Image Attribution

(Owlet header image found via a Google Image search, and came from Etsy artist Bestiary Ink)

31 October 2011

Photo Project

Does anyone remember this lil' project? Well, aside from my regular updates du nerd, and one other submission, there hasn't been much action. Until now! Yay, Emily! Wanna add your photo/book to the collection (you do, I know you do)? Send it to me (hellerms [at] gmail [dot] com). And now... here's Em, and what she's reading now!

27 October 2011

What I'm Reading Now: October 27, 2011

I actually started this one yesterday, but I forgot to post an update. Good thing my trusty new Goodreads widget (on the right-hand side of the ol' blog) is working!

So, I guess first I'll say that I did not mean to read three books with WWII references in a row. I don't have any sort of unhealthy fixation on that time period - it just happened. To that end, I also didn't mean to pick two WWI-related books (Unbroken and Sarah's Key) in a row for my online book club--that was totally accidental. But interesting (at least to me) is that all three books speak to aspects of WWII history about which I knew very little until reading these. Unbroken is about the Pacific war that took place between the U.S. and Japan, and specifically, the American POW experience in Japan. In my in-between book, The Pleasing Hour, which is not actually about WWII, the mother of one of the key supporting characters was shamed by her actions during the War, an experience that shaped both her own future and that of her daughters. That book takes place in France, mainly in Paris and in a small provincial town called Plaire. I am embarrassed to admit that my knowledge of French action during WWII is also limited. And now I'm reading Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay, which also takes place in Paris. While I've only just begun reading, this story is already grabbing me by the throat in terms of its WWII content. It takes place in Paris in both July 1942 and in 2002. In July 1942 the French Police, on German orders, rounded up thousands of Jews in Paris, including somewhere close to 4000 children ages 2-12. They were held in a sports stadium before being taken by train to Auschwitz. The 1942 part of this book tells the fictional story of a little girl who was rounded up during this stain on France's historical record, the event called the Vel' d'Hiv'. The 2002 part is told from the perspective of an America journalist living in Paris who is assigned the task of writing about the Vel' d'Hiv' for its sixtieth commemoration. Something about these two threads will clearly overlap. Another story that handles a part of this many-fingered hand of history about which I know little or nothing. I'm intrigued and hooked, though already, just under 60 pages in, I'm very sad reading about it.

Have you read anything lately that you think would make a good discussion book? Our online book club (linked above) is scheduled through January, but I'm looking for titles to add to our monthly reading list for what will be our second year (!yay!). Suggestions are always welcomed!

25 October 2011

Chain Linked

So, I pinned this image from the BaubleBar blog about five weeks ago. I love the piled-up, chunky, chain-ey bracelets. It's been repinned nearly 40 times. I think other people like the piled-up, chunky, chain-ey bracelets, too.

This chain-link trend is taking off left and right. It's popping up in all forms of accessories, from bracelets to necklaces, from pricey to DIY. I love it. What about you? Do you like this look, or hate it? And if you like it, would you splurge on the goods, find a good knock-off version, or attempt to make your own?

Here are a few other linkey-like items along this trend line that I've pinned or pined over recently (and check out my Accessorizing board on Pinterest for other finds):

(via this blog)
(via Piperlime)
(BaubleBar: 1, 2, 3 (and even more chain link love over at BB))
(Some Forever21 options: 1, 2, 3)

And how about some DIY tutorials:

(Necklace tutorial via Everybody, Everywear)
(Nut bracelet tutorial via Honestly... WTF)

24 October 2011


Spotted out the office window... Just two buddies enjoying some outside time on a beautiful day... I wonder what's down below there...

Just before they got up, I spied them resting out there - human was reading on that deck chair; pup was sleeping in the sunshine at her feet. Jealous.

Making Things

I know my posts have been a bit scattered lately, and inconsistent. My apologies. Feeling a bit all over the place and just trying to get my feet back to firmly set on the ground. To that end, I am committing to some creative productivity. I need to indulge my creative side, as well as my need to grasp onto some semblance of control and accomplishment. So, in addition to a chandelier makeover I've been imagining in my home, I'm also going to take on two small, and easily completable DIY creative jobs.

