Friday, July 30, 2010

A thought so random, I'm blaming the sugar high...

The bottom of my G-mail screen has a little counter that says "You are using 17% of your (some number & measurement I don't understand) blah blah space."

I think they should make one of those for all aspects of life, i.e. "you are currently using 17% of your brain" (and that's being generous, since I'm at work and we all know how engaging that is. But I did have to play a game of tetris with all my foodstuffs to pack them into the tiny compartment I hide all my junk in at my desk, so that had to use SOME brain power...)

or what about

"You are using .0007% of your potential." That might be too depressing to acknowledge. And probably worse if it came out a really high number, and I had to realize "this is as good as it's gonna get, kid."


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Break me off a piece...

For the price of 2 measley bars from my office vending machine (which also happen to be the "big kat" versions that are not nearly as good) I snagged myself a whole bag of snack size treats today at Target. Suck that, vending guy who wears entirely too much cologne.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What Not to Name a Baby in 2010

To set this up: we are not sharing, nor interested in feedback on our baby names. This isn't because we think anyone will steal them (go ahead, I'll still name my kid the same thing - there is no first come, first served rule with names. I work in an office with 2 Heathers (out of 3 people) and once had 5 on my soccer team) nor because we're going totally whackadoo (though there was a brief "Beefsteak Tomato" discussion via Facebook), but simply because "I don't effing care what you think." If you would like input, feel free to get your own child/dog/houseplant, and go nuts.

That said, I find this humorous - and no, none of these are on our list:

What Not to Name a Baby in 2010

It's a big decision: What to name a little baby who just landed on this very overpopulated Earth?

Sure, it's easy if you hew to tradition and christen little Peter, Paul or Mary the III. But most moms we know want a name that's, at once, cute, special, nice-sounding, sweet-smelling, not too weird, and something everyone else in A.P. Montessori isn't named.

Then a funny thing happens, as any child of the '80s who was named Jennifer or Michael can attest: Somehow, mysteriously, in any given year, every parent on the planet chooses the Same. Damn. Names.

We were curious: First, how does that happen? Is it in the water? Nefarious marketing? Or, can we blame Angelina? And -- more helpfully, if you're about to pop out your own little bundle of unnamed joy now or in the near future -- what shouldn't you name the kid, to ensure little it stands out?

So we asked the experts: Laura Wattenberg is the creator of The Baby Name Wizard and Parentdish's "Ask the Name Lady"; and Pamela Redmond Satran has not only authored 10 books on names, she shares all that know-how on Nameberry.

Two things they both agree on: Naming your kid something no one else is isn't easy -- and, if you're curious, there are monikers that should be off your list.

"A lot of these are names that parents are interested in now because they're not seeing them on the Top 1,000 list," says Satran. "They're not visible in kids that are in kindergarten now, but five years from now they're going to feel epidemic."

So, how does it happen? The truth is no one knows, but pop culture can breed same-named kids faster than Drosophila.

"A great example, looking to the past is 'Madison,'" says Wattenberg, "which was not a girl's name at all until the movie 'Splash.' This beautiful mermaid looks up at the street name in Manhattan and says, 'My name is Madison.' A generation later it's a girl's name. Bang."

But the weirdest part, she says, is the way we all unwittingly become name lemmings: "It's amazing. There's no company out there putting millions of dollars into advertising to get us to name our daughters 'Miley.'"

Which, by the way, made the Don't list -- twice -- but not for the reasons you think. Herewith, in no particular order, what not to name a kid this year, or next:

1. Cullen
"'Twilight' is the perfect storm when it comes to baby names," says Wattenberg. "First of all, it's a huge cultural phenomenon, but it's also aiming directly at the people who are going to be having babies in the next 10 years. Today's 17-year-old is getting her sense of baby-name style stamped."
See also: Emmett, Kullan. Kellan. Really, the name of any "Twilight" character -- or an actor who plays one. "These were also in the top 10," says Wattenberg. "It's a huge circle of undead coolness."

