAVORITE ONE!!!!

So, to pay homage to the greatest movie of all time, and to punish myself for omitting it, it shall have its own post.  Ladies and gentlemen (since I know you care…) my all time favorite movie:

DirtyDancing3-lgDIRTY DANCING

Gosh, what a great movie.  I hope I get to dance with Patrick Swayze in Heaven one day.  That would be amazing.  I have the soundtrack on vinyl.  I dance to it while I’m cleaning.  William walked in one day to me dancing around with the duster to the record player on full volume.  He said he could hear it at the street.  Oops.

That’s all I have for you.  I would like to apologize to Baby for ‘putting her in a corner’ and forgetting her.  To make up for it, I watched and danced to movie last night.  🙂

Do y’all have movies that you watch over and over again?  I certainly do.  I, sadly, take it to the extreme.  For example, as I am writing this blog post, I am watching one of my favorites for the second time, this evening.  So sad.  I just cannot help myself.  They are my go-to’s.  I am sure that someone would disagree or tell me they aren’t worth watching once much less three thousand times, but frankly I don’t care.  They make my heart so happy.

So here they are, in no particular order, because I couldn’t begin to rank them if it meant my life:

  1. Sabrina
  2. Steel Magnolias
  3. You’ve Got Mail
  4. My Fair Lady
  5. Jumpin’ Jack Flash

As far as Sabrina goes, the 1995 version with Harrison Ford is my favorite.  I do love the 1954 rendition with Audrey Hepburn, but I fell in love with Harrison Ford as Linus Larrabee when I was about 7 and it was over for me!  (I will be honest, for as much of an old-timer as I am, it does frighten me a bit that in this scenario I prefer Harrison Ford to Humphrey Bogart.  YIKES!  What is wrong with me?!)

Steel Magnolias.  In my opinion, it is the quintessential Southern movie.  Gosh I love it.  So, so much I love it.  So many wonderful lines from it.  My favorite has to be, “Well, you know what they say: if you don’t have anything nice to say about anybody, come sit by me!”

If you know me at all, you know that I would give my left arm and leg to BE Kathleen Kelly in You’ve Got Mail.  The first time The Shop Around the Corner comes on the screen my heart just melts.  Every time.  It is my dream to own my own children’s books store.  I will say, I do not miss hearing that AOL dial tone each time I sign into my email.  Ha!

Hands down my favorite Audrey Hepburn movie.  My Fair Lady.  Fantastic.  BEYOND fantastic.  A movie AND a musical?!  I do not think it gets any better than that.  Rex Harrison as Henry Higgins gets me every time.  I love him.

And last, but certainly not least.  My hidden gem.  Jumpin’ Jack Flash.  This one I got from my mother who also loves this movie.  It came out the same year that I was born and I watch it at least 10 times a year.  I am quite certain that this is one of those movies that has more sentimental value than anything.  I’ve asked friends to watch it with me in the past and their love for it has not equaled mine.  Sadly, it makes me question their sense of judgement.  Who doesn’t love Whoopi with corn rows, yellow high tops, and a cheesy KGB plot?!

In case you were wondering, it’s Sabrina that I’m now watching for the second time this evening.  William just came in from class and I refuse to tell him this is round two because he’ll turn it off.  First go around though, he knows better than to turn them off.  Shhh…don’t tell him!

Have you ever wanted something that was pretty ridiculous to want?  I have.  Let me rephrase.  I do.

Burberry pattern that I'm obsessed with

I have an unreasonable love for Burberry.  Not sure why.  Not sure when it started but I’m sure it’s not going away any time soon.  I think it’s the preppy girl inside of me that loves it so much.  But boy.  I LOVE that Burberry Haymarket pattern!

I would consider myself one to have crazy expensive taste (my husband might disagree with me.  Ha!) but I am not crazy to think that I will every–or should ever–own this purse.  But this is what all of my spare pennies are saving for. Please keep in mind that I am very well aware that I could feed a third world country for about three months for the cost of this thing BUT a girl can dream right??

Just beautiful. Burberry Haymarket Bowling Bag

Inside of the lovely bag. Legit.

