Tag Archives: the picky girl

Fridays at Home: Lazy

10th August 2012

So every morning after I let Maddie out and start getting ready, she climbs back into the spot I left, sometimes not even moving when I make the bed. Her half-open eyes follow me as I get ready, and mostly I feel she barely tolerates my noise and movements. Her look says, “I am only quiet because I know you’ll soon be gone, and I can sleep.” When I kiss the top of her head as I leave, she rolls over and stretches, feigning some sort of activity before I walk out the door. It’s always such a cozy scene, and most mornings I stare a bit jealously at her and wish I could kick off my shoes and join her.

Well, this morning, I will crawl right back in beside her. My co-teacher and I realized we each had floating holidays we had to use before the end of the month. Since we only have a few days between the summer session and fall semester (which we need to prep for classes), we decided to take a day off. Yea!

On the agenda:

  • First and foremost, sleep late.
  • Read lazily in bed (one of my favorite things to do).
  • Cuddle Miss Maddie.
  • Go to the gym! (I love going in the morning. Such a treat.)
  • Meet my mom and sis to go visit my grandmother.

Other possibilities for the rest of the weekend:

  • Paint the garage (holdover from last summer…it didn’t happen).
  • Fix the lawn mower and take care of the yard. It currently looks like a jungle.
  • Touch up paint on baseboards in the living room.
  • Paint the dollhouse.
  • Gather stuff for yard sale.

Ahhhh. Can’t wait…at least for the first list. ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope you guys have a great weekend! What’s on the agenda?

Fridays at Home: Clutter Control

27th July 2012

I’m going through a phase. This phase makes me want to throw out everything in my house and start all over. I love my stuff, I do. But right now, I just feel cluttered…in mind and body. Ever since I got back from New York I’ve been in a funk. Partly it’s not having another trip to look forward to. Partly it’s because I really loved being in the city. Partly it’s because it’s super hot and steamy outside. Regardless of the cause, all I want to do is clear out stuff.

When I came across this post on Brooklyn Limestone, I decided I’d start small. I go to the gym almost every day of the week. This results in lots of jewelry and hair changes throughout the week. I was finding bobby pins and earrings all over the place! The side of the tub, on the corner of my small pedestal sink, on my bedside table. The blogger from Freckles Chick made a really cute two-tiered jewelry stand. Like her, I have go-to jewelry. My grandmother gave me a beautiful jewelry armoire for Christmas several years ago, and it houses all of my jewelry, but it isn’t ideal for every day. So instead of insisting I would get better at putting my jewelry away each day (at 31, let’s just say that’s wishful thinking), I decided to make something to fit my life.

As is often the case when I’m looking for something, I went to Marshall’s. I knew whatever I got, I wanted to paint gold like the blogger did because I love that matte gold and knew it would match my room perfectly.

I found this great little bowl and loved that the base was much smaller. Space is a priority on my vanity, so I didn’t want anything too large.

Plus it was on clearance for $2! Can’t beat that.

I laid down the tissue the bowl was wrapped in and got a can of Veg-All to balance the bowl but still allow me to get at the edges. I’ve painted enough to know that if you just set it on something, the edges will stick.

I used the gold Bright Coat Rust-Oleum. I looooove it. It also dried really quickly.

This picture shows the sheen from the gold spray paint. I kind of want to paint everything this color.

And here’s another shot of it next to my antique perfume bottles and lotion.

So far, I love it. It’s made it much easier to just take off my earrings and toss them here when I change for the gym or get ready to head into the shower. Plus, I don’t have to hunt every available surface to figure out where I left my ring or earrings. It saves time! So for a project that cost roughly $7 (and I have plenty of spray paint left), I’m pretty darn happy. ๐Ÿ™‚

Have you made any small changes that had big impact? I’m all ears. And what do you do when you feel cluttered?

P.S. Plus, now I have a place to put my super cool necklace from the best pen pal ever, Julz. I don’t want to take it off. ๐Ÿ™‚

Comfort Reading

10th April 2012

I hope you guys had a great weekend. If it was anything like mine, it was busy busy busy. My students are beginning a big research project and had an annotated bibliography due. I had a rush editing job. There was church to be attended with the fam. And massive quantities of food to be eaten yesterday. All that to say, by yesterday evening, I was exhausted. Like, in bed at 8 p.m. exhausted, but I gave up sweets for Lent, which WHOA. So I think having dessert and eating meat (which I normally do only rarely) made for a not-so-happy stomach.

