Perfectionism: raises you up or holds you back?

I always get this super-weird-uneasy feeling when I'm about to hand over something creative into the care of someone else to finish... I can count on 1 finger how many people I would trust to do a project the way I would do it, and that finger is pointed right back at me. This isn’t a post about why I am so great, but more of a realization that I need to let go of some things…

It all started in 2003 when I needed to get my architecture student portfolios bound in college. I was headed to three big interviews and I had designed it all on the computer, printed the five copies at 10 minutes per page, both sides, and I left them in the care of some girl that was eating freaking Cheetos at the counter in Staples. She seriously had orange fingers and was cleaning them off when I handed her my immaculate printed and cut pages that were to be bound. That should've been my first clue. 

She bound them on the side of the page that was meant to be turned, the OPPOSITE side that I wanted the binding on. She messed up two of them before she realized her mistake. Luckily, there were still three left that she could bind on the correct side but there was still nothing I could do about the other two. This left me no spare copies; one per interview is all I had. That was 2003, ten years ago almost to the day and I still get a little heated when I think about it. 

My most recent service industry mishap happened yesterday. I gave a custom embroidery place two oven mitts to embroider as part of my friend‘s wedding gift. They did a really nice job, the letters looked perfect, and they used the right thread color, but the initials were upside down on one of the mitts. I even taped a piece of paper with the direction of the initials to it, but I have no proof of that. I just have to accept it the way it is, and it is wrong.

This is why my husband gets so frustrated with me, I am a perfectionist and I demand perfection so when I don't get it then it is a major letdown. It is one of the biggest reasons that I insisted on making pretty much everything in my wedding from invitations to my garter. To this day I still cannot get something spiral-bound at a print shop without my stomach being in knots assuming that they are going to do it wrong. Why is it that it is more of a surprise when someone does their job correctly then when they screw it up? 

I just have to assume that this is the sad state of the world and the type and quality of people that are living in it. I am a measure three times cut once type of girl, I drive 45 minutes to get my haircut because I can’t switch, I hate change, and my dad raised me this way. The thing about this part of our personalities is that people cannot stand to work with us sometimes.

My dad almost drove my then boyfriend, now husband, insane when they were installing a bathtub in my condo. My dad measured, looked, thought about it again, put it in, took it out, measured it again, and then cut it, and the whole time Steven was crawling the walls. He's a jump in with both feet and look later kind of guy. This is an important quality for a person to have in my life because at times I can be very slow at making decisions, especially the ones that count, but the worst thing that one can do is rush me.

I do find that this mostly has to do with design items that are related directly to me as I don’t really have this problem with clients. If I am actually the one making the item and the decisions involving it, I know that if it does not come out perfectly I will not be able to give it to that person without redoing the entire thing until it is absolutely spot on. The thing about this condition is that the flaw is usually so minor that no one else will notice, except me. Even if I don't have to look at it every day I will still know that it is there. 

The bright side to this whole condition is that my friends like coming to me to help them design stuff for their house and/or event. I have designed countless invitations, blankets, programs, logos, rooms, etc. for people because I feel like they trust my work, and that means something to me. I feel really good in knowing that they feel comfortable asking me for my help, and I love to give it.

Now, I will have to give these potholders to my friend, with one of the initials stitched upside down from the other, and live with it because there is nothing else I can do about it. I hate when the fate of my project is in the hands of someone else, and this is something I'm just going to have to learn to get over as we embark on my biggest project of all time, building our own house. There are SURE to be some meltdowns over this one…



Here is an excerpt from an article here.

Try A Caffeine Nap.  
Breus recommends trying a short caffeine nap (or as he calls it, a "napalatte"), that can leave you feeling extra energized afterwards. Quickly drink a cup of coffee (slightly cooled, of course) and take a 20-minute nap immediately afterwards. The caffeine will kick in right after you wake up, leaving you feeling mentally sharp and refreshed. 

I have unknowingly done this before... and it is amazing if you have a hard time getting back up from said nap like I do.

You know who else is good at naps?!? 

My dog. :)



Product Review | Maybelline Rocket Volum Mascara

Product: Maybelline Rocket Volum Mascara
Grade: B
Cost: approx. $7.00
Color pictured: Brown Black
Bought at: Target

Ok, I am not really sure how I feel about this mascara. I liked everything about it (the brush design, the color, and the way it held up throughout the day, etc.) until I tried to wash it off...

