Cheap Date Challenge #5

“Pick the best location to watch the sun come up or go down and, after consulting a time-table for either of these daily occurrences, rendezvous at the appointed time and spot with coffee and doughnuts or a thermos of soup and bread. Then settle into your front row seats for the big event.”

We are in Florida for the weekend. These are my old stomping grounds so I plan to get up early on Sunday morning and take Clark out to the coast to watch the sunrise. He’s going to be sorry he isn’t a coffee drinker when we are up and out that early, but as my dad
always says, “There’s plenty of time to sleep when you’re dead.” Ha!
Do you have anything fun planned this weekend?

“City” inspired

Now I’m not usually one for wildlife themes, but I could get inspired to design an entire room around one of these Nick Brandt photos.

Clark and I are in two weddings this weekend in two different cities in two different states with our two dear children in tow….. Lord have mercy. We were preparing the music for one of them last night when we came across some of these Brandt slides set to the Sufjan Stevens’ version of Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing on YouTube. Perhaps it is a bit unusual to pair wildlife photography with an 18th century hymn, but that is our Sufjan… unusual. We were curious and stumbled on this re-edited version of the ” Stranger in Moscow” video directed by Nick Brandt. He removes Michael Jackson from the footage and follows the story line of the other characters set to Gorecki’s Symphony No. 3. Beautiful. I encourage you to spend five minutes with this and become inspired today.

BABIES the movie

Thomas Balmès’ BABIES is a Focus Features release that follows four children from Namibia, Tokyo, Mongolia, and San Francisco through their infant and toddler years. The result is truly fascinating. As an American mama, there are a few scenes to which I audibly gasped– a crawler in a goat pen, African villagers nursing each others children, a rooster in a newborn’s crib. There is no dialogue in the movie, but I found myself laughing and crying and wanting to wring a few mother’s necks as at times it seemed they were carelessly putting their children in harm’s way, exposing them to danger and disease. But then the scene would change from the Namibian child with his hand in a dog’s mouth to the San Franciscan child in a 5-point harness being “dusted” off with a lint brush, and I thought of how “normal” in the parenting world is incredibly subjective and all the more so when you factor in a host of other cultural conditions.  If you are willing to keep an open mind, I recommend Babies to be added to your next Netflix selection. Once you’ve viewed the movie or if you’ve already seen it, I would love to hear your reactions.

As a side note: Several people have asked me about this months giveaway. You have until Halloween to enter to win a copy of our first CD The Surveil Project. Be sure to subscribe to my blog and to leave a comment. Happy Wednesday everyone!

Amped About Alliteration

The first time my husband and I saw this commercial, we  roared with laughter because I not only have an undying affection for post-its, but I am the queen of using alliteration to remember everything from changing the A/C filters to remembering to replace my loofah sponge. It must be a sign of something terrible that eventually someone will make pills for. I reluctantly shared my little memory tool with a friend yesterday and she said, “Oh my gosh, you have to blog about this!” So, Ginny…. this one’s for you.

Salina’s weekly to-do’s:


Sort mail, make deposits and bill payments, Mia’s laundry, weekly menu


Dusting and wiping all counter tops and surfaces and washing towels


Washing clothes for Clark and I, planning weekend family outing


Tubs and Toilets


Floors and food shopping

Saturday or Sunday —

Salem’s laundry

As if all of this isn’t bad enough… I schedule the dentist in December (and when we had a dog, he saw the vet in December as well), and I schedule my annual OB check-up in… yep….. you guessed it… October.

I could go on, but I suspect I may have already subjected myself to becoming the biggest laughing stock of the blogosphere.

What do you use to help you remember some of those important to-do’s? And don’t you dare say post-its!


You know that game called “Two Truths and a Lie”? I win that game every time and I’ll tell you why. I have a dad who has done just about everything a man can do for an occupation. For instance, whenever it is my turn, I like to pull out the old standards…

1. My dad is an aerobics instructor

2. My dad is a hot dog vendor

3. My dad is a military drill seargant

I’ll let you guess which one is not the truth, but lucky for me, this week’s Cheap Date Challenge was even cheaper because my dad is a nationally acclaimed pocket billiards player and as you know, our challenge was to do the following:

Cheap Date Night Challenge #4: “Sharks”

“Meet at a pool hall and pretend you are rivals from different parts of town. Hustle each other through several rounds of pool. The winner gets to decide what the next activity will be.”