2. Piper
"Another name that just a few short years ago was really cool and creative," says Wattenberg, "and Sarah Palin nixed that. One of her kids is a Piper." Politics aside, it's really the vowel sound you should eschew. "The hot sound that is going to trap people is the long 'I' sound," she says. "Long vowel sounds are really in right now, and the 'I' is coming up as something that people haven't used as much."
See also: Wyatt. Lilah. Aidan. Miles. "Names like that you're gong to start hearing a lot," says Wattenberg. "All of these names are climbing together."

3. Miley
Blackballed twice -- for her long "I" and her ending "lee." "There's a whole raft of names ending in 'lee' that are moving up the list. You can really spell a lot of these names a lot of different ways," says Satran. "The parents are trying to be innovative, but there are so many names with that quality, they all run together."
See also: Kaylee, Byley, Paisley

4. Sookie
"It's one of the most searched names on my website," says Wattenberg. "It's a name from the 'True Blood' vampire mysteries." And the old-fashioned nickname for Susan, it turns out, has all the makings of a hit: "Your recipe for a pop culture name phenomenon? You have a movie or a TV show with attractive young people who have supernatural powers," says Wattenberg. "'Bewitched' launched names. 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer,' even 'Charmed' -- which wasn't even a very popular show."
See also: Sookeh, Snooki (because we said so)

5. Emma/Emily
"They've both been number one names, and they're still in the top five and have been for many years," says Satran. "Parents kind of get that they shouldn't use Emma or Emily because there have been so many for so long, so Emiline, Amelia, and even for boys, Emmett, is really leaping up. You're trying to be different, but it's not very different, so the result is just more kids."
See also: Pretty much any name that starts with "Em"

6. Isla
Aka, Mrs. Borat. "It's been really thanks to Isla Fisher, but also thanks to its similarity to names that are short and start with vowels," says Satran. "That name came from nowhere. It's gone from obscurity to overplayed in 10 seconds flat."
See also: Eva, Ava

7. Malia
"It's one of those names that can be spelled a lot of different ways, and people have an impulse to make it, quote, different," says Satran. "But it all goes back to Malia and the Obamas."
See also: Maliyah, Malea

8. Isabel/Isabella
"Isabella became number this year," says Satran. "That's a name that, like Sophia and Olivia, appeals to a lot of people for a lot of reasons. It's classic, but it's feminine, it's distinctive, but it's strong. It appeals to WASPs and Hispanics. It can be Jewish or Christian. For a name to be number one, it has to have appeal for many types of parents."
See also: Arabella, Anabelle. "The name 'Isabelle' was was already popular, but Stephenie Meyer made it more so," she says. "Now parents are looking to Arabelle, Anabelle -- just to get that 'bell' feeling."

9. Jet
And, really, any of what Satran calls the new "tough boy names." "They're a weird combo of really hardcore macho-ness and futuristic or reinvented maleness," she says. They differ from traditional guy names like Frederick or George, but also diverge from what she calls "androgynous male names," like Logan or Connor or Jordan that are sometimes used for girls. "Those have a softer male image," she says. "These are new, they're different, but if anything, they're macho."
See also: Colt, Gunner, Riker, Rider

10. Anything With an 'X'
"I blame this on Angelina Jolie," says Satran, who points out that all three of her boys have 'x' names: Maddox, Pax and Knox. "People have copied that, or unconsciously jumped on this trend." What attracts them to the 'X,' she says, is the fact that it feels irreverent and cool. Why you might want to nix the 'X' factor? "I think," says Satran, "it's a trend that's going to feel dated by kindergarten."
See also: Jax, Jaxson (with or with or without the "S"), Paxton

11. Lola
"The last ones I would say are 'LL' names," says Satran. "This is a classier trend. A lot of these are old-fashioned names, and that "double L" is lovely, but there are going to be a lot of them."
See also: Lila, Tallulah

As for what's still unclaimed, for boys, at least, you can always try Landon or Lionel or Iker or, well, Kaka -- "I don't think America is ready for soccer names," says Satran. "Here, I'm not seeing it so far."