I grabbed Ian Rankin’s latest book, The Impossible Dead, and read for hours. My history with Ian Rankin: I adore his writing. I know I’ve mentioned it before, but when I finished my Master’s thesis and didn’t want to write anything ever again (fail: I started this blog), I turned to Rankin’s Inspector Rebus series….and promptly fell in love. In fact, Rebus probably deserves his own “Series Obsession” post. That summer after graduation, I read every Rebus novel and probably not much else.

Rankin ended the Rebus series in the last novel of the series Exit Music, and I was kind of devastated. Ok, a lot devastated. So when Rankin wrote The Complaints a couple of years ago, I knew I would pick it up but was determined I wouldn’t love it. I didn’t. In fact, I didn’t even review it because it just. wasn’t. the same. But that isn’t Rankin’s fault. I can’t imagine how difficult it is to follow up such a well-loved series. So, last night. The Impossible Dead. It’s a sequel to The Complaints, and I was glad to come home to Rankin. So happy I stayed up most of the night to read it, start to finish.

What struck me, after this long, long, long-winded introduction was Rankin’s ability to pull me in to his narrative and make me feel at home. It’s not even something I think I can articulate all that well. The prose is clean and clear but without bells and whistles, but there is an elegance to the writing and to the characters that I love.

Because this is a new series, I know it isn’t the characters that feel so familiar, though. Unlike the Miss Silver series by Patricia Wentworth, it isn’t the promise of the same names coming up. Rankin is also not formulaic, and I don’t want to imply that by saying “comfort.” Mac and cheese is a comfort food, but I don’t really go in for the Kraft Mac & Cheese. Homemade, though, I’ll take any day.

So what are the characteristics of a comfort read:

  • Familiarity – this might be the writing, the characters, the author, the setting, or the genre.
  • Engagement – even if it’s your absolute favorite author, if it isn’t engaging, it won’t work

And I kind of think, for me, those are the only two qualities I’m looking for. What do you think? Are there additional requirements for a comfort read? And what are the books you turn to for comfort?


P.S. Have you heard about the Independent Book Blogger Awards? It’s on Goodreads, and it’s a contest for book bloggers to win a trip to NYC and Book Expo America. The Picky Girl is on the list, and if you like the blog, I’d be honored if you’d vote for me and the blog. Thank you so much! tpg

Fridays at Home: Well-Done Mantels

30th March 2012

Last Friday, my friend Jacob called me to go vintage shopping with him. The different shops around here know us by name, and we kind of love it. ๐Ÿ™‚ His boyfriend’s sister and her two girls were coming to stay with them all this week, so they had to spiffy up the house. They bought their house about 7 months ago, but they’ve been busy, so we needed to kick it in gear and put some finishing touches on the living room. One of the key spots: the mantel.

Putting together a mantel is no walk in the park. Next week, I’ll detail what we did to come up with the end product, but in the meantime, I just wanted to show you some pretty stuff because well, it’s pretty outside, and I wanna, that’s why!

I usually see 3 types of mantels: overdone, underdone, and holiday style. Seriously. There are tons of pictures of holiday mantels on Pinterest and the web. But really interesting mantels that make you want to look at each individual piece and wonder where it came from? Not so much. So soak up the inspiration and get ready for next week when we’ll talk about how to put together a great mantel.

Click on any of the pictures to visit the original link.

This first example via Real Simple is just about as perfect as can be. The painting is fantastic as are the two small frames and sea artifacts. But the hoop off to the left of center makes this arrangement for me. It acts almost like a magnifying glass, and I’m in love.

This image is via the blog Sweet Something Design, and I really like it as well, though the large circular mirror is wearing me out. I see it all the time, and unless it’s an antique, I prefer something with a bit more character. However, I really love the small painting and the symmetry of the candlesticks and the branches. It’s not too similar, so the interest is still there.