1. Mason Jar Soap Dispenser
I saw this on Pinterest recently and totally loved it, and therefore pinned it onto my "Do This" board. There's a great little shop of vintage homey goods and random salvaged bits nearby where we live. It's called Roost. One of their big ever-growing collections is original blue-glass Ball jars, so I decided I had to give this a try. I went over a couple weekends ago and scoured the collection for a good one with a top in good shape. If I succeed, it'll go in our second/guest/public bathroom and I'll go back and get another one and make one for the kitchen. Tutorial from Blissfully Content:

2. Earring-to-Necklace
Don't you hate when you lose one earring without realizing it? Just out and about during your day? Or one breaks and then who knows what to do with the other? This has happened to me too many times to count, and sadly, it's almost always a pair that carries some meaning that gets separated. Last week I was running out to grab a bite at lunch and saw this guy on the ground. I picked it up and tucked it away and I am thinking of getting a cool chain and making a necklace out of i. The front is interesting - not stunning at all, but interesting:

I actually like the back-side better, though:

So I'm thinking about doing something over the "front" to make it white all over, and then featuring the current "back" as the charm in my make-over piece. Hopefully whoever has this guy's partner isn't too sad over her missing bauble... I'll put it to good use, or at least try to.

Any creative projects on your agenda?

21 October 2011

What a Difference the Sun Makes!

Sorry for the office-view pics from my phone camera, but look how bright and lovely the sunshine makes this city!

and even an itty bitty hint of the lake...

Makes one almost forget it's about to get seriously cold up in here!

Happy weekend! Enjoy some pretty weather!

19 October 2011

Get It While It's Hot!

'Member the fixation I had with k.slademade clutches, etc.? And then I ordered mine (this one), and I LOOOOOOVE it. Every time I take it out for a spin, it gets lots of compliments. It's delightful. The pattern makes me smile, and that's worth a pretty penny in and of itself, if you ask me. Of course, since I pulled the trigger and made a selection, I have fallen in love with nearly every other clutch and second-guessed myself several times over. AND, Kelsea has created several new lovelies that just make my fingers twitch toward my wallet like a fiend. Consider these:

 Don't you love/want/need them all?! I love the pop of neon on the zippers of the blue and cream clutches, and the rich coral hue of that last one. What a fun way to keep the warmth of a season-gone-by in your wardrobe!

But guess what... she also makes some crazy-awesome accessories that are equal parts fun, sassy, and stylish. Feast your eyes:

(all photos via k.slademade on Etsy)

I love them! Don't you?! Don't you want them?!

Well, now you can grab 'em up! k.slademade is offering 15% off accessories (that's the bracelets... and there are more styles in her shop) with the code KSM15 good through midnight tonight! Go over there and snag yourself something, you deserve it! And while you're there, pick me up a clutch or that yummy tote. Fine, get it for yourself! Be that way.

18 October 2011

Sweaters, Scarves & Soup

It's cold. It's happening. I'm not happy about it.

All I can think about today is warmth, because I lack it. I've had soup for lunch two out of two days this week (both soup servings have been delicious, btw). I think I'm making corn chowder for dinner tomorrow night. Soup is cozy. Rather than dwelling on how I'm cold, and therefore require layers upon layers to create the sensation of warmth, imagining coziness is better, no? So here it is, an homage to the cozy warmth of sweaters, scarves, and soup. How do you keep warm?

Soft, Cozy Sweaters:

(1, 2, 3)
Fun & Snuggly Scarves:
(1--via, 2, 3)
Yum-Delicious Soups:

Here's a post from say YES! to hoboken, with links to recipes for 6 fall soup recipes that will warm you up from head to belly to toe. Nothing says cozy like a hearty bowl of soup, if you ask me! If I'm feeling successful, I'll post pics and a recipe for my corn chowder later this week. It's LITERALLY the best corn chowder on the planet, but this will be my first time attempting it myself...

(via say YES! to hoboken)

17 October 2011

What I'm Reading Now: October 17, 2011

First of all, if you haven't read Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, I highly highly recommend it. It's non-fiction, a genre of which I'm not usually a great consumer, BUT. This one is a game-changer for me, non-fictionally speaking. First of all, it's a story, not just a retelling of history. And second of all, its subject of focus is one that I didn't know very much about, in spite of knowing and always hearing much about the surrounding history. It's a World War II story, but not about Europe, and not about the Holocaust. It's about the Pacific war waged between the United States and Japan, and specifically about the experience of Ally POWs held captive in Japan. The people come to life, and their stories feel like your grandfather's stories - you just feel so connected to them that it feels like you know them like family. At least, that's how I felt. Most importantly, though, it's just a completely compelling conveyance of a dark period in world history, with a beautiful spirit of humanity to bring it out of the bleakness. I could not put it down.