Carrie Sloan is the editor of Lemondrop. She was not named after the movie of the same name -- or so she thinks.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The most terrifying thought...

Making ends meet with no pay? eh.

Being responsible for another life? sure, whatever.

A new routine filled with vomit, drool, and poop? resigned to it.

BUT NO INTERNET ACCESS FOR 3 MONTHS?!?!?! too terrifying for words.

Maternity leave just took a frightful twist with this realization...I may have to sell a kidney for some MiFi...

Friday, July 23, 2010

Mid-Year Resolution Check

The scary/convenient double edged sword that is blogging your resolutions means that it's easy to see each day your failures and/or accomplishments. Being more than 1/2 way through the adventure that is 2010, it's not a bad time to check in on the wistful ideals I had all the way back at the beginning of the year. Because, you know, the fact that I cried over a lack of ice cream toppings in the fridge last night in no way dissuades me from serious philosophical discussions of my life's trajectory...

2010 Resolutions

- Cross at least 6 items off of my Bucket List (that's 1 every 2 months)

Three down, so I'm roughly on track though in pursuit of #2 I've sort of knocked out the likelihood of working on about half of the rest of the list, such as #41 (roller coaster tour - people get all nervous and picture scrambled eggs or something. Or maybe they just know how much we puke and don't want to tempt fate), and ditto #49 (run on a log like in a lumberjack competition). All of the big money items (anything with travel, buy, own...) are on the DL until further notice, and let's face it, #64 was always a long shot (be proud of my government). All that said, I have a few items in the works, and especially if this mythical 2nd trimester reprieve ever kicks in, I just *might* be able to pull this resolution off.

- Organize my craft room again, and keep it that way for the whole year

Massive fail. And getting worse all the time. I cleaned it once...for about 10 minutes. Then with each large project, I've destroyed all sense of order and had zero energy or drive to repair it. Hmmm. Even were I to get to this soon, I'm not sure I could ever claim it as a win...though I hope to have it at least functional before the big B drops on our lives...

- Take more photos, learn to take better ones

Also not going great. The clear side effect of cutting our Internet access was a decrease in my overall computer time - that means uploading photos, blogging, scrapbooking...also my lack of "doing anything interesting" may be a factor. With Halloween coming up, and back into the holidays maybe I'll get better. And I still hold out hope of taking a photo class.

- Keep up with photo albums - within 1 month of events

I'm actually caught up with current events, and within reasonable sight of finishing up the few I've dilly-dallied on, so I can declare this a clear win so far! WHOO HOO!

- Stick to a realistic budget this Halloween, while still having the best party ever

How can this be right around the corner already?!?! Though I've chosen a theme, I've yet to really get moving on anything...but that also means I haven't blown my budget yet, so once I make's still possible to accomplish this.

- Develop a career plan. Decide what I want to that I AM grown up!

Getting further and further away, and definitely will not be changing any time soon. While I suppose it doesn't preclude me from PLANNING, I can't switch jobs (or more importantly, INSURANCE) during the pregnancy, so this one...not really going to happen.

- File my receipts and bills at least monthly...and catch up with the ones thrown in a box from the past many years.

HA HA HA HA HA. Yeah, right.

-Create and pursue happiness actively

This is more of a mantra, and I'm sometimes okay about it. Especially if I can consider happiness to be a nap, or ice cream...I'm pursuing them with a vengeance.

- Start writing letters. Real letters on paper.

I wrote one. To my grandma. Is that a "start"?

- Pay down debt. Significantly. Maybe even start saving.

Even more important to me now, and even less attainable. Though I've tightened the reigns as much as possible, our impending costs are really going to offset any progress thus far. But it's still a major goal.

