Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I'm feeling a little overwhelmed this holiday season and I'm not exactly sure why. I was really starting to get excited last week while r.s.v.p.-ing to parties and coordinating cookie baking with the kids. But then something happened and now I am procrastinating. I'm supposed to be planning our Thanksgiving menu as I type and shopping on my lunch break (oh, and working. Today is a work day). But I just can't bring myself to look through recipes. So instead I created this list thinking it would help jump start me into getting ready for Turkey day.

I got the idea of placing all of my grocery items into categories from my favorite chef, Ina Garten. It proves very efficient when at the store. And added more categories in the extra space to help organize all the other tasks that are usually involved when grocery shopping. Like dry cleaning, post office, etc. I hope it helps me get my butt in gear, or else we will be eating frozen pizza instead of a Thanksgiving feast.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Music Monday: The Human Thing

I love The Be Good Tanyas. If you look at their web site, it describes them as groovy, bluesy, bluegrass women. Perfect description. This song is one of my favorites to dance to. It's off of their last album, Hello Love. I wish they would make another album and go on tour. I would be there in a heartbeat.

The video is made from thousands of drawings by an artist out of New Mexico named Kate Brown. I can't imagine how much time it took but the finished product is amazing!

Get up and dance, I dare ya!

Monday, November 16, 2009

No design blogs for me for a long, long time

Or I'm pretty sure this will be our first and last anniversary we celebrate as a happy married couple. Let's just say Markus does not share my enthusiasm for home projects and decorating. He tolerates a few here and there, but I think I have crossed the line. I met him at the hardware store this morning for what has to be the 10th time in a week (5 trips were in a 24 hour window) to buy some trim paint. And as we were saying our goodbyes he told me this is the last time he is buying paint for this house and I had better like all the colors. Markus does not use strong words often, but when he does I know I better take notice. I love you, babe!

Ahem, so it all started last weekend with an idea to wrap up the upstairs project we started last February. We needed to paint the back of a book shelf, hang a few items I purchased at IKEA last spring, and spruce up a (very) small bathroom. This included taking down wallpaper, painting, and replacing brass fixtures with brushed nickel. Sounds fairly easy, right? No construction or major renovating involved. I won't bore you with details but let's just say it sounded A LOT easier on paper.

This snowballed into projects in almost all rooms of our house and a lot more trips to the hardware store, contracting my mom and her husband for some painting and carpentry projects, and my dad for some plumbing issues. Lesson to learn for future opp (other peoples projects): Have a game plan BEFORE you start, write a comprehensive list of what you will need from the hardware store, and most importantly finish one room before moving on to another. However, I have a feeling if we had done all of this before starting Markus would have said no. Isn't there a saying "it's better to ask for forgiveness than permission"? Please forgive me, babe!

Late Wednesday night, after painting for 5 hours, I had the idea to get out of town for our anniversary. We both needed a break. Markus especially since he has been home 24/7 for the last 2 weeks. My mom had no choice offered to stay and watch the dogs while they finished the dining room. So we packed up Saturday morning and headed to Charlottesville. It was perfect and much needed. We came back a little less stressed and ready to finish what we had started.

Thank you to my wonderful husband who has tolerated all of my ideas over the last few weeks. I promise to cool it, at least until after the holidays ;) I will even do all of the holiday decorating while you are out of town so you don't have to see any boxes or put up the tree. What a deal!

p.s. I can't wait to share all of the renovation details on the blog once we finish. Before and after pics to come...

Manic Music Monday

This song pretty much sums up the last few weeks around our house. Ahhh, the 80's :o)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

One Year

I can't believe it has already been one year since our wedding. The memories of those two weeks are seared in my memory, and I hope they always will be. I remember the day we left for Jamaica like it was yesterday. We headed down before our guests so we could have a few days to ourselves. I remember the rush of excitement I felt at the airport as I waited with our bags while Markus parked the car. I kept thinking "when I come back to Richmond I will be Mrs. Hakkarainen". I carried my dress on the flight, something I'm sure they see all the time. But the flight attendant still made a fuss over me and I was so excited to tell her we were going to Jamaica to get married. She congratulated me and at the end of the flight made an announcement to everyone who the brides were on the plane. There were 3! So. Much. Excitement.