And then I finished, and I was sad that I was done. So I've picked up another book off my to-read shelf, and while I can anticipate that coming off such a good read, it will be difficult to get into another book quickly, this book has promise... I'm currently reading The Pleasing Hour by Lily King. I don't know where I got it, but it has a range of decent-to-good reviews on Goodreads, and it was honored as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1999). So, off I go. What are you reading?

13 October 2011


I guess this is just going to be a mostly nerdy post week. I'm okay with that. I hope you are too. I threw in some scarves and news (fine, news is nerdy) for a twist, but it is what it is. It's good for you!

Over on my (our) other project, Home Sweet Schwab, my husband and I are getting ready to tackle some more home updates to our painfully out-dated condo. We did a couple of major renovations in the past year (kitchen; floors), so though we need to overhaul both bathrooms, we're in a saving-for-that phase, and therefore have to do some lower-budget sprucing-up jobs in the meantime. Right now our focus is on the second bedroom, which currently serves a guest room, office, and storage space, and definitely needs some life zapped into it. This weekend we're painting, but I've also been thinking hard about decor and arranging (I have a Pinterest board dedicated to this space over here).

One of the first things I think I'll do after painting is move in some bookshelves. I have some short, 3-shelf, very basic ones from Target currently residing in our living room. I am thinking I'll replace those with taller, 5-shelf, sturdier ones out there, and move the shorties into the guest room. I have way too many books and other doo-dads, plus blogs and Pinterest only give me more and more ideas about creative shelf-styling with non-book items, so I need the real estate. Anyway, one investment I'd like to make for said shelves is bookends. I've never had them, but I've always admired and desired them. From the formal and traditional or academic to the whimsical and sentimental, I just think they're so neat! Here are a few I've found along the way. What do you think? Yea or nay on bookends? And if you answer 'yea,' then I'd like your help in selecting some!

(via Amazon)
(West Elm)
and then of course...

(Barnes and Noble)
Those owly guys inspired me to do an Etsy search, and holy moly, there are so many adorable owl bookends... and bookends in general!

I don't know what it is about bookends that draws me to them. Maybe its a little Old World flair, a dream of a grand library room in my future fantasy home, or something else, but I just find them so appealing. Nerdy, yes. Delightful, yes also! Don't you think?

12 October 2011

Lumberjack Chic

Really into these plaid scarves from Target right now... a simple way to butch up an outfit, eh? And by "butch up" I mean, add some lumberjack to a look in a chic, sophisticated, modern way. And since they're from Target, you can look "today" affordably! Lumberjack Chic? Win Win.

11 October 2011

Think Good Thoughts!

Exciting news prospect on the wires... Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced that a deal has been struck with Hamas for the release of St. Sgt. Gilad Shalit, held captive for over five years... According to the wires, Netanyahu says Shalit should be returned in days. Abducted at 19, little has been released or known of Shalit's fate or condition since 2006. This photo was released last week:

(via Google Images)

Shalit's captivity in Gaza has been a cause taken up by people all over the world, and vigils, marches and rallies have been held to draw attention to his case internationally. In 2010, tens of thousands of Israelis marched with the soldier's family over the course of 12 days to raise awareness and demand attention, and his parents have spent many days in a tent outside the gates of the prime minister's home. The government has been under pressure to arrange for Shalit's release, and deals have fallen through in the past. However, earlier today, Netanyahu apparently phoned his parents to announce he was making good on his promise to bring their son home.

Of course, until he is home, he is still a prisoner. So... please think good thoughts. Bring Gilad Home!


(Disclaimer: all this copy is my own, based on my own knowledge following the case, and reading reports from news stories and wires online. I did no reporting - articles linked above are my sources for this post, which I do not consider an article. My concern for Shalit's safety is based on my compassion as a human being, not on any political position or national identification.)


a little uninspired today, so no long post... just one beautiful photo I found while trolling around online...

