Monday, January 30, 2012

wear: avril?

the other night we went to dinner at tally's (still one of our local favorites) and afterward, met up with some friends for moscow mules at the alpine. i was wearing a skirt that was a liiiiiittle bit tight for my taste so i tried to tone it down by pairing it with my chuck taylors. i have to admit, it wasn't the type of outfit i normally wear, but my girlfriends (and gayfriends) said they liked it so i didn't feel too self conscious. until...

"heeeeey, avril!" 


"yeah! you look like avril lavigne!" 

"oh. thanksalot." 

"no! it's a good thing!" 

"ha, rrrriiiiiight."
it didn't really bother me, but you can be sure i won't be wearing this outfit again.
jacket: b.b. dakota / von maur
hoodie: j.crew factory
t-shirt: j.crew / thrifted
skirt: forever 21
tights: target
sneaks: converse

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

love: a loss.

this morning, one of my dearest friends lost his father. 
we are all heart-broken and shocked. his dad was young and had recently made the decision to retire by mid-summer. over the past few months he had taken a few vacations with his wife to their favorite places including st. barth's, where he ultimately passed away.

jerry wanek was one of the hardest workers i have known and did it all out of love for his family. he had a successful career as a lawyer and generally worked eighty hours a week because he was in constant demand. he was the best.

jerry welcomed anyone into his home and was a truly generous host. but, if you were in his home, drinking his wine, you better be prepared to listen to him talk! jerry was intelligent and opinionated. i'll never forget the very first time i met him: he told me he hated tattoos and would pay for me to get mine removed. ha, ha, clearly we never reached an agreement on that one. 

jerry loved my girls and they loved him. his wife, carolyn, affectionately called him "daddy" so my girls dubbed him "big daddy" to avoid confusion with their own daddy. you should have seen what a softie he became whenever they were around. (somewhere there is a picture of jerry wearing minnie mouse ears with one of the girls on his lap...) he tried to teach them french, but i think the only word they mastered was "quelquefois," a favorite of jerry's. many nights, when we'd go out for an evening swim, we'd come back in to find the girls curled up in jerry's lap watching cartoons. 
jerry and quinn, halloween '09

when seth was in basic training and then deployed, we spent a lot of nights in their spare bedroom. we would be invited for dinner or an afternoon at the pool and end up staying all evening. i can picture him sitting at the head of the table in the morning, reading the newspaper and drinking his coffee while carolyn made him breakfast. (usually an omelet, in my memory.) in fact, we spent the night before seth left for six months of training at the wanek's house. we toasted with templeton rye and jerry promised to have a bottle waiting for him when he returned. in the morning, after seth had left, i can picture myself crying in their kitchen while jerry and carolyn assured me that everything would be fine. jerry wasn't a mushy guy by any means, but he had his softer moments. he used to joke that anytime i'd had a bad day, he'd get a bill in the mail; evidence of carolyn having taken me out for lunch and a good cry. 

i remember one night jerry reading from this ridiculous book of old limericks; all of us sitting around in tears from laughing so hard. i remember him shhhhushing us as we sat through video after video of sophie's musical performances. he was so proud of his family. i remember the night (or many nights) when he made us watch his favorite movie (whose name escapes me); continuing to turn up the volume until we finally stopped talking and actually watched along with him. i can picture long discussions on wine and food and scuba-diving--just a few of his passions. and i remember when our local cable provider switched the number for the food network channel, jerry made sure i knew what the new one was. 

these little things about jerry, they're just a few silly memories that make me smile when i think of him. his wife and children; carolyn, joseph, topher and sophie, have years of stories with more impact and greater depth. my heart aches for them as i try to imagine what today is like, what tomorrow will be like, and every day after that. i know terrible tragedies occur every day, all over the world. but, today in des moines, iowa, a 16 year-old girl found out she will live the rest of her life without her daddy.
will you pray for her tonight? 
topher, sophie, joseph, carolyn and jerry wanek

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

love: free smiles.

i'm having a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day.
it involves some extremely naughty children, a gas leak in my home, an iPhone & computer update gone wrong, and a sore throat that refuses to leave.

i was trying to write a post about how quinn got her first hair-cut last week and transitioned to a "big girl" bed (i know!);  but my brain is fried and the best i can do is post some really sweet pictures of her and hope they make you smile as much as they make me smile.

look at that little girl. 
how can you not smile when you see her? as "trying" as she has been lately, she brings me so much joy every day.  makes all those frustrating things in life (like technology and gas leaks) seem pretty insignificant. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

wear: this one's for jessica.

i've been a little under the weather for the past day or so. i felt it coming and tried to chase it away with extra cups of tea and unabashed afternoon naps. unfortunately today i woke up and felt it: officially sick. 
i lounged around most of the day, catching up on e-mails and other time-sucking endeavors. (coughfacebookcough!) anyway, my friend jessica hinted that i should probably use my sick day to do a little b-log. 