I do hereby swear that the following information is verifiably true. Dad is currently touring the country as “The Drill Instructor.” His current stop is right here in Charlotte at Rack ‘Em Pub & Billiards. Dressed in full army fatigues– hat, boots, whistle, the whole nine yards– he spends night after night in pool halls teaching people how to play pool while showing them one heck of a good time. This is entertainment at its finest… I can promise you that. If you think I’m joking, click here. Wouldn’t you know that my dad called the owner of the local pool hall before we even got there and landed us free pool time and a free round of drinks. What a guy! It really does pay to know people.

In addition to stumbling across the best burgers in Charlotte at Rack ’em, we also discovered a few things about each other, which is really what dating is all about, right? Song after song played on the juke box to which Clark would share tales of his bar playing days as a teenager and how he cut his teeth as a guitarist. Metallica, Guns and Roses, ZZ Top– I didn’t recognize any of them– not a single tune! Why? While he was getting into under 21 clubs because he was “with the band”, I was raised among religious folk who frowned on listening to secular music, and therefore I completely missed an entire era of musical history. It’s embarrassing. So, I’ve had to learn fast being married to Clark. He found some loose change and left me with my burger while he loaded the juke box with some tunes that would better acquaint me with his musical past. Well, it would be only fair for me to choose a few myself, so I took a turn at the juke box to play a few songs that would remind him of me. Well, I didn’t realize that there was a line forming behind me as the only selection I had made thus far was “Brown Eyed Girl”. Next thing I know this woman behind me chimed in with, “Why don’t you pick ‘Crazy B****’? That’s a good one.” I quickly complied, because she looked a little bit…. well….. scary. Only after I walked away did it occur to me that she was probably trying to hurry me along in her own bar maid sort of way because the people behind me were getting impatient. So when Crazy B**** came on the juke box, Clark said, “This is the song you chose to remind me of you?” Yes dear.

I read an article that said psychologists believe that once a couple has children, they need to maintain at least 5 hours a week of exclusive “couple time”. If that’s the case, we’ve got some major catching up to do. Our weekly date night has done wonders for us as a couple already. We are rediscovering each other and we look forward to our “couple time” each week. We probably had more fun on Saturday night than at any date so far. I lost every round and therefore shamed my family name, but it was definitely memorable. Not only did winner get to choose the next date night, but they also got to have their picture taken with the Drill Instructor.

Cheap Date Challenge #4


“Meet at a pool hall and pretend you are rivals from different parts of town. Hustle each other through several rounds of pool. The winner gets to decide what the next activity will be.”

Are you kidding? I was practically born in a pool hall. Done.

Oh, and Clark’s rug for the studio arrived yesterday. Here’s a little sneak peak with mama’s little helpers…


Like I said before, I have officially crossed over to the dark side, as I am now the proud owner of an iPhone. I know. I know. Where have I been? That’s like saying we just got a colored TV. I may be the last person I know to actually come into possession of one. At first I made somewhat of a point of principle about it with my husband when he wanted one. I would say things like, “do you really need to be so accessible? Text, email, phone… such an invasion of privacy. That thing even has a location tracker on it like one of those dog microchips for crying our loud. Isn’t that a sign of the end times?” Blah. Blah. Blah.” There is the novelty of it for the first couple of weeks, which for Clark never really seemed to wear off, and I could not for the life of me understand why. He was so hooked in the beginning I casually asked him if there was an app called igiveitarest we could download. He was not amused. Well pride goes before a fall. My computer broke last week and there I am crying to Clark like a spoiled toddler and the words actually escaped my lips, “I need an iPhone”. Who really needs an iPhone? Someone really important like Timothy F. Geithner perhaps but not a stay at home mom who has a date with Thomas the train every day at 5:30. Nevertheless, my sweetheart heard the urgency of my plea, cashed in his free AT&T upgrade and gifted me with my very own IPhone. Let me tell you, I have not even had it for 24hrs and I know this much for sure; the iPhone is a multi-taskers worst nightmare. I’m texting, emailing, and blog surfing all while nursing Mia all while on a call with my mother listening to her talk about her freshly shampooed carpets. The only thing I’m not doing is resolving the federal budget crisis. The point is I completely get it now…. It’s like digital crack. I’m completely addicted. I have not quite gotten the hang of it yet thought. All day yesterday I was rejecting calls from Clark and butt dialing people. I’m so unfamiliar with the new ring, that I kept missing calls all together. While the kids were napping, I was text chatting with Christyn who is away on business. I made some completely inappropriate comment that I won’t bear repeating here. I pictured her in a very important meeting discussing some multi-million dollar merger casually checking her texts and laughing out loud in a room full of professionals before she could even help herself—like my friend who sends topless pictures of herself to her husband when she knows he is in a church all-staff meeting—shock value baby! Anyway, I sent this text and a few minutes later she still hadn’t responded which was very out of the ordinary. I was hoping we’d banter back and forth on that one for a bit. Wouldn’t you know I sent it to my pastor’s wife by mistake. Classic. It’s a good thing she’s my friend and that she has a sense of humor…. But like I always said, “If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen to me.”