- Bring my lunch to work more often. Like at least sometimes :) I'm so bad at this.

This was an on again/off again battle pre-pregnancy, and now that I'm epically tired (not to mention broke) I'm actually doing much better at bringing things from home to avoid having to trek around at lunch time savaging. Also a factor: I'm supposed to eat 6 smaller meals a day, as opposed to 3 larger, in an attempt to actually retain some of my stomach contents. So far the results are debatable, but it *could* finally be looking up...

- Take a real vacation with my husband. Actually go somewhere, just the two of us. We've been together 10 years (in January 2010), and never had a big solo vacation!

Well, it probably wasn't ideal to travel to a crazy busy walking-heavy city at 10 weeks, but the airfare was booked, the show tickets were purchased, and the mermaids were waiting! Somehow we survived 8 days in NYC - we ate great meals, caught up with amazing friends, and remembered just how important "Minnesota Nice" is (when you don't see it).

Here's hoping we can make vacations a bit more of a priority in the next 10 years.

So, in summary: 12 resolutions
4 clear failures
4 solid wins
4 with the potential to swing either way

Could be worse. How are you doing on your resolutions?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

And they're not helping my back either...

Dear Universe,

Please give me credit for wearing semi-cute shoes today. At least enough to cancel out the fact I've worn these jeans for two weeks straight and stopped brushing my hair. Oh, and note that I managed to throw on a necklace too - something shiny to distract you from my lack of makeup. So where's my freakin' glow already?


What's that smell?

I get very annoyed when a product I like is discontinued, especially one I'm very particular about. I tend to solve this by HOARDING such products - i.e. if I find a shirt I like, I buy it in every color, which may or may not make it look like I wear a uniform and have no originality, but hey - it works for me...when I have the budget to do it. Which is not often. When my shampoo was discontinued I even wrote a strongly-worded letter to Herbal Essence...who basically told me "wow, it's too bad you didn't buy more then, because nobody else liked it..." I detest trying out new body products. And I've been jonesing for some body spray for quite a while.

Also, now more than ever (with my super-hero strength sense of smell) I find scents to be a battle...floral and perfume scents make me ill, as do musks and herbals, and the only genre that I seem to still tolerate are fruit smells. But all of the "good ones" have been discontinued in the B&BW stores. My own supply had been exhausted months ago, and I'd just had to settle for smelling like dog and KFC ever since. Conundrum?

No! Because you can order retired fragrances online, and with the buy 2 get 1 free special I got in on, my shipping was essentially free! My order arrived yesterday, a fresh stock of Strawberry Lemonade, Coco Cabana, and Pink Grapefruit. I was sad not to find peach, which might be my all time favorite, but this should keep me less stinky for the immediate future - yet everything is light enough for my uber-nose to tolerate. YAY for indulging my self a tiny bit! Also, these are likely to come in handy when I stop showering and roll myself in baby vomit and old milk. Then at least it will be lightly fruit scented baby vomit and old milk...maybe I should patent that...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sorry I cannot hear you I'm kinda busy...ka-kinda busy...

Thought: If baby reacted like this to karaoke, how will it tolerate the Lady GaGa concert? Screw wearing fun "GaGa-Tastic" costumes, is it possible to soundproof your womb? These tickets were way too expensive to leave early...

Onesie sold here.

Monday, July 19, 2010

My Baby Hates Karaoke how I will sum up the fact I spent Saturday night/Sunday morning in the ER fairly certain that I was dying. You don't need to know the details, but the end result was a surprise 2am ultrasound. Pregnant women love us some ultra sounds, and I'd been pouting for a while that we didn't get to see the little sack-o-love for another month and then some - so while the ER in the middle of the night wasn't an ideal time, it was definitely a nice little perk and a good ending to a crazy escapade. It might just have been the lack of sleep, or the hormones, but looking back the whole thing is really hilarious (knowing now that we are both okay). Case in point:

Dr: "We won't be able to tell you gender or anything, I just took this out of the trauma room, it's pretty old and we usually just use it to look at gunshot victims and stuff. But we'll be able to see if it's a baby."