so here's an outfit post. short & sweet. for jess.
you may have noticed these pants get a lot of wear. you're right. they do. 

and no, i don't wash them as often as i wear them. 
i have slightly better hygiene than a hippie.

vest: gap
henley: alternative apparel (men's)
scarf: target
pants*: heritage
flats: gap

*someone asked on the last wear post if these pants are brown or more red. my ingenious answer? "they're reddish-brown." yes i did graduate from high school, thankyouverymuch.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

do: birthday bowl.

i mentioned that last week we celebrated mr.a's birthday. 
he is now officially closer to 30 than i am. ha!
we went out for pizza and bowling! it was really fun. i hadn't been bowling in years (and it showed), but we all had a blast.
joey was on a bender that night. haha, just kidding. he had to work while we all bowled.
instead of a birthday cake we classy'ed it up with powdered donuts.
it was a pretty fun party. piper loved it so much i'm sure we'll be going back for her next* birthday. 

*next meaning fifth birthday! FIFTH! tears, sobs, weeps.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


i wore this basic outfit two days in a row. 
howeeeeeever, the first day i only wore it for like, an hour or two. so that doesn't really count. 
on the second day i thought, if i like this outfit enough to wear it twice, i should probably take a picture of it. but, my battery was about to die, the lighting was bad, and when i went outside for better lighting, my dog jumped up on me getting mud all over me. (which resulted in a four-letter word or two. none of which included, "good.")
so...this is the only picture i snagged on day two of this outfit...
vest: gap // shirt: banana republic // belt: j.crew // necklace: gift // pants: heritage / booties: dsw

Monday, January 16, 2012


if i am ever quiet online,
you'll know i'm being loud somewhere else. 

i took an unexpected but necessary blogging break last week. 

when i think about last monday i can't believe it was only seven days ago. in those seven days we had a birthday party for mr.a, hosted my brother for a couple days, went to the science center, had our first house-showing, went to a friends' show at the social club, went to a comedy show at the funny bone, and went to my sister's show at the stoner theater. we had lunch with friends, dinner with friends and a bunkin' party with friends.* 

clearly there is no shortage of things to blog about. last week i started a new year's, goal-oriented post (in case you didn't read enough resolutions from every other blogger) when i realized i had never even blogged about christmas! (it was wonderful, by the way.)  it can be hard to capture something that happened weeks ago when your mind is flooded with the thoughts, emotions and activities of today.

all of this to say: 
i'm still here.
i hope you are, too.

*okay, the bunkin' party didn't really happen. in fact, i had never even heard of a "bunkin''' party until thursday, but apparently they're all the rage in arkansas. i'm guessing you could probably look it up on wikipedia. or the southern dictionary.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


my brother is here from california. 
today we took the girls to mars cafe and the science center. we had a lot of fun.
by the time we got home, the girls were wild and cranky and we were all sleepy.
i was trying to keep them entertained and behaved while switching loads of laundry and whipping up a quick dinner before mr.a came home from work. in other words--it was chaotic.

i got the girls fed and scurried them downstairs for a little "play away" time. 

after they were out of sight (obviously not out of mind) i took a deep breath. 
or maybe seven.

all the while, my brother was in the room, doing some work on his laptop and i was aware of the fact that we were likely a huge distraction.

i went into the other room to put the laundry away when my brother called in,

"hey beth...?
(he's the only one who calls me beth. you're not allowed to.)

you're a good mom."

and that was the best thing that happened to me today.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

wear: hot messy-ish.

today the girls and i went down to east village to have a quick lunch with joey and walk around a little bit. it was another beautiful, january day (saywhaaa?!) and it was so nice to be outside.
we ate at lucca, did some browsing at domestica and got coffee at the village bean. joey had to be back at work so we brought him some juice and when we walked into the salon, the place was packed! i was maneuvering the stroller and saying hi to all our friends in there when a sweet reader named tonya, came up and said hello! we had actually met before (i can't remember where! refresh my memory, tonya?) and i knew she was familiar to me but it took me by surprise and i'm pretty sure i rambled her ear off like an idiot. 
(and this is why i'm a better blogger than talker--editing!) 
after we left the salon and walked back to the car, i about died when i caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror--hair all wild, mascara all over my eyes, i was a mess. i'm just thankful i was actually wearing clothes. i had honestly considered breaking all my own rules and going down there in a sweatshirt and yoga pants. some style blogger i am! anyway, if you know tonya, she'll probably tell you she saw me lookin' all disheveled and that my blog is a total sham. ha. it really was so nice to see you again, tonya; you let me know when you want to plan outfits for that conference! 
flannel: j.crew/crewcuts
t-shirt: f21
jeans: paige
boots: steve madden
socks: stolen from my dad
necklace: stella & dot

Friday, January 06, 2012


hey y'all. sorry posts have been a little sporadic* this week. i feel like life has been a rat-race for about three months now! i assumed once the holidays were over, things would slow down a little, but so far that has not been the case. plus, i fee like i never know what day it is! clearly evidenced by this conversation below with my friend, emily... 
(her son is in piper's class at school.)