So Mr. Fancy Pants being the awesome husband that he is, snagged this amazing cashmere scarf for Christmas.  AND my mom got me a new bottle of Burberry Brit perfume because I had had my old bottle for about 2 years.  It was a Burberry Christmas.

Christmas scarf!!!

Burberry Brit perfume! What What.

Ok, so that’s my girlie ridiculous want that probably will never (and probably should never) come to fruition.  I’m sure we all have this selfish desires if we really think about it.  Mine just happens to be focused on a British plaid.  Ha! Oh happy day!

Bryant's & Whitton's MSU cowbells!

A few weeks ago, Mr. Fancy Pants and I made the trek to Mississippi to see the Mississippi State Bulldogs play the University of Georgia Bulldogs.  We got to see many old friends and had a great time!  MSU pulled out a BIG win which only made the weekend better.  William and I got our first “family” cowbell that is now proudly displayed on our living room shelves at home.

I will admit I had a great time shaking that cowbell during the game.  Every game I’ve been to in Starkville I have been cowbell-less and they annoyed the stuff out of me.  BUT now that I have my own, it’s much better!  The girls from Georgia that sat right behind us didn’t exactly feel the same way.  There is a little cowbell icon that shows up on the screen in the stadium when it is an “approved cowbell ringing” time.  We pretty much ignored that though. Ha!  The boys and the Georgia fans had some less than positive words before the game was over…didn’t stop us though!

The Bryants and the Whittons (Landon and William were roommates in college!)

Julia and I with our cowbells in Wade-Davis stadium

Wade-Davis stadium GO BULLDOGS!

Bringing in the game ball!

I am not sure why but this picture makes me laugh. Here is William and his cowbell.

The boys and their bells. Sometimes I think that William would rather be still living Landon than me!

Me and sweet Bev

William and his other favorite roommate from college, Drew!

The Bryants and Whittons say GO STATE!

We also got to see William's best friend from childhood Ryan!

All in all, it was a great weekend.  We got to see SO many people that we love dearly and miss very much.  It made it all the better that MSU won their football game!  To all our Mississippi friends, we love and miss you!  Thanks for a great weekend!

Bryant Denny Stadium- Tuscaloosa, AL

Oh man do I love football season.  We’ve been doing a lot of football watching around the Bryant house so I thought I’d share some of it with you.  The above picture is of Bryant Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, AL home of The University of Alabama Crimson Tide (where I went to college).  This stadium is probably in my top 5 favorite places I’ve ever been. Call it lame, call it cool, call it whatever you want…I LOVE Alabama Football!  Our stadium was just expanded again and now holds a staggering 101,821 people making it the fifth largest stadium in the nation.  Let me tell you one thing–it is LOUD in there.

Davis-Wade Stadium- Starkville, MS

Here is another place that I love.  This is Davis-Wade Stadium in Starkville, MS home of the Mississippi State Bulldogs (where Mr. Fancy Pants went to college). Both State and Alabama are SEC schools so we have some friendly rivalry going on in our house from time to time.  Avey has become a really big football fan and demanded new game day gear for this football season.  So we bought him new collars and jerseys for both Alabama and Mississippi State.  I’d venture to say he’s the one that’s fancy now!

Avey's Alabama and Mississippi State football jerseys

Avey's Game Day collars. Yes they're engraved with his deets on the back. Just in case he gets too excited about a game and runs out the front door.

Avey dons his gear during each game which ultimately means he changes clothes a lot on Saturdays.  It’s ok though because he’s a true fan.

The Fancy Pants family in our MSU gear during the MSU/LSU game. MSU ALMOST had a win that game!

These pictures were yesterday during the Alabama/Florida game.  Avey may look upset in these pictures and you may think, “Hum, it’s probably because you put a DOG’S football jersey on a cat.”  I encourage you NOT to jump to that conclusion my friends.  He was just really into the game and was not in a picture taking mood.  But we had to capture the moment so he got over it.

Avey and his Alabama collar

Here are Avey and I during the 4th quarter when I decided to take pictures. Mr. Fancy Pants and Avey were not amused with my timing. In my defense, it was during a time out.