I did not just just do a rinse it off with water either - I used a makeup remover before I got in the shower, then I used facial cleanser while in the shower and this is still what it looked like when I got out and looked in the mirror. Before I stepped in the shower it looked like it was all gone from my remover, obviously some lingered. The second picture is after I wiped it off with a tissue...

Having this crap on my face bothers me since I do have very sensitive skin when it comes to acne and breaking out. I also don't want to over-wash my eye area and dry it out because that just sounds like I would be asking for wrinkles at that point... but what is the solution?

The jury is still out on this one. I think it is likely that I will continue to use it until it is gone and try to learn the best way to remove it, and then maybe just not buy it again? It holds up really well throughout the day though... I think I know why now - because it is impossible to get off!

Weird thing is that this particular tube is described as the 'washable' one. I would hate to see the product that one would have to use to get off the 'waterproof' one! Paint thinner?


Pet Peeve of the Week

If I email you a list of three questions... please don't email me back with a response that only answers the first one.

That does two things for me; one, it makes me think you are too busy to read the entire email thus leads me to question your thoroughness and if I should be doing business with you in the first place...

and two, it forces me to spend additional time and email you back the SECOND two questions, again, hoping for a response to both this time.

Please stop doing that. Thank you!


Dog Hogger

This is the photo I used to show my husband the reason that I require at least two french bulldogs - one white and one black.

How adorable is this?

So far my attempt has been unsuccessful, but I will keep trying. :)

[for the record, this is a heinous chair... I would prefer something more like the below Barcelona Chair in my duo doggie photo sesh.]


G-mail? more like G-enius!

This is a fun new tool I inadvertently found while using my Gmail this morning... No, I did NOT mean to send that email yet... and thanks Gmail!

Gmail; helping people remember to attach their files since 2013.


KB + Jeff - Then Comes Marriage

Bald Head Island, NC is such an amazing place, unlike anywhere I have ever been. Because you have to take a ferry to get there, the main mode of transportation on the 4 mile long island is a golf cart. It is safe, quiet, and so beautiful here.

Sunrise shot from the morning after on the ferry back to the mainland port.

 It was the perfect weekend for a wedding and a wonderful start for my good friend KB's life together with her now husband Jeff. I am so happy for them!

My favorite shot of the groom with the glow sticks is below. I cannot wait to see the pictures from this, they were used in the wedding couple send off because fire works, etc. are not allowed on the island. I loved it!!!


It's Wedding Season!

Headed out for our first of 4 weddings this summer! Very excited to see everyone and the beautiful location. Cheers KB & Jeff! :)


Decorative Taxidermy

My favorite thing that I have added to my office has got to be my white faux deer head. I bought and hung it last fall, but only now do I really realize how great of a choice it was! What started out as a joke, all of my male coworkers are hunters and fisherman and they have their deer heads proudly on display in their offices, turned into quite a conversation starter.

I found it on fab.com and the more I thought about it, the more that I knew I just had to get it! It wasn't super cheap, but it has been worth it for the countless conversations that it has sprung when people visit my office. It also fits in very well with all my white accessories! I am in love. :)

... now, for a name...

I think Bucky! It is a take on the famous architect Buckminster Fuller, and it is a buck. I think I am soooo punny sometimes.


Photobook Site Review

I love making photobooks of our year, and I do it every year! The process of actually creating the album helps me to reflect on the recent past and relive those memories, and then I preserve them all into just one 12x12 printed book from Shutterfly.

I stopped printing my digital pictures a while ago (unless I am just updating my picture frames around the house), because I found that I wasn't doing anything with the photos once I got them. I have quite a few boxes and stacks of pictures from the past (when they had to be developed) that I never go through... Turning them into actual photo albums take up so much room and are so plain if you just stuff them with pictures without any explanation or order.

Scrapbooking them also takes up a lot of room and a ton of time, but it looks so much better that way! The papers, stickers, and fonts make your pictures look much more special. One problem though, I do not like to physically scrapbook.

I know that sounds weird coming from me, an avid crafter, but I really just don't like having piles of pictures and supplies and tools lying around to design a page on the fly. I like to see my page before it is created so for me, that and using a computer to design, then the instant gratification of getting it in the mail; digital scrapbooking was the way to go.

Although I use Shutterfly and am very happy with my choice, here are more review for other sites from thedailydigi. Shutterfly does not pay me to endorse them, it is just my own opinion. Or rather, it is the site that I started with initially and to me it seems kind of disjointed to spread my digital photos out all over the universe - having one central spot seems the smartest and safest thing to do.

