Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Whining for Rhino

So soon after I confessed that I sucked at something, I'm going to let you in on another secret:  I'm copying someone.  And I have a new obsession.  And these two things go hand in hand.

You see, my dear friend Lindsey tuned me in to a blog done by a young couple with great home decor skills (and a knack for cheap and easy DIY projects) called Young House Love.  Although I could probably not be further apart from this couple in taste, color palette, and spending habits, their design aesthetic really spoke to me in a few ways.  The main one?  I lack white in my life. 

I am a big fan of bold colors and jewel tones.  But this blogging couple is my polar opposite - the majority of their house is done in shades of white.  Given the zoo that is my house with four animals, one kindergartner, and one big Ryan, that's pretty much out of the question for me.  I love the look in theory, but for us it just doesn't feel functional.

But man oh man, do I love their white accents.  White animals, white bowls, white vases.  White is the new teal for me.  And if you know me, you know that's saying something.

Once I saw this rhino in their living room, I knew it was the perfect weird accessory for my house.  The blog credited the fabulous Z Gallerie for this spectacular little find.  Of course I called immediately (he was under $30!!), but the nice lady at the call center let me know that he was discontinued.  My heart fell.  I don't think I slept well that night.  I spent most of the evening on various sites trying to locate a similar rhino (for less than $3000, please).  This search went on for weeks and weeks to no avail.  I may or may not have called the Z Gallerie outlet about 100 times asking them to check for one.  They never would, it is against their policy.

I then decided I would do something I would never ever do.  Even my mom was shocked.  I decided to go....antiquing.  Yes, I said it.  I decided to go see if some old lady with a booth at a crap store bought a Z Gallerie rhino and then decided to sell him.  Or to see if there was a rhino of any color anywhere that I could paint white.  After subjecting myself and my family and friends to hours of perusing old glassware, records, and metal signs, I was still rhino-less.  [And I actually love antiquing, much to my mother's surprise.  I just wanted to sound cool all those years.]  I was starting to give up.  Maybe I would like the Betta fish?  Maybe I would prefer a Buddha?  But no white rhino for me.

Enter Ryan.  And please remember when I told you Ryan is good at getting people to give him things.  He became a fan of Z Gallerie on Facebook, then posted on their wall informing them that I had been searching everywhere for this rhino and that he needed one.  They responded in 12 hours, telling him that the YHL rhino was discontinued (as was their newer version) but that they had tracked one of the newer rhinos down for him.  Less than 5 days later, I found this little gem boxed up on our front porch at lunch:

Oh yes.  Be jealous.  That's my white ceramic rhino.  His arrival was exciting enough for me to text coworkers and tell them I would not be returning to work that day.  I simply wanted to stare at him. 

There was great debate in the house as to where "Ryano the Rhino" (name courtesy Rlowe) should call home.  But for once the hubs won and he sits proudly on the dresser in the master bedroom where he watches me sleep and is completely out of the way of small children, goofy boys, and clumsy people.  Ginger is the only risk I see here, so fingers crossed she continues to be afraid of the decorative sticks behind him and keeps off the dresser entirely.

So what do you think?  Great conversation piece?  Love the quirky decor?  Fine for me but not for you?  Or just plain hate my rhino?  You know what, I don't care.  I'm literally obsessed with him and there's nothing you can say to convince me otherwise.

Now's the time to give HUGE props to my main man Ryan for hunting down the rhino no matter how weird he thought it was.  Love you!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Things I Suck at: Finishing a Room

I hope this does not be come a new segment here on the Lowe Down, but here's how I'm feeling:  I stink at home decorating.

I'm really good with picking a paint, painting the room, getting the big stuff like bedspreads, art, couches, etc. done.  It might not be a universal taste, but I do have taste and can be true to myself when starting a room.  However, once the big art is on the wall, the linens are on the bed, the shelves are hung...I lose steam.  Every.  Single.  Time.  The finishing things in a room are what make the room special to me.  They make a space feel full and "done" rather than "college kid just moved in."

This is the part I stink at.

Case in point:
Shelves in master bedroom
I got a great start on these shelves in our master bedroom.  These doves were a steal at Arty Crafty ($11 for the set) that I got for our dresser several months ago, but once they got replaced by a bigger ceramic animal on our dresser, I knew they would go well on a shelf somewhere (a story for another post).  I found the shelves in black at Bed Bath and Beyond and spray painted them a nice antique white.  The vases I collected as I went from various home decor stores, and the topiary was another Arty Crafty aquisition.  But now, I'm stumped.  I need one or two more things on that bottom shelf and I can't for the life of me figure out what needs to go there.  Picture?  Canvas?  Vases?  I keep thinking I'll know it when I see it, but so far, nothing.