Man oh man do we love some football here!  A few weeks ago we flew to Mississippi to see all of William’s college buddies and went to an MSU game.  I’ll post about that soon!  In the meantime… ROLL TIDE ROLL and GO DAWGS!

Really corny cartoon.

I am a firm believer that after living with someone for a while you start to pick up some of their traits. With marriage, I think a little of that can be a good thing.  I can affirmatively say that there are several things about myself that have changed since marrying and moving in with Mr. Fancy Pants.  Most of them are small, insignificant things, but they nevertheless make me more like my husband.

One of these such changes is the way that I look at design, namely how products are designed, packaged, and marketed.  It used to be a pet peeve of mine.  William would be shopping with me in a store and would walk up and down the aisles picking apart the products’ design (not enough white space, horrible typeface, bad alignment, “that photo is pixelated”, etc. etc.) Drove me nuts.

After a year and a half of marriage, I find that I do this same thing now.  Not only do I notice the things that William used to point out, I think the same things without him saying anything.   What’s worse, I’ve noticed that I determine my purchases by packaging.  Maybe I’ve become just another gullible American consumer, with an artist’s influence in my mind.

Whatever the case may be, I thought I’d share a few of the items that I love, but will admit, I picked them up for the first time because their design appealed to me.

1.  Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day cleaning supplies

This may come as no surprise given that I am scrupulously clean, however, not only are these products FANTASTIC, their packaging is lovely and they smell nice!  All of their products use all natural ingredients, are biodegradable, and chemically free.

http://www.mrsmeyers.com/

Mrs. Meyers Clean Day supplies. My personal favorites? Counter cleaner, laundry detergent, and hand soap.

Laundry Detergent (comes in Lavender, Basil, Lemon Verbena, and Geranium).

Mrs. Meyer's Pet Cleaner...for when Avey misses his litter box.

2.  Library Vintage Book Games

I paid extra to buy this version of Scrabble rather than the normal board game!  It was well worth it.  They’re in mahogany stained boxes that look like a book’s spine on the side with gold lettering.  Looks great on my shelves and is a really neat retro edition.

Vintage Game Collection by Parker Brothers

Scrabble

Clue

Life

3.  Annie’s Natural Dressing

Annie’s Naturals

Annie’s uses only simple natural and organic ingredients, no additives or preservatives. These are some of the tastiest dressings ever!  My favorites?  The Goddess Dressing, Shiitake & Sesame Vinaigrette, and Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette.

I like the designs on this whole line of dressings, which after researching this I learned from the website that they have redesigned the whole line and frankly it made me very sad.   I have become an ardent fan of these dressings and marinades so I will continue to be a follower, but they’re going to lose some appeal to me.  Oh well.

Annie's Natural Dressings

Annie's Shiitake & Sesame Dressing

I have a new favorite iPhone app.  It’s called Grocery IQ.  You can read a little more about it here if my raving below isn’t enough for you.

I’m pretty obsessed with this thing.  Not only is it a great place to make your grocery list, you can customize it in so many ways.  I have a different list template for each of the grocery stores that I visit.  Each one of them is customized by the aisles in the store, which areas I visit in the store in what order, etc.  So you can see in the picture below you just start to type in whatever item it is that you want and it will list items based on the first few letters of the word (a little like predictive text) to help you make your selection.  Once you’ve chosen the item you can add all sorts of details.  For example, if you typed in ‘Butter’ it would ask what type and give you the option of stick, tub, squeeze, etc.  If you chose stick, then it would ask salted or unsalted.  Then qty, weight, lbs, etc.  I just have the free version of the app, however it is my understanding that with the paid version it will also give you the product’s price at that particular store so theoretically you’d know exactly how much you were going to spend before you set foot in the store (that is if you stick to your list!)