Here is my process below:

  1. Actually take photos during the year... seems obvious, but sometimes I forget!
  2. Keep your pictures organized. I have a "pictures" folder on my hard-drive that I download all of mine to. I separate them into different folders with the date (year first) and quick description. For example: 121225 Christmas Time
  3. At the year's end, go through all of your folders from that year and copy/paste them into one folder called 2012 Best Pictures.
  4. I then upload that entire "best" folder online into my Shutterfly account. That way, whether I use them in my album or not, I will still have them saved online incase of a fire or tragedy where I have the potential to lose all my photos. At least I will still have the best from each year saved digitally for myself.
  5. Don't stop at pictures! If you have something really cool that will enhance the page like an invitation, tickets, or sketches, scan those in too! 
  6. Choosing a new layout design is the tricky part. Since I am doing an entire year I need many different themes so I usually just go with the design that is the most generic of their new designs. I like to have a different looking book every year and I can see that I am definitely getting better! I have been creating books for the past 5 years.
  7. While looking through the photos and transferring the ones I want to use in my album, I make a mental note (and sometimes storyboard my pages) of the events I want to showcase on one page, a 2 page spread, etc. You can do this feature within Shutterfly as well.
  8. Then I create the pages in order in which the events occurred. I add the dates and quick description or anything I want! It is so easy to just type and click and change things this way.
  9. Don't rush, there is no "due date." I have taken up to a few months to finish off my book to get it just right. It is becoming a piece of my history. I sometimes create it and let it sit in my projects folder within Shutterfly until a sale comes. I don't think I have ever paid more than $40 bucks for a photobook... and these things can be hefty - some at 50 pages or more!
  10. Don't worry if you don't read them all the time. If you are like me, knowing I have them and being able to reference them when I want to or go through them with my baby nieces gives me piece of mind that I am documenting my history and doing it well.
Through my research I found that there is a site that will turn your blog into a photo book... maybe I will try that one day!


Ocean Isle Here We Come! [plus a dessert recipe]

Headed out to Ocean Isle Beach, NC again this weekend for a bachelorette party! I am very excited for my third trip here in just a few months time. I love this place, small community, laid back, and really fun. I would love to own a house here someday!

This weekend is all about hanging out with my girlfriends though. Can't wait to catch some rays and relax after quite a long week at work! These are the moments we live for...

I made an amazing dessert dip to share for the weekend! Last time we came here I made a dessert dip and it went over very well. Everyone thinks to bring vegetables and hummus and crackers and cheese, but this is a bachelorette party and we need some chocolate! :)

I made it last night and tried it before chilling it all the way in the fridge and I think I could have eaten half of it before throwing up from the richness of it all. Here is the original recipe and how I modified it below:

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dessert Dip

I doubled the below because there are 10 of us...
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, room temp (do not use no or reduced fat)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips

  1. In a small saucepan, melt the butter with the brown sugar over medium heat. Stir continuously, until the brown sugar dissolves.
  2. Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla and set aside to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and confectioner's sugar until smooth.
  4. Slowly beat in the cooled butter mixture and beat again for another minute. It is OK if the butter mixture is not thoroughly "cool" just don't have it piping hot.
  5. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  6. Pour into a serving bowl, garnish with chips, and refrigerate.
  7. Serve with Nilla Wafers.


Kitchen Outfitter

Shopping for used kitchen equipment can be a fun, albeit smelly, job.


'Juicy J' - the 'J' is not for Joellen...

I never felt older than I did last night... I was walking past the Music Farm in downtown Charleston around 8 o'clock pm and there was quite a line coming from the door. They were mostly hipsters, both white and black, and all very young (20-23 years old)...

I said in my coolest, youngest voice, "So, like, who's playing tonight?"

The young girl with a mini-skirt on and long straight brown hair under her beret replied, "Juicy J."

I said back, "Oh, awesome, he's great, have fun!" while thinking to myself that I have no clue who 'Juicy J' is, that I hope that he is actually a man since I said the word 'he's', and as I briskly kept walking to my car to go home because I was tired from working all day and I am old and kind of sore from playing kickball the previous night.

I feel so out of it. There was a time in my life that I was really into new music and going out on Tuesday, but at 31 I more prefer happy hour (which is where I was), getting home by 8, walking the dog, changing into sweat pants, and watching Revenge.