Shelf in the master bedroom
Another case in point.  This shelf in our master bedroom actually looks pretty done with a vase, candles, art, and picture of the princess on it.  However, look at all of that glaring wall space underneath it!!  I need some kind of bench with pillows on it to go under there, but I haven't found the perfect bench for the perfect price yet. 

And finally:
End table in living room

Nope, I'm not ready to fully reveal the new living room to you yet - and here's why:  Finishing.  There are about three areas of the wall and both end tables that need that special pop to make our living room complete.  I promise I'm not going for a minimalist look here, I just can't find the right final touches.  Right now it looks like "oh wow, you're getting there!" but I'm ready for it to look like "oh wow! it's done!"  That could be never.  When is a room really complete anyway?

I'll gladly take thoughts and suggestions if you have any ideas for the spaces in the pictures I've shown you!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I don't know at what point you're actually a "runner" but...

So I gave in to peer pressure.  I picked up a habit I said I'd never get. 

Yes, I started running.  I know, you think I'm crazy.  But everyone, and I mean EVERYONE around me runs.  All my life I have been much more of a walker.  I like to walk the dogs, I like to walk to the fridge, I like to walk at the mall.  However, come spring, the elliptical was not cutting it in my quest to get swimsuit ready for the annual family trek to the beach.

So I very quietly began running.  I started very slowly, 1.5 miles was my long run.  My average pace was about 12 minutes.  And I hated every living second.  I really only talked to close friends and my dad about it.  Through my running, my dad, who used to run a bit when I was younger, picked the habit back up as well.

It all started really slow.  I ran in my regular old tennis shoes, my old softball shorts, and t-shirts.  And then I discovered a new type of shopping:
A whole world of pink I never even knew existed!!  One pair of hot pink Nike Tempo shorts and I was hooked.  Pretty soon I was at Fleet Feet getting fitted for shoes and running in 5ks.  And the weight started falling off.  And so did my bank account as I kept adding Nike gear - one pair of shorts isn't enough when you run 4 times a week.  Or like pink this much. 

And no matter what anyone tells you, the clothes and shoes make a huge difference.  You cotton t-shirt wearers can tell me mockingly that I "look like a pro" as much as you want, but I promise you wish you had on Dri-Fit. 

And now I'm up to nearly 6 miles a week in my long runs, am about 10 lbs lighter (YES!), and am training with Ryan for the Dallas White Rock Half Marathon in December.  And as for my dad?  He's lost over 20 lbs and is still going strong.  We all plan to run the Little Rock Half together next March. 

Your key takeaway from this post should be that anyone, and I mean anyone can start running if I can.  There are definitely days I hate it, but I love the results and the way it makes me feel.  I'll keep you all updated on my progress - hopefully in December I'll have a victory post!  Or I'll confirm that I am actually crazy for thinking I can run for two hours straight.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Tailgate Tentgate

If you know my other half, RLowe, at all, you know he is a guy who loves to tailgate.  For years, and I mean years, my man has been hounding me for a 10x10 tent to aide in his beer-drinking, Baggo-playing pre-Razorback game festivities.  I have looked, in season and out, to find a good deal on a Razorback tent for him to no avail. 

A few weeks ago, while on a trip to Wal-Mart intended to be focused solely on kindergarten shopping for the kiddo, Ryan and my dad happened upon a large section of Razorback tailgating paraphernalia.  The previously $200+ dollar tents were down to just $120.  Being the mean wife I am, I said no way dude.  It's kindergarten time.  And who needs a tent to play Baggo and drink beer??

Then yesterday, on a jaunt to Wal-Mart again, we came across this:

No really.  Ryan found the tent for $75.  Now is the time to tell you that Ryan is the best in the world at talking people into saving him money.  He could talk someone out of their last dime.  This week he talked AT&T into giving us 1/3 off of our bill.  I don't know how, I don't ask.  But he can do it.  Of course the day he walked into Wal-Mart tents were almost 40% off!