I will say I think my FAVORITE feature of the app is the barcode scanning feature.  First you select which grocery store to make your list for.  Then there is a little lightening bolt looking icon that if you select it, it brings up the screen below (just your iPhone camera with the white box below…the salt is what I am using for my example.  It will not always open with a container of salt.  Ha!)
You can see in the picture below where it says ‘Align barcode edges with arrows’. Sorry if you cannot see it well, but I was trying to take a picture with the barcode aligned in the center like it says, however, I kid you not, the program snaps a little picture of the barcode and reads it so quickly that I didn’t have time to get a picture of what the screen looks like!  So I had to put the ‘reading area’ off to the side so I could show what it looks like.  But after you line up the barcode in the little box it asks you to hold it still while it reads the barcode.  Then it just adds it to your list!  IT’S AWESOME! (see picture below after the item has been added)

The Grocery IQ app asks you to line up the bar code within these little boxes. You can see where it says 'Align barcode edges with arrows' in white.

Grocery IQ list after the barcode scanner has added the product to the list.

I think it’s funny that I chose our Morton’s salt container to use as an example.  Mainly because I hate salt and rarely use it!  But, whatever works for sake of the blog, right?!  I think everyone should check out this awesome app! After I organized the app in order of the aisles in the grocery store, I really do feel like I have cut into the time it used to take me to shop.  And another hint for you ladies, Mr. Fancy Pants LOVES to be in charge of ‘the list’ now that it’s on my iPhone and not scribbled on some scrap of paper.  So if you’re like me and like to have a companion at the grocery store, put them in charge of the list!  Happy grocery shopping!

Drum roll please…I can finally post the last part of my ‘Favorite Things’ because #4 arrived in the mail from my parents’ house in Texarkana, TX on Saturday.  Not sure what took it so long getting here, but it just prolonged the suspense!  Looking back at the other posts, coupled with this one, I didn’t want these to be in any particular order (i.e. #1 is my most favorite and #15 my least favorite of the favorites).  So, take these as the last 5 rather than the top 5.  With one exception.  #1.  It’s legit my favorite.

Here goes!  Enjoy!

5.  Official University of Alabama Football Jersey

#22 Mark Ingram the 75th winner of the Heisman Trophy and the first from the University of Alabama.

I am a proud graduate of the University of Alabama.  How I ended up there is not that exciting of a story but it was the perfect place for me for college.  I loved every minute of my 3 1/2 years there.  I grew up in Texas so I have long known a Southerners love for football.  I grew up in a household with a father that loves the Arkansas Razorbacks and loathes the University of Texas (the hatred dates back to when both schools were in the Southwestern Conference, which also included Baylor University, my parents’ alma mater, though football is not Baylor’s forte).  Slightly unrelated, I’m convinced by dad cannot fully enjoy himself when he comes to visit us solely because he knows that UT’s campus is a few miles away. Ha!  Anyway, I have always loved SEC football (and yes, it is the best conference in the nation), but I didn’t understand love for football until I went to Alabama.  Those people know their football.  When I went to school there, I didn’t bleed Crimson, didn’t know the fight song, didn’t know the players for that matter…4 minutes in Bryant-Denny Stadium changed that.  You can’t help but be a fan.  The school spirit and love for Alabama’s deep football tradition is contagious.  That was all it took.  A dear friend that I met in my first weeks at Alabama sat with me during the first game and taught me the fight song and at the end of my first game I was screaming “Rammer Jammer”.

The official jersey of the 2010 BCS National Championship

Yes, I'm legit. Merry Christmas to me from Mr. Fancy Pants! The best gift EVER!

Needless to say, I was thrilled that Alabama made it to the National Championship last season and probably would’ve given my first born child for the chance to go to the game had I had the opportunity!  Not really, but I would’ve thought about it. Mr. Fancy Pants gave me this official National Championship jersey for Christmas last year before the game.  I think I was one of 2 people in Austin, TX cheering on the Crimson Tide on the evening of the game (the other being my roommate from my freshman year of college who also lives in Austin).  This fantastic jersey is Mark Ingram’s number, 22.  Ingram was the 75th winner of the Heisman Trophy and the first winner ever from the University of Alabama.  I watched his acceptance speech in Mighty Fine Burgers in Austin, TX and yes, I cried.  The rest of the restaurant was mad–in their burnt orange.

No offense to any of my UT fan friends (Mr. Fancy Pants and I actually are Texas fans, we are from Texas you know–except when they play Alabama), but it was a great year to be an Alabama fan.  And I’m so happy to have this jersey to commemorate it!  Roll Tide Roll!

