Monthly archives of “November 2011

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Project : Thanksgiving

It’s become something of the tradition since I moved back from LA for Thanksgiving to be  the biggest home improvement weekend of my year. In my broke and workaholic state it was the longest “vacation” I’d take each year, so it was my (our) one chance at a big project.

In 2007, Scott, my bff Kim, and I stripped 3 layers of wallpaper and painted (all 4 coats of red) the master bedroom.


DSC01682 DSC01663


P1000743In 2008, we did the same thing to the living room.

In 2009, I embarked on one of several reorganizations of the spare bedroom which is totally just storage room.


Last year, we made Scott an office and I cleaned out and repainted the hall closet (seriously the first time in at least 28 years this had happened).












during after










This year, despite my best efforts (I was still planning on hitting up IKEA until about 8pm last night), the project is a little different. And probably A LOT less labor intensive.

Tomorrow morning we hit the road to Bucks County, PA to marry off Aimee

Keriann & Scott 0125 © Jimena Roquero Photography© Jimena Roquero Photography

Keriann & Scott 1075 © Jimena Roquero Photography© Jimena Roquero Photography


… and her crazy—I mean amazing—Dave. (I really just wanted an excuse to post this photo.)


Keriann & Scott 1132 © Jimena Roquero Photography

© Jimena Roquero Photography



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Style : Safety


In case you haven’t read Better in Real Life’s post about violence against women, uh, go do that and then come back:


Ok, hi again.


So last week I wore what I thought was a relatively conservative outfit to work:


On the way to the train, walking down my sleepy suburban main street, I got tailed by 2 20-something dudes in an SUV yelling things at me that I thankfully couldn’t hear. This is so uncommon blue that for a minute I thought I had dropped something before I realized what was going on.


Then when I was getting off the train in the city an older man with a glint of serial killer in his eye got all up in my face squeezing by (when there was plenty of room) and breathed, “hey sexy” at me so quietly I thought I was imagining things.


Later on, one of the crowd of random workers who hangs out on our office buildings steps attempted to say hello. It was actually polite, and he probably meant well, but by then I’d had it.


This day had me thinking in circles about women and objectification, and feeling threatened, and how white tights are apparently more sexual than black, and what exact level of dowdiness one must wear to be left alone. I thought about the models I see being gawked at openly, and sometimes approached and harassed. I thought about the women who aren’t so fortunate as to have things left at a gawk or even a grope. I thought a lot about how when we aren’t sartorially “asking for it,” we are still apparently deserving of it.


And mostly, I wondered how we can handle these situations in such a way that tells the perpetrator that their behavior is NOT okay, without potentially risking our safety in the process. Is this even possible?

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Style : Moratorium

Trying to squeeze massive amounts of post-honeymoon laundry back into my closet, resulted in some feeble attempts at an equally massive wardrobe purge.

Since the cold hard reality of having to bring all the crap we collected and brought to the wedding back to our house, I’ve been feeling purge-y. Most days I just want to throw it ALL out. These thoughts line up nicely with Operation Work from Home (more on that later), as the super scary final bedroom of crap needs to be cleaned out to make room for my office/warehouse.

BUT, and this is a big one—I know myself. And I know I, despite every tip I have ever read in a magazine, I will regret throwing out something and it’ll be crushing. And life will go on and all of that, but it will feel like a little piece of my heart ended up in the trash. I will end up crying over a coconut. (Yes, that has actually happened, but it’s another story for another day.)

Sooo…instead of tossing out all my clothes, I’m declaring a moratorium on buying new ones. I was bad last year, I had disposable income for the first time in a long time, I was able to pay for a wedding and a honeymoon and clothes and shoes and bags, dammit.


Except now there are other things I want more. Like some money in the bank. The missing pieces that will make our house complete—like a kitchen. Lots more traveling.

So I’m limiting my purchases to things I have been wanting for quite some time—like a sweater I almost bought 3 times on Swirl that’s now half price on Ebay, or things that are super functional and will improve my day-to-day life—like maybe some new winter boots.

My goal is to wean myself down to a third of my previous monthly spending over the next few months.