(Uh, good? If???)

Dr: "Here's your baby! It has a head, and that's the heartbeat, and legs, and it has arms somewhere in there. Probably."


For some reason when I see this picture, I think of a chicken, or a Thanksgiving Turkey. But I swear on the screen it actually looked like a baby. They kept the "good photo" for my file. Jerks.

And the true sign I had lost all sanity:

Dr: "You can see the skull, and the teeth -"
Dr: "Uh, they're not out yet. They're in the gums. You can just see them here."
Me: "Oh. Okay. Whew."

I knew I should have never read those damn Twilight books. Thanks, "book club" for introducing me to the idea of sparkly vampire babies chewing their way out. At 2am it didn't seem nearly so far fetched...

And now I'm going back to sleep. I mean work...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

More Martha Inspiration - On My Halloween List...

I love me some Martha. Mock her as you will, she turned crafting and dinner parties into a worldwide empire, and now has a whole staff of lucky dogs that get to sit and craft all day. I'd kiss her ankle monitor for that gig any day. And man, do they do some AMAZING Halloween things...

Particularly of interest to my "Romp in the Swamp" New Orleans theme party:

So many creepy creatures hang out in the swamp, these ribbon snakes would fit right in. Slightly on the adorable side, maybe, but I'm smitten.

I know you can buy bleeding candles, but here's a quick improvisation - perfect for a voodoo shop, am I right? I'm actually planning to re-purpose a bunch of old ugly tapers I found while clearing out for the big yard sale, so this might really work for me.

Rotten eggs and centipedes could be useful in a little black magic too, any good priestess would carry them in her shop...
 well as proof of her powers, like these shrunken heads! I really hope these work out for me (I'm not usually allowed to do crafts involving "carving," so don't tell my dad...)

And of course all of the hard to find curse ingredients need to be preserved and available for any patron in need, I love that these specimen jar candles also provide the first good use for cauliflower I've ever found. I also saved a bunch of random vases and glass items leftover from the yard sale to serve this function. More specimen ideas here.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

NOLA Costume Ideas: Vampire Hunters (Female)

WHAAT? TWO posts in a row? Might Heather be regaining control over her so-called creative life and actually accomplishing things again? Only if you count throwing up in various rainbow colors as an art project(tropical popsicles apparently contain a LOT of dye. Especially the blue ones. Also, Oreo ice cream sandwiches make everything look like the mean gray sky in a Harry Potter movie. In case you were wondering...)

Also, to quelle the fear on everyone's mind: yes, because I am irresponsible and have my priorities all askew, I am still hosting the annual Halloween Festival of Awesomeness. I assume a few things will change, and I'll probably make you all bring liquor (and maybe diapers), but the show will go on. Feel better? Good. Now get moving on those costumes!

So my original Halloween plan was to put together an ass-kicking vampire hunter costume, but since nobody wants to see a very pregnant woman fighting the undead (well, at least not in fishnets and spike heels) that plan has since been abandoned. Also, there is no chance of me squeezing into the leather pants and corset I had purchased in preparation (justified by planning to wear to both the Goth theme party AND Halloween...and maybe the GaGa concert), and somehow I can't justify buying another set in maternity sizing (though it is possibly, according to a quick google search of "leather maternity pants. Who knew?) But my loss is your gain, because now I give you all my blessing to come up with fabulous costumes for an army of angry vampire hunters, such as these great folks:

Let's start out setting the bar high, with some amazing self-styled slayers, like this steampunk version:


I went to high school with this girl, who rocks out amazing costumes for all occasions. No, seriously, she once ran a marathon dressed in a 1980's thong leotard over a full lycra body suit, ala Olivia Newton John. It was epic. And probably chaffed. If you're going to bare your midriff, it clearly doesn't hurt to have abs like hers either:

Vinyl isn't all that comfortable to wear, and can be quite noisy, so I don't know you'd be able to surprise any vampires in this outfit, but you'd definitely make a few jaws drop:


If you're not feeling quite so crafty, here's an "off the rack" version that's not too bad:
Spirit Halloween

There's always the "classic", Buffy. Here's what the official poster looked like for the original movie (let's not talk about the sadness that is the impending re-make):

If I were going the Buffy route, I'd probably go all camp - 80's cheerleader costume with lots of sharpened stakes. The Sarah Michelle Gellar Buffy was a little more serious, but still probably not that "recognizable" unless maybe you did a Sunnydale specific cheerleader costume? I'd just find a cheer outfit at Ragstock and iron on "sunnydale" letters, but if you want to be accurate, here's the best photo I could find on google:

Don't forget the gear:


There is a lot of room to customize your own vampire hunter costume:

- mix and match black, slightly sexy tops/pants/shorts/skirts/fishnets...take inspiration from goth, biker, roller derby, steam punk, dominatrix - whatever alter ego you'd like to "try on" for an evening.

- Then accessorize with all the vital "equipment" a hunter needs: stakes, crosses, holy water vials, garlic, silver bullets, swords, daggers...

- maybe carry your bronzed fangs as trophies and sport a few "battle scars" like bite marks and blood trails.

- Holsters, sheaths, and tool belts can carry all of your accessories.

- Don't forget some intimidating boots or deadly stilettos.

Overall this costume comes down to having a bad-ass-attitude. Your outfit doesn't have to be practical...just impressive :)

Happy hunting...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Mermaid Parade 2010

Oh Hello Internets, how have you been? I've been quite busy...avoiding you! But now that the proverbial cat is out of the bag, I can finally post some photos of our NYC adventure without raising quite so many eyebrows (is she supposed to be a mermaid or a WHALE?), and PERHAPS, if the nausea and exhaustion ever do subside, get back to a little crafting...

But first things first, NYC! While it was far from the most opportune time to travel, it was EXCELLENT to catch up with my BFFs again, share some laughs and some really great meals, and of course make some costumes. My original plan to make a fancy gown fell by the wayside due to budget cuts and a time crunch, and good thing since I ended up busting out of all my clothing the week before the trip. This, however, also meant I couldn't wear either the sundress or last year's costume as an alternative, quite the conundrum. In a fit of self pity as I wandered the aisles of our new Jo-Ann's store, a gorgeous embroidered Sari fabric caught my eye...and it was on sale! I scooped up 4 yards for about $20, and Burda pattern 8327 for an asymmetrical trumpet skirt (also 40% off):

I threw that all in my suitcase and presented it to Ryan, who turned it into a GORGEOUS skirt in about two hours:

Seriously, is that fabric not to die for? It's called "pistachio" and has gorgeous gold threads, I <3 it fully. And Ryan, the perfectionist, serged, pressed and sewed each seam so that I could actually wear this to a wedding or dinner with the queen, not just to a costume parade. I finished the look with two giant sequin appliques from the garment district that I basted on to a nude lace tank top (I sewed that part myself!) The combination of giant dinners + incubating the tadpole did threaten to bust the zipper by the end of the week, so please be kind...but the final product:

Wee haa! I wasn't quite brave enough to go bare under the lace tank, so I layered it on top of a nude tank top, borrowed the fabulous wig from Ryan's shop, and recycled the crown from The Queen of Hearts costume, which was PERFECT.

This skirt was MUCH easier to walk in than some of my previous mermaid attempts (especially a worry when dealing with subways, stairs, and crazed pedestrians), and I think it still definitely gave off the "mermaid" vibe without being completely literal (aka - hard to move in). The wig, eyelashes, and crown were a perfect balance of whimsy and glamour, I had a really fun time getting dressed up. How cute did we look?