4.  Wood carving of our initials inspired by our “save the dates”

Mr. and Mrs. Fancy Pants' Save the Dates

One of my favorite things about Mr. Fancy Pants and my wedding was our Save the Dates.  Our dear friend, Beverly Hayman-Polen (a fellow graphic design student at Mississippi State with Mr. Fancy Pants) designed our lovely Save the Dates for us. Bev now lives in Jackson, MS with her husband Neil and is the Artistic Director for Libby Story & Company. She is amazingly talented and creative and I love what she came up with for us.  As you can tell from the picture, she drew a tree on right side of the card with a heart including our initials.  Hanging from the branch was a little brown bag that held two cards, one with the wedding date information, the other with the hotel information.  We got so many compliments on these and with good reason–just look at how amazing they are!!!  Check out Bev’s website!

Cards that fit inside the bag on our Save the Dates

Save the Dates designed by Beverly Hayman-Polen

What makes these even more special to Mr. Fancy Pants and I is a gift that was given to us by Dr. Randy Brown.  Dr. B is Mr. Fancy Pant’s best friend Ryan’s dad. Mr. Fancy Pants and Ryan grew up together and were pretty much inseparable for the majority of their adolescent life.   Some of my best memories are with those two kiddos.  William and Ryan were Eagle Scouts together, and Dr. B was Troop 16’s leader (not sure the “official name” though I probably should know).  Dr. B and his wife are very special people to Mr. Fancy Pants and I and also to Mr. Fancy Pants’s whole family.  They through a party for us and some of our friends before we got married and that night Dr. B gave us this wood carving that he did for us–inspired by our Save the Dates.

Wood carving by Dr. B inspired by our Save the Dates

Detail of the intricate wood carving

This beautiful piece of art now hangs in our home.  It is a constant reminder of our engagement, wedding, and of a very special man.  I know I’ve written about this before, but it doesn’t get more personal or special than a gift that comes from the heart. Dr. B’s wood working is incredible and we’re honored to have such a personal piece made by him to keep forever!

The back of Dr. B's wood carving-a sweet note to us.

3.  Acapulco dishes

Acapulco dish collection

I know I’ve already posted once about these dishes (to refresh your memory, click here), however, these are some of my favorite things.  My mother, grandmother, and I all share a collection of this lovely china made by Villeroy & Boch.  When Mr. Fancy Pants and I got married, I told him that I wasn’t going to be those women who has 16 sets of dishes.  Sadly, I am well on my way.  Entertaining people in our home has quickly become one of my favorite things to do, and I can honestly say that I utilize all of the dishes and serving pieces that we got for wedding gifts (not because they’re needed when entertaining, but because I’m determined to prove to Mr. Fancy Pants that they aren’t a waste of space!)

My Acapulco collection, however, are and will always be my favorite pieces.  They’re unique and colorful and I love my family’s history with them.  They might fall into that category of “what’s beautiful to one is dreadful to another”, but to my Mom, my Mimi, and I, they’re perfectly lovely.

Acapulco bowls & salad plates

2. Family pictures

Wall of Family Photos (Bryants, Sarretts, Woods, Marshes, Brabhams)

I apologize for the quality of these pictures–I’m no photographer and it’s hard to photograph photographs without getting a flash on the glass.  I failed.  Ha!

This has been one of my favorite projects that I’ve worked on since Mr. Fancy Pants and I got married.  My mom had done this in my childhood home and I thought I’d incorporate it into our home as well.  I have collected pictures from William’s and my families, printed them all in black and white, and hung them all together on our guest room wall.  I love the reminder of where we came from and some of the faces on the wall are people that Mr. Fancy Pants and I miss everyday–it’s nice to have a reminder.  I also love the obvious joining of our two families through these old photographs.  Believe it or not, these have been a huge conversation piece for us.  I thought that they’d be generally overlooked by our friends, as most don’t care to hear stories of other people’s families, but they’ve been the topic of conversation during several parties we’ve had here at the apartment.  It’s funny to hear the comments people make–they’re all generally the same which we find comical.  The first is always about the uncanny resemblance that William has to his maternal grandfather (pictured with his wife, bottom row in the middle).  My other favorite comment was by one of my girl friends.  She said, “Who is this handsome man?”.  It was a picture of my mom’s father who I never met.  And yes, he was handsome–my mom looks just like him!