i feel like i need three days with nothing to do so i can just get my life back in order! it feels like our house has been a mess since christmas and the lack of schedule from christmas break just threw everything off. well, let's be honest: this is coming from the girl who also complains about our lack of schedule when school is in session--obviously i just need some organization in my life.

it's interesting to recognize the need for something that is just completely separate from your personality. the desire to have a strictly scheduled life does not come natural to me. i don't want to be attached to my datebook or to constantly be ticking off a list of "things to do." it even makes my blood pressure rise to assign meals to a certain day. (if i make a meal plan it always includes lots of "maybes," question marks, and options...just in case.) i guess i just don't want to live my life according to what a list tells me i have to get done. 

but when something is broke, you fix it. and i think a little organization and list-making just might be the fix-it for me this year.

i'd love to write more on this subject, but for now, i have to rush off. i have about 18 billion things to do today and i need to start my list. item #1? buy a datebook.

*anyone else think of Clueless when you use the word "sporadic"? haha, just me?!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

wear: style challenge no.7

this is my final style challenge for jane by design and it was a fun one! we were asked to view the premiere of the show last night (which i was obviously planning on anyway) and select our favorite, fashion-forward style from one of the characters. 

while there were so many fantastic outfits, i was most excited to see jane wearing something that i actually own! if you've read the daily be for a while, you may remember last spring when i was honored to be a bridesmaid in my friend amanda's wedding. our outfits were so cute and unique; we each wore a floral bustier from anthropologie with a navy skirt and yellow heels. 

here i am in mine...

and here is jane rocking hers...
photo borrowed from the JBD website.

the next step in the challenge was to re-create a similar look for you guys! i loved how jane wore that flouncy, layered skirt and i think i put together a really cute (and affordable) option for you! (if you click on each item it should take you right to wear you can purchase them, if you're interested...)

i think the combination of black, pale pink and winter white are more suitable for this season but they would look great into spring and even summer if you switched out the cardigan for a light denim jacket and paired it with some cute ballet flats. plus, i love how girly the little details are in this look!

 do you ever draw inspiration directly from something you see on tv or the movies? share your tips on the jane by design facebook page and mention the daily be, please!

it's been an honor and a lot of fun being a part of these challenges. they have forced me to think creatively and be more inspired every day. i really hope you've enjoyed it, too!

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

do: style challenge no.6

this next challenge for abc family's jane by design stemmed from the idea that inspiration can truly be found anywhere. part of our instructions stated, 
"the ability to be inspired by everyday life is an essential skill." 
and with that we were given our everyday inspiration: pretzels. 

you read that right: pretzels. 
the brown, salty snack that i prefer dipped in chocolate.

it took me a few days of staring at these pretzels before i finally felt inspired. 
though we had our choice of pretzel sticks, pretzel squares and classic pretzels, i really liked the swirly knot on the classic pretzel and thought i would try to recreate it in a necklace or other type of accessory. i had this soft, rope-like material and, in the end, i used it to create a cute, nautical belt that will be perfect this spring.

cute, right?! you could also add some fun beads on the ties that hang down--gold would look great! 

have you ever done anything like this before? taken inspiration from everyday life and used it in fashion? when i was 15 or so i was in a bit of a punk-rock phase and wore safety pins as earrings. i'm pretty sure i thought that was really b.a. at the time! ha! share your "everyday-inspired" fashion tips over on the jane by design facebook page and be sure to mention the daily be! 
this contest is almost over and i'd love your support! (even if you don't have any tips--just go say hi and do a little name-dropping! wink!)

to tide you over until the premier, here's another sneak peek of jane by design...

do: ringing it in.

i'm usually a little skeptical when it comes to new year's celebrations (over-hyped, under-delivered), but this year i was just as excited about getting all dolled up as i was for the night ahead, so i was having a blast before we even left the house! 
we started the evening with hors d'oeuvres and prosecco at joseph and joey's place and eventually took a trolley downtown to the des moines social club. they throw a party every year and each time the vibe is a little bit different. this year (because of the caucus craze) they had an all-american theme.
thanks for helping me decide what to wear! B was the overwhelming winner and i felt great in it. plus, we had amazing weather that night--bare legs on new year's! bare legs!!! and don't worry, A-supporters, hopefully there will be a good excuse to wear that soon!
 doesn't mr.a look dapper? i wish i could dress him every day. 
(just kidding, he totally picked that out himself. if i'd dressed him there would have been a bow-tie involved. wink!)
lately ivanka has been showing up unannounced, but no one speaks russian so we can't ask her to leave. 
 i left my "real" camera at home so grainy iPhone pictures are the only evidence we have of the rest of the night.

we danced, hit up the photo booth and shared smooches as the clock struck 12 and hundreds of balloons fell from the ceiling. we had so much fun celebrating the new year. then again, when our friends are all together, we always have fun!
happy new year to you!