One year later and I am still excited. Excited that we found each other and were able to make it to that beach with all of our friends and family to witness our vows. Excited because we have had such an amazing first year together. Excited about what the future holds for us. And excited to grow our family and grow old together.

I have so many memories of that day but I think Tisha, our wedding photographer, sums it up best in this video she made for us. We watched it this morning and it put a huge smile on my face. Her photographs will always be there to help fill in the gaps when memory fails. And for that I am forever grateful. Thank you, Tisha!

Happy 1 year anniversary to my husband. You are more than I ever dreamed for. I couldn't have asked for a better family and best friend.

Now, on to the baby making (JUST KIDDING!) :o)

Thursday, November 12, 2009


As usual a little late. But better late than never. I have been experiencing technical difficulties with our Flickr account so it took a few tries to get the pics for this post updated.

Sooo...Halloween. One of my favorite holidays. I've never thrown a Halloween party so I thought this year would be a good time to start with all the kiddies in our life. Just about every one of my friends has a kid and what is cuter than kids dressed up on Halloween? Nothing!

Cute Yoda I am
Cute Yoda, I am
Suzi offered to help host the party since her house is kid friendly. And, they had an awesome swing set installed just days before the party. And, Suzi ended up doing most of the leg work because I had a paper due and Markus' surgery days before. She planned a great menu and all kinds of fun games for the kids to play. It worked out really well, for me at least. Thanks, Suzi!!! ;)

The party itself was a lot of fun but seeing all the kids in their costumes was great. We had 16 kids and 28 adults. And lots and lots of cute costumes! (can you guess why Halloween is my favorite holiday?)

Princess Brynn Princess Brynn
The real Spider Man The "real" Spider Man
Baby Emma Emma the Black Cat

And the only best family costume at the party, the Fatigantes from the 50's.


I had so much fun at the party that I wore myself out and didn't go out for the grown-up version of Halloween. Oh well, maybe next year!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

World Champs!

In case you haven't heard, the NY Yankees won the World Series last night. Which apparently makes them world champs (even though the mlb is national?).

Either way, Markus is one happy kid today and I get my tv and couch back!

Go Yankees!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Read this book!

This is a little deep for a Monday but it's something that has been weighing heavy on my mind for awhile. Last night I finished reading a book that I had picked up this summer on a whim and it really stirred something inside of me. The book is called Same Kind of Different As Me and was written by Ron Hall and Denver Moore. It's a book about an unlikely friendship between a wealthy art dealer and a homeless man and the woman who brings them together. The story is amazing in so many ways but what really spoke to me was the honest way Ron Hall tells his side of the story. How he is so honest about his prejudices and stereotypes of homeless people in America. How he thinks he is above them and is doing them a favor by lending his time and bestowing his wisdom and christian ways to them. And in the end, it is Denver Moore, the homeless cotton picker from Louisiana, who teaches him about life. I wish everyone would read this book and see the world through Denver Moores eyes.

I work in a neighborhood that has a large population of homeless people. I have passed them everyday for the past four years on my way to my office. I know their names, I know their stories, and I know they are good people who have had harder lives than most of us will ever know. I see how people pass them like they are trash and it disgusts me. I have no respect for humans who do not treat other living beings with care and compassion, no matter their differences. There is no such thing as someone below you or above you. Only someone different. And Ron Hall and Denver Moore are the shining example of this.

Go read this book! And the next time you pass a homeless person begging for money or a bite to eat, take a look at them as a person rather than an annoyance. Maybe say hello and ask them how they are instead of telling them to get lost. It means so much to the men out on the street that I say hello and bring them leftovers or clean clothes every once in awhile. It's not much, it isn't going to change their lives. But it does let them know they are worth something. And self worth is a lot to someone who doesn't have material belongings.

p.s. - If you live in the Richmond area, I am still collecting clothing and non-perishable food for my guys on Second Street. They really appreciate everything I have collected so far and it puts a great big smile on my face when I see them in clothes I have given them. Warm clothes/blankets for winter would be greatly appreciated!