Detail shot of the left side of the wall

Detail shot of the right side of the wall

I love this idea–everyone has these old pictures of their family stuck in drawers and hidden in rooms where people never go–why not put them where people can see them?  I’d like to think that Mr. Fancy Pants and my family members would be honored to be making their debut in our home!

1.  Avey Tare

Meet Mr. Avey Tare

And finally, my #1 favorite thing…granted he’s not really a thing but he’s still my favorite and it’s my list of favorite things so here he is!  The kittiest of kitties…Avey Tare!

He’s pretty much the most handsome cat ever.  Avey has more personality than we know what to do with.  He’s nice to most people…with the exception of Mr. Fancy Pants’ brother Stephen, my dad, our friend Micah, and a few others.  We have no explanation to his reasoning as it appears his least favorite people are some of our favorites.  He just has bad taste apparently.  He loves ice cream, treats, hair rubber bands, and laying on his back with his paws and legs spread out for long periods of time.  We got him in November of 2006 and he lived with Mr. Fancy Pants in Starkville, MS during college.  It was here that he met two of his favorite people in the world, Landon and Julia.  Landon taught him some pretty cool tricks which makes him even more special.  While he lived with William and Landon, he had a tendency to tinkle on things: beds, couches, chairs, etc.  It was a bad time in the lives of all involved.  We think it was his equivalent of bed wetting.  Also, when he had surgery and became a little less of a man, if you know what I mean, he got an infection which also lead to some really nasty things.  All of this earned him the nick name of Mr. Avey Bottom.  Luckily after moving to Austin he’s turned a new leaf and is back to his crazy steller self minus the peeing on things that aren’t his litter box.  Basically he’s the coolest ever.  If you’ve never met him, well you’re missing out.

This is what Mr. Fancy Pants and I call "airing it out". He does this a lot. He's not what you would call a shy being.

Avey getting ready for work. He's not good at his job. He never brings home money--if he's making it, we're not sure what he does with it because he never pays rent.

Avey at Halloween. He was a jester. He loved his costume.

Avey at Christmas with his festive holiday collar.

I’ll leave you with this last image.  I hope you enjoyed my favorite things!

Here are my two favorite boys.

Mr. Fancy Pants and Avey Tare at the park. Yes, the cat is on a least. He needs his exercise.

In order to build up the suspense of the top 5 of my favorite things…I’m going to have to make you wait another day to find out what they are.  (and I am still waiting on one of the items to arrive in the mail from my parent’s house in Texarkana, TX. Ha!)

This is the Tasha McKelvey coffee mug that I want to purchase. I love the speckled color of the pottery that it retained after it was fired.

Mixture of vases by Tasha McKelvey

In the  meantime, I have been wanting to post about the amazing work of Tasha McKelvey.  I have always loved pottery and ceramics.  Funny now that I am typing this I am realizing that I would probably really love to take a pottery class and the thought has never crossed my mind.  Regardless, ceramic bowls, plates, vases, etc. are just one of the many things I like to accumulate.  I use the word accumulate in the nicest sense–mainly considering I don’t like the word collect.  Not sure why, it just reminds me of that show on TLC called ‘Hoarders’. Living in piles and piles of unorganized stuff.  I think I am now realizing one of my worst nightmares. Frightening.

I ran across Tasha’s work on Flickr a while ago and to be honest have not yet purchased anything from her.  The reason?  I cannot decide what I want!  I have it narrowed down to about four different items but cannot make up my mind.  It’s all fabulous.