I don't think there is anything wrong with that, since it is what I WANT to do, but there is just something about growing older that young people don't understand; people don't actually change. We still want to feel cool and fit in, wear the right things, be at the right places, and have true friends and meaningful relationships. We can still feel hurt because we're left out, frustrated that there is not enough time in the day, and excited when something amazing happens. It is just about different things now.

I heard about a contest Disney was doing... "Your mom can win a trip to go see 98 degrees!" and then there are women screaming in the background... 98 degrees, huh? Your 'mom?'... I am old enough to have children? I would assume they are targeting my demographic since I was in high school when they were popular... but wow, seriously, some things never change.

Or maybe they do change a little bit and look waaay hotter as as adult than an adolescent! [referring to 98 degrees of course.] :)

Back to my post...

For those that may also have to look up who 'Juicy J' is, he is, in fact, a man! and quite gangsta at that... what were all those hipsters doing there? Or is that just a buzz word for what old people call young people? haha


The Lucky Ones

I know that the factory collapsing in Bangladesh happened a couple weeks ago now, but it has been weighing heavy on my mind for a while. Only now do I feel like I can express my feelings into words although the emotions I am feeling within are a bit darker than I can say. If ever a thing can happen to make me feel grateful for what I have, it is a tragedy like this.

I read the story and felt horrible for what had happened, especially in my field as an architect. Shoddy construction work lead to the collapse of a large factory and over 1,000 deaths of humans have been tallied so far. A THOUSAND. Keeping everything cheap, the factory building itself, the pay for those who work there, the conditions they are working in; it's all so I can get a shirt for 5 bucks from a big box store here in America. Some people think that their lives are worth less than ours... some people can be so wrong.

The story made me sad, but it wasn't until I saw the much talked about photo from Taslima Akhter of the last embrace of one couple that I became physically emotional. I just can't post the picture here because it is too powerful, but since it went viral you can look it up on your own if you wish. Just know that it is a shot of a man and a woman, deceased, in a hug and clinging, literally, for their lives before they were so senselessly taken. I immediately starting crying uncontrollably when I saw it... A picture really does say 1,000 words and it lead me to so many questions I have about God and the universe and humanity and life and...

Why are we, as Americans, the lucky ones? Why do I care so much about having a nice outfit to wear to a wedding this summer? I run the water for at least 30 seconds until it is warm so I can wash my face at night. I feed my purebred french bulldog a grain free diet. I got rid of my last car because the air conditioning went out. I am an American, and not even the worst of us either - I also turn out the lights when not in use, recycle, combine my errands into one to save gas, volunteer my time to those who are less fortunate...

I can't help but think of the tributes and stickers on cars, and memorials, and lawsuits filed of the 9 Charleston firefighters that lost their lives a few years back. All of that over 9 people. Does that make me seem heartless that I wonder why we did all of that for 9 people here while I wonder what they will do for over a THOUSAND people who died there? Can you imagine if that happened in the United States? It is unfathomable. The stupid lawsuits in this country are ridiculous. The sense of entitlement, the fear that people will sue you over slippery floors or hot coffee or even making the wrong weather predictions?

This story will definitely make me think differently before I start to complain about the temperature of my office next time. At least I know it will not collapse on me.


Cinco de Mayo

This is what I did for the 5th of May... the chips came with amazing homemade guacamole and conversation from a great friend.

Yes, that is EXTRA tequila in the inverted lime in my margarita. I called it a "front loader" for my drink since a little bit tips into each of your first sips. It was a strong delicious margarita full of fresh squeezed limes and oranges, none of that store bought sugary yuck.

I would give you the recipe but I can't recall it... I think there was Grand Marnier in it as well...

I love celebrating a Mexican holiday where a small group of Mexicans defeated the French a really long time ago that they don't even celebrate in Mexico as much as Americans do... I would say it was worth it to have a reason to day drink in 2013. :)


300th Post!

Very excited to accomplish yet another milestone. Here's to the first 200, this hundred, and the next! Thanks for reading about my opinions, hopes, dreams, and projects - I hope to bring you more randomness in the coming years!


DVR to do

I get this strange sensation when my DVR starts to get full - like it has somehow become a "to do" list of sorts. I really need to get over this because watching tv is not something that I want on my checklist of things that I need to "accomplish" as there are SO many other things that I need to get to first.

And forget the things that need to get done like gardens to be planted, houses to be cleaned, and errands to be run... there are things I would much rather be doing like hanging out with friends, shopping in the city, and date night with my husband... as if I need this looming DVR to do list and the threat of the recorder getting "almost full" hanging over me?