 I couldn't say no to $75 of tailgating tenthood.  That's like under $10 per game we will be going to this year.  But of course, a tent is not enough.  Not when there are Razorback folding chairs that are half-price.  So 4 Razorback folding chairs, one tent, and two packages of Goldfish (why we were there in the first place) later, I had this look on my face:


You should know, I went back to Wal-Mart today to get 2 more chairs, and the lady told me that they are no longer $9.  She said it was a mistake.  Further proof that Ryan is good at getting random deals.   I'm sending him to Wal-Mart without me to go get them to let him buy them for $9 anyway.  I'll let you know how he does.  And now that we have a tent - come tailgate with us!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Meet The Pets: The Ginger Edition

And now, for the long awaited second edition of the Meet the Pets segment here on the Lowe Down [To catch up on the Meet The Pets that you missed, click here for Lola].  Buckle up, you're about to meet the cat that takes crazy to a whole new level.  Please meet Ginger Gene Lowe.

No really.  That's probably the best picture I have of her.  I want to you really get a feel for her personality.  We got Ginger in the fall of 2006, about 3-4 months after we got Lola.  Lola was so wonderful, who wouldn't love a second cat?  Enter the Geeg.  Miss Ginger Gene (Ginger for the orange tabby coat and maybe a South Park reference by Rlowe that I didn't catch until much later; Gene is my grandma's middle name and it kind of flowed) was rescued from Death Row at the Fayetteville Animal Shelter just a week before her number was up.  Maybe it would have been more humane to let them go through with it. 
You've never met a more distrubed cat in your life.  Her sweet side is really great - she's snuggly, she lets you hold her all the time, she actually meows and wags her tail at you when she sees you, she stands up on her back legs to get your attention, her purr sounds like a freight train.
But then there's the other side.  To help me explain the crazy side, let me attempt to list the things that upset Ginger:
  • towels
  • sponges
  • pillows
  • cardboard boxes
  • blankets
  • things out of place or that have changed position
  • sudden movements
  • the cat crate
  • Lola (every once in a while)
  • Landry (all the time)
  • new people (not just new people she's never met, new people who haven't been to the house in the past hour)

Any one of these things triggers Ginger's fight-or-flight reflex.  She prefers flight, which involves hissing, scratching, and spitting as she darts across the floor to the nearest bed or thing she can hide under.  We have all had deep wounds from holding Ginger when a trigger of her fear was around.  Not pretty. 
The fight reflex is more fun to witness.  Basically, she approaches the object, slaps it with her paws until she has beaten it into submission, hisses and spits at it, and then lays on it.
These nicely folded towels waiting to be put up incurred the wrath of the Geeg before they gave in to her.  
Ginger also gets lost a lot.  Not lost outside (yet) thank goodness.  [Neither of our cats is allowed outside, and yours shouldn't be either.  Read more about that here.]  But she does tend to dart out the back door, so we have to watch her.  More frequently, however, Ginger gets lost in the house itself.  Like shut in closets or the laundry room.  When I haven't seen her in a while, I usually tear the house up calling her name, only to find her sleeping in the floor of my closet and looking up at me like "What the heck is your problem?"  This triggers a small wave of rage from the husband, who frequently wonders why we spend 10 minutes tearing the house apart looking for a little dumb 7 pound cat who won't even come when we call her...but then he starts getting worried too until we find her. 
And sometimes, we don't find her.  Sometimes we give up, resign ourselves to the fact that she must've slipped outside, and begin to make plans for having pillows and blankets around again.  But then she walks out, looks at us like we're the crazy ones, and hops up on the bed to go to sleep.  Only to hiss and spit for a little until the pillows give in.  Again.

I'm back, bitches

That's right, ladies and gents, your (least) favorite blogger is back on the map.  I took a hiatus from my strenuous posting habits, and I'm refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to tell you almost everything about my life.

When we left each other, it was late winter.  Since then I have picked up a running habit that has lead to dropping a pants size and training for a half marathon in December, become a co-volunteer coordinator for the Humane Society of the Ozarks, redone half the house, and will be mommy to a kindergartener TOMORROW!  Yikes!!

Thoughts on the new layout?  Is it me or what?  Animal print, check.  Pink and teal, check. 

I can't wait to update all three of you who read this and know me well about the changes I've had in my life in the past six months that you already know about!  And, as promised, I will very soon be posting the Meet the Pets:  The Ginger Edition.  Maybe tonight after my little kindergarten baby goes to bed.

So get excited!  It's blog time!!  See below for requisite cute pictures of Alli Bree.

Alli with her adorable kindergarten teacher Miss Mendoza
Alli getting her nails done before she starts kindergarten
She got flowers painted on them!!