Small bowls with birds on the rim by Tasha McKelvey

I think what I like about pottery is that it is all so unique and the majority of it is handmade.  You know someone’s hands worked to create the piece.  There is something about giving someone a gift that is one of a kind that I love.  I like to think it feels more personal to the receiver of the gift as well.  What me to it the most is looking through the items that she has made, which can all be customized by material, color, style, etc., is I would consider purchasing a handmade piece for so many different people in my life.  Looking through the pictures of her work I spot things my mom would enjoy, my grandmother, mother-in-law, best friend, myself, sister-in-law, and I could keep going on and on.  As an artist, what a testament to the diversity and attractiveness of your work when it appeals to so many different audiences.

To quote the artist, this is what Tasha has to say on her website:

“My clay work is intended to be useful – this is art that is meant to be touched. In the past everything we used in the home was made by hand. Today our homes are filled with stuff stamped out by machines. When we seek out handmade art we make our surroundings a little more human.”

What an amazing sentiment.  Besides my unhealthy love for anything that can be bought at Anthropologie, which while beautiful is anything but unique or one-of-a-kind, I do try and fill mine and Mr. Fancy Pant’s house with art and objects that mean something.  One thing I have learned about myself since I have started out on my own with my own money is that I hate buying something just to buy it.  I love the search to find something that means something to me or the artist that made it.  I don’t think there is a more perfect way to decorate a home than with things that make our surroundings “a little more human”.  Props to Tasha for being an inspiration to a girl who loves art, is surrounded by art, married an artist, yet has little artistic ability.  I appreciate anyone who makes me feel a little more “unique” even if it is through something as small as my one-of-a-kind coffee mug.  I can’t wait to make my first purchase!

Yellow flowered vase by Tasha McKelvey

Set of red bowls with birds and nests on the rim

Good day!  Continuing on my count down of my favorite things, I have five more to share today.  If you’re reading, let me know what your favorite things are!  (plus, comments on my blog pretty much make my day!)

10. Sewing Box

My mother is an excellent seamstress.  She claims that she’s “out of practice” but she can sew on a button better than anyone I know (though she knows I’m better than her when it comes to making button holes on the sewing machine–her one weakness!)  For as long as I can remember, she’s kept her sewing materials in a sewing box that I can only describe as “accordion like”.  She and my dad gave me my own sewing machine as a graduation gift from college along with a cute black and white polka dotted sewing box which proceeded to literally fall apart in about two months time.  I had been on the prowl for a new sewing box for a while when I decided to check out ebay to see if I could find something similar to the amazing box my mom had always had.

Behold.  My Christmas present this past year.

Vintage sewing box

This photo shows you how the box opens. It fans out and sits about 4 feet long when it's fully opened.

You’d be amazed what all I can fit in this thing.  Granted sewing accessories typically aren’t too big, but I have all of my little tools and materials stuck inside. And I love that instead of it being one big box or bag that I have to dig through, there are several different compartments to hold everything oh so neatly.   It’s like my organizational obsession was channelled into the design of a wooden box. Genius.

9. Craspedia decorations

Craspedia in a glass vase

I saw these in a vase in the window of Anthropologie several months ago and fell in love.  First of all, yellow is my favorite color and I just thought they were great.  I took a picture of them because I had no idea what in the world they were.  I went to my trusty source of all things floral (aka my friend Julia) and just like I knew she would, she knew exactly what they were just from the picture.  Crazy impressive. Turns out that you can only buy them during certain months of the year–big bummer.  So I found this website that I thought were pretty reasonably priced as the only place I could find them in Austin was at Central Market for $2.75 per stem. Ridiculous.

I found the wonderful people of Nettleton Hollow in Brooklyn, NY (great to work with by the way) who sell 20-30 stems for $16.50.  Now that’s more like it!  Now I have these all over our apartment!  The great thing about these though is you can buy them still alive and you have to dry them yourself–something I have no idea how to do–because when they dry they loose they’re rich yellow color.  These have already been dried in a special way that makes them keep their color and they’ll last for a year or two!

Craspedia in a vase from Anthropologie--a gift from my dear friend Tiffany.

For some reason these just seem so cheery to me.  Several of my friends have seen these and ordered their own from Nettleton Hollow and each of them have done the most unique things with them.  Word to the wise however, cats like to play with the balls on the ends of the stems.  Not sure if they’re poisonous–our cat Avey is still alive and well so hopefully we’re in the clear!