(via here)

10 October 2011

20 Books in 9ish Months

A Quick Summary:

Gun, With Occasional Music - Jonathan Lethem
Bamboo People - Mitali Perkins
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night - Mark Haddon
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Annie Barrows
Cutting for Stone - Abraham Verghese
March - Geraldine Brooks
Breathing Underwater - Marie Darrieussecq
The City & The City - China MiƩville
If Today Be Sweet - Thrity Umrigar
Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
A Visit from the Goon Squad - Jennifer Egan
Tinkers - Paul Harding
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks - Rebecca Skloot
Olive Kitteridge - Elizabeth Strout
Room - Emma Donoghue
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - Betty Smith
The Motel Life - Willy Vlautin
A Short History of Women - Kate Walbert
The Other Side of the Bridge - Mary Lawson
The Borrower - Rebbeca Makkai

(Books tracked via GoodReads, as well as, recently, this project here on the blog.)

What I'm Reading Now: October 10, 2011

I finished The Borrower last week and started up on Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand. This is the October book for my virtual book club, Reading Without Borders. I had been waiting for this book to show up either on my Paperback Swap online, or on my hold list at the library, but it hadn't, so I decided to suck it up and buy a copy - it was already a week into October, and this is a long book! There's a great little used-and-new bookshop behind my office called After-Words. I popped in on a lunch break and when I told the man who greeted me what I was looking for, he got a very pleased look on his face and proclaimed that 'boy was I in luck.' Sure enough, someone had just dropped off a used copy that day. It hadn't even been shelved or priced yet. Winner.

In other nerdy news, back in January I set myself a goal via GoodReads to read at least 20 books in 2011. As of last week, I've met my goal and am actually five books ahead of schedule. Nerd: OUT.

07 October 2011

Blame -- Nay! Thank -- Canada!

Okay, that was a silly title. I know. BUT a) it's Friday, so give me a break; and b) that was a good South Park reference, so it wins.

It's good to go into the weekend with a healthy perspective, right? I mean, since the weekend is the only time I've allowed myself to eat desserts (weekends and special occasions, the latter of which there are, it's smart to think healthy, fit thoughts going in. That's what I always say, anyway. Actually, I just made that up, but it sounds good to me!

Well, this comes to us courtesy of Divine, Canada's online magazine for women (but really by way of Pinterest). This "Exercise Finder" is a tool designed to help you (women - guess this is a ladies-only post) target specific areas of your body with exercises for that area only. You just click on the body part you want to strengthen and tone, and it'll provide a plan made up of specific moves to Check this out (All of the images I've used in this post are screen shots, and so, are not click-able, sorry.):

How cool is that?! You just So, say, and let's just use this as a hypothetical -- no personal sources of inspiration here... necessarily -- you want to focus in particular on your thigh region (I picked the thigh region because no woman hates her thighs... right?)... you click on that little "button" on the any-woman-avatar's quad, and it'll give you a list from which you can narrow your choice even further:

Thighs? Inner Thighs? Outer Thighs? Quadriceps? Hams? Pick the one you want, and then you get this:

And that's just a small sampling - there are three more exercises on this first page, plus note there are two more pages of exercises just for this muscle area.

Anyway, I just thought this was a cool resource, and figured I'd pass it along. I've already bookmarked it on both phone and work computer. What do you think? Cool or lame?

Have a great, healthy, active weekend!

06 October 2011

Mastering Indian-Summer-Wear

I'm trying to enjoy every last drop of this week of Indian Summer here in Chicago. News reports are already torturing us with the "warning" that ours will be the worst winter in the country this year... Jerks. I don't know how to prepare mentally for that. I almost wish it could have been a surprise. Instead, I'm already starting to panic about my likely turn as a recluse in the months ahead. Not good. But NOW. NOW it's warm and delightful. That magical bit of warmth and sunshine that taunts you with the memory of summer neatly set in between cold spells. I'll take it. If this is the winter I throw up my hands and give up, then I'll suck the life out of these last yummy-warm-happy days.

But I feel weird dressing summery when it's October, you know? Like, it's warm, but it's just warm-er. It's not summer again. It's fall. Just a bit of meteorological comic relief to help us out, but still fall. I think I got it right (or at least acceptable) from head-to-ankle, but I think I went too summery with the footwear, and I knew it when I put them on, but I didn't really have the *right* fall/Indian Summer shoe, so I just went with it.

(Please forgive: a) my beautiful background of my office; and b) my aging rock star (aka Richie Sambora) hair... that's another story for another day...)

(Also, I mentioned the bracelet before here, and the shirt here)

But see what I mean? Too summery with the sandals. Maybe something like this would be more Indian-Summer-appropriate:
Or even something like one of these:

(Urban Outfitters)


What do you think? Which would have worked better for between seasons? How do you dress to fit these not-quite-a-season days?