First of all, can we just take a minute and drool over this mantel from Real Simple? My Domino book has a similar one, and each time I see it, I want to swoon a bit. The arrangement itself is not my favorite, but I really love an obsessive collection. This is certainly a case where 3 is good but 30 are better. ๐Ÿ™‚

This little piece of heaven is from Country Living, and to me, it is just beautiful. Of course, the fresh flower thing only works if you have an English garden out back or some dough from some rich British relative (I don’t know why British, this just looks British to me).

See – this mirror has character. Of course it does. It’s from Lonny magazine. The mirror is old fashioned and has the nautical look to it with the concave mirror. The candle holders frame the mantel, and the oddities on top are interesting – tincture bottles, a small dressmaker form, a statue. It’s really quite beautiful.

This mantel is so fresh and lovely. The greenery in the vase on the right adds color but also height and a bit of messiness to the very organized, well-arranged items. Groups of three work nicely, as in the candles on the left, and that gear is just fantastic. I want one.

PS – Did you spot the lovely globe beside the chair?

This last one is from a Crate & Barrel catalogue, and I almost didn’t include it because of that. But it’s so well styled, and again, the hoops are really unexpected and beautiful. The small frames and photos tucked here and there are fantastic as well. Layering is key, as we’ll talk about next week, and this mantel does that so well.

Happy Friday, loves. What are you doing to relax this weekend? Whatever you do, keep calm and pretty up your house!


A Little Book Told Me So…

24th March 2012

I am so very excited to bring you the newest feature here at The Picky Girl: A Little Book Told Me So. You send in your questions (anonymously if you choose), and we’ll see what bookish advice we can come up with just for you. Don’t want to leave a comment? Just email thepickygirlblog@gmail.com. Chime in each week if you have advice of your own or just want to commiserate.


Dear Picky Girl/Bookish Advice Giver,

My son, age 27, is a college graduate but has been unemployed for a year and living at home for three years. (Unfortunately, he was a journalism major.)I have been accused by Dad of enabling him and just recently told Sonny that he has to start paying rent on 4/1/12. He sits at the computer from 11-5 every weekday, but what he actually accomplishes is uncertain. Any advice for me?


Too Nice Mom


Dear Too Nice Mom,

Oh honey. This one stumped me until I realized what you really need. You need a swift kick in the pants. A soft one, maybe with the house shoes your man child is wearing while you’re working. This is as much about you as it is about Sonny. Have you read Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City? This doesn’t sound exactly like you, but maybe it will make you laugh a bit:

Mom, I’m not coming home.

Mary Ann, you can’t just…run away from your family and friends to go live with a bunch of hippies and mass murderers!

You’ve been watching too much TV.

Ok….then what about The Horoscope?


The Horoscope. That crazy man. The killer.

Mom….the Zodiac.

Same difference.

You have the opposite problem. No worrying about The Zodiac. Your son’s home and under your care. He’s home, and it’s nice to still have your family together. He’s home, and the laundry piles up, and he’s playing Oregon Trail or Doom all day on the computer. He’s home, and suddenly the refrigerator seems to have a faster diminishing return on milk. The thing is, that resentment… “he sits at the computer from 11-5 every weekday, but what he accomplishes is uncertain” will eventually take over your relationship. For your relationship and for your husband’s (and your own) sanity, give Sonny his own kick in the pants. He’s on the computer all day? Bookmark monster.com and Hot Jobs.

Plus, maybe he needs some help. Unemployment is rough. It’s depressing (thus the mind-numbing computer all day), and it can be super hard to motivate yourself when you’re not seeing any results. Hand him the book Drop by Mat Johnson, about a 31-year-old who finishes college and goes on a crazy ride to find a job he loves. Tell him his job is finding a job. Sometimes that requires a little footwork. Set up a timeline for your expectations regarding his independent living situation *clears throat* end date of crashing at Mom and Dad’s.

Mary Ann, at one point in the book, decides she’s going home to Cleveland. She’s made a mistake in San Francisco, and that mistake glares at her, and she gets down on herself and wants to pack it in. You’re Sonny’s Cleveland. You’re safe, but as Mary Ann’s friend Michael tells her, “You’ve got to make things work for you. When you’re down to the seeds and stems, get out there and grab life.”

Simple as that, Too Nice Mom, and I promise you can let him do that.

ร‚ย ร‚ย  Hugs and Air Kisses,