8. Teddy

The first love of my life.

Ok, judge me if you will people, but yes one of my favorite things is my Teddy from when I was a little girl.  I still have a serious attachment to this thing.  I think if we were all honest with ourselves each of us would know there was a stuffed animal, doll, toy, etc. stashed away at our parents home or in the attic somewhere that once held your heart.  Don’t be ashamed.  Mine lives in my nightstand!  I will say, I no longer sleep with him so don’t be too quick to judge me.  My mom’s little sister Becky gave me this Teddy bear right after I was born.  It was my favorite thing in the world growing up.  He used to have a blue bow or necktie or something of the sort around his neck but that is long gone (and yes, it was blue. The doctors told my parents that I was a boy).

Once my dad took me to Boston with him for a medical convention of some sort and Teddy got lost in the sheets at the hotel.  We came back to the room after they’d cleaned it and Teddy was gone.  After what I’m sure was a royal fit pitched by yours truly we went down to the laundry room of the hotel to look for him.  I have never seen so many sheets in my life. He smelled like stinky hotel detergent for at least a year.  (Mr. Fancy Pants and I have a bet going as to how many people will be convinced I’m weird and never read the blog again after Teddy’s debut.  Any takers?)

7. Cowboy boots

True Texan. My boots.

Every true Texan has to have  a good pair of cowboy (or cowgirl) boots right?  I will proudly say that yes, I am one of those people that is probably a little too proud of my home state. Honestly though, who wouldn’t love a place where people dress the way they do here?  You just have to laugh at it and appreciate the cowboys for who they are.  And I will sadly say, you don’t see as many of them as you’d expect to.  I wish I had the guts to dress that way, though I don’t think boots and Wranglers count as “business formal” attire for work.  Ha!

Thus, number 7 on my list is my trusty pair of boots.  These my dad bought me in high school.  They’re a little more ‘cutesy’ with their teal threading, and definitely not as broken in as I’d like, but they suffice considering I cannot find my favorite pair of all time.  That’s another story that’s too sad to discuss.

Scratch that.  I do love my boots, but what I REALLY love is my…

HOUSE SLIPPER COWBOY BOOTS!

Who wouldn't want cowboy boot house slippers?

Ha!  My mom gave Mr. Fancy Pants and I matching ‘his & hers’ cowboy boot house slippers for Christmas.  I am not kidding you when I say this is all William wanted from my parents for Christmas.  Not sure what his fascination with these was but he HAD to have them.  My mom bought two different sizes to make sure that when he opened them we’d have the right size because she said after the build up she just couldn’t bear them not fitting.  We might have told him they were backordered though just to mess with him…it was pretty funny.  Mr. Fancy Pants and his shoes…

Mr. and Mrs. Fancy Pants with our boot slippers

6. Berkley illustrations

Berkley Print collection

I know that I have already posted about our Berkley illustrations, however I can honestly say that these are some of my favorite things that Mr. Fancy Pants and I have purchased together since we have been married.  I think if you know both of us it is pretty clear that we typically don’t share the same taste in a lot of things, art included.  I attribute that to a lot of things: his love for design, my lack of knowledge about design, his love for any color that would belong in a box of neon Crayola markers, my dislike for those colors and love for the box of bold Crayola markers, his strange fascination with triangles, wolves, Native American inspired artwork, and the like, my thinking wolves are weird…I could keep going for days.

These prints however, are loved by both of us.  He loves the humor in the characters.  I love the sophistication and color palette.  I imagine few piece of artwork we own in our lifetime will ever hold as much as excitement as the anticipation of these arriving on our doorstep.  The pictures don’t do them justice. Right now they hang above our bed but I’d love to have them in a dining room one day with some modern dining room furniture.  Can’t wait.  I would encourage you to check out these talented artist’s work.  They are prints of the originals, however I cannot describe to you how detailed and beautiful these are up close.  So much so that I was hesitant to frame them because while it shows them off, it almost takes away from them.  Seriously, check out their work.

Click here to go to their Etsy shop:

Up close and personal of some of my favorites: owl, cheetah, panda, elephant

View from the side