Clark promised me a tutorial this weekend so I won’t have to keep learning the hard way.


It is way past my bedtime. 5:30 comes early, but I can’t help it. I stumbled across Adore, a new online design magazine from Austrailia. I LOVE these interiors…

Check out these spreads and you will see why I like to call it a “celebration of color”

Who wouldn’t be inspired in a space like this?

I want to experiment with framing wall paper. Covering an entire wall can get kind of pricey, but a framed square here and there achieves a nice effect.

You can check out the first online issue of Adore magazine here.

I hope you enjoy!

Sharin’ the Love

If you’ve read my recent posts, you know I am in studio design mode. I can’t wait to show you pictures of what we’ve done in Clark’s music room. In the mean time, I thought I’d share the love by giving away a copy of our CD, The Surveil Project. You can have a listen by clicking here. If you would like to enter this giveaway, make sure you’ve subscribed to my blog, and leave a comment below. In fact, after yesterday’s confession, I’m curious to know of some of your own project blunders, or at least those that gave you a good cry!

Nazi Neighbors

I don’t think any project is worth doing unless it brings you to the point of tears at least once. Take the studio for instance. I’ve cried twice in one week over it. We began with re-painting of course. Slapped some warm gray on the walls without too much difficulty…… so far so good. Clark has two pieces of actual furniture designated for that room– a  desk and a bookshelf. How hard can it be to spray paint a desk and a bookshelf? Well, three trips to Home Depot and seven cans of black spray paint later,  I had not only finished the furniture, but I was getting to know Lou from the paint department so well, I half expected him to invite us to Thanksgiving dinner. What these men must think when they see me coming in to Home Depot…. again…. with my 2 babies and a pony tail for yet another can of spray paint. “Here comes the paint lady again. She’s probably hanging around here hoping to find a daddy for those two children.”

We live in a nice neighborhood. It is beautiful and historic with luscious tree-lined streets. No two houses look alike and most of them are at least a century year old. We are surrounded by quaint shops, cafes, and pubs- people walking their dogs, mommies pushing strollers, and older couples hand-in-hand enjoying the end of the day on their porch swings. Most Saturday mornings, a race for a cause or a cure will take place right outside my front door– my neighbors, their dogs, and sometimes their kids, all smiles, running with a sense of pride and purpose. It is practically Mayfield. Well, we certainly made an impression on our neighbors this week. I did not put a tarp down on the lawn while I was using… yes… black spray paint on my husband’s bookshelves. And wouldn’t you know it, I just so happened to lay those suckers out perfectly so that after the they were dried and removed, the outline of the paint from the edge of the shelves made the shape of a giant swastika. We’ve never been “lawn” people, but this is bad even for us. I’m sure at this weekend’s race, all smiles will surely fade when they pass our house and see that Nazi’s have moved into their wholesome little neighborhood. The old couples on their porch swings will say things like, “That corner house…. I think they’re musicians or something. Better call the city and have ’em reported.” Clark tried to play it cool since I, after all, was doing him a favor. But for the last few days, we’ll be in the middle of dinner or pumping gas and he’ll say, “what do you think we ought to do about the lawn?” He suggested we get festive and perhaps put one of those giant inflatable pumpkins over our vandalized grass. We bounced ideas back and forth until one of us said we should put a life-size manger scene out front– send the message that Jesus loves Nazi’s too. We both screamed with laughter and made yet a fourth trip to Home Depot to see if Lou could give us something that would remove the paint without killing our grass and thus burning Nazi symbolism into our yard permanently. No such luck. We’re Nazi’s ’til the grass grows out.

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