And ideally, shopping my closet will make me face up to what I do love and what I really, truthfully, would never ever miss.

And then it will look less like this…


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Weekend : Autumn in NY

Instead of rambling on and on about all of my issues, I thought I’d share some photos I took this weekend of Central Park.


Autumn has always been my favorite season, partially due to its color palette, but mostly due its demand that I stop and appreciate it because [unlike spring and summer], I am most decidedly NOT looking forward to what’s coming next.


Metaphor for life?1321125787764 1321127077141


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This is what insomnia looks like.


I’ve never had this problem before. I may not be the best at sleeping normally, but I’ve never been not able to sleep at all ever before in my life. I’m the person who can sleep just about anywhere for 12-14 hours at a clip. My cat naps are 4 hours long.


This is not to say I get to indulge in this behavior regularly. In the days and weeks leading up to the wedding I was averaging 5 hours or less a night. Therefore, armed with stories of post-wedding exhaustion, I was fully expecting these kinds of bad habits to backfire by the honeymoon. But what I was prepared for was too much sleeping, guilt-ridden lazy days on the beach with lots of naps.


Not adrenaline-filled, panic-stricken, lonely insomnia.


It started on the third night of the trip, just as I had concluded we’d escaped unscathed from the evil clutches of jetlag. At our secluded little house on a cliff face in a tiny village on the Amalfi Coast, we fell asleep around 10pm, much as we had the night before. Being on a geriatric sleep schedule didn’t bother me, because it meant getting up earlier and doing more during the day! Except then I woke up at 1am, feeling as alert as if I was waking from some kind of enchanted slumber.


So I read my book, which was just the kind of edge-of-your-seat-disaster-movie-thrill-ride to render it totally inappropriate for a relaxing honeymoon. And then it was 3am, and I finished my book. (The only one I’d brought with me!) With no TV, and the wine finished too, I started to feel a bit anxious.


This is when the noises started getting to me.


First it was the church bells which, ringing every fifteen minutes like literal clockwork, reminded me of exactly how long I’d been attempting to sleep. Then it was the remarkably persistent owl. Finally somewhere around 4:30am, after a solid hour of Angry Birds, and some reading of guide books which only deepened my panic about “how are we going to get things done if I’ve only slept 3 hours!, a rooster took over for the owl.


A fucking rooster.


I was disgusted at myself for being deprived of sleep by such aural monstrosities as church bells, an owl, and a rooster. Even the constant rush of the river down the valley to the ocean had gotten under my skin. (As well as the kids playing soccer and whinnying horses that later bothered me during a daytime nap.) Put me next to a freeway and it serves as a free white noise machine, but play some mountain village noises and I become a city girl losing my shit.


This pattern repeated itself on several nights throughout our week there, and as some days we had actual plans, I did wind up running on 3 or 4 hours of sleep. Not a great recipe for a relaxing honeymoon. It’s continued on and off since we got back, leaving me lying awake with racing thoughts about things I *have* to do the next day that aren’t generally all that important anyway.


In fact, according to Martha Beck (can I just say that I love Martha Beck) in November’s O Magazine, I have all the symptoms of burnout:


Me Pre-Wedding: “Driven: You’re working flat-out, in a non-stop blur of accomplishment. You feel you can go on like this forever! You can’t!”


Me Between Wedding and Honeymoon: “Dragging: You’re sucking up sugar and caffeine to fight fatigue…”


Me During the Honeymoon: “Losing It: You’re visibly tired, visibly plump (or alarmingly preskeletal), and perpetually grumpy. You lie awake nights, thoughts racing, longing for sleep. At work and at home, you’ve developed a charming habit of biting people’s heads off.


Me Post-Honeymoon: “Hitting the wall: You’re racked by aches and pains, gaining or losing weight, prone to temper tantrums or crying jags, hard-pressed to remember things like computer passwords or your children’s names.”


I don’t usually take magazine advice seriously, but I think maybe I’ll follow the steps in this one. Not surprisingly, it says to eat better, sleep more, exercise gently, and avoid sources of stress.


Anyone else ever take a relaxing vacation that backfired?