Monday, November 30, 2009

NaBloPoMoClo: National Blog Posting Month Close

So we made it. One post a day for thirty days in a row. When we started the challenge, I didn’t know how exactly it would go. I was committed to giving it a shot, but also fairly skeptical about our ability to keep it going for an entire month. And even if we managed to do it, how would it feel? Liberating or limiting? Like motivation or suffocation? Thirty days later I’ve found the answer to those questions is yes on all counts...

At times it was...
challenging, annoying, pointless, tiring, taxing, inconvenient, and overwhelming.
There were nights when I didn’t have anything to say. Or even if I had the words, I didn’t have the time to record them. It could sometimes be a burden to have one more thing to get done in a day. And I couldn’t always find the time or the motivation to write as long or as well as I wanted to. I would get frustrated when I sat down to write a few quick thoughts, and it took three times as long as expected. I couldn’t always find the right words and I sometimes struggled to craft a concept I felt proud of. I felt like a failure when I had to post just to have something for the day- like getting a checkmark for completion, but a zero for style. I wanted to have A+ entries everyday, but sometimes I had to settle for good enough.

And though I know I’m my own worst critic, I occasionally got insecure, struggling to find the purpose in my daily dribble. Why even bother? Was anyone even reading? Are my silly stories worth the time it takes to type them? And why should I publish my thoughts when there are already a million bloggers out there who are smarter, funnier, and more creative than I am?

But as I reflect back on the negatives and doubts, I’m reminded that there were far more times when it was...
inspiring, fun, rewarding, memorable, motivating, thought provoking, relational, and growth-inducing.

It was a discipline to write every day, and the public accountability forced me to honor my commitment. I think it’s a stretch to say that I’m a better writer than I was a month ago, but I’ve certainly gotten a bit more practice. Getting the words out of my head and onto the page isn’t always easy for me, and I’ve learned that I can be slow and overly meticulous at times. But the daily commitment required that I press on, and loosen up the perfectionist tendencies a bit. If that means all people get is a photo of my nail polish for a day, then so be it.

I recently watched a TV interview featuring author Malcolm Gladwell, and he had an interesting thought; He said that as writers, we have to resist the human urge to edit. We have to force ourselves to find everything interesting, and I feel like this was especially true for me this month. Everyday sights became more intriguing to me as I was constantly scanning for things to share and comment on. Little things that I might otherwise have missed or forgotten became more important, and maybe even worth a paragraph or two of rambling. I started taking more photos because I was consciously focused not only on recording memories, but actually making them. Of course I wanted the photos as a souvenir of our lives, but more important than that, I’ve realized I want to live a life worthy of taking photos. Publicly detailing your life is great motivation to actually have a life. It’s easy to get on auto-pilot sometimes, so I loved how blogging has encouraged me to be more aware, active, and interested in the world around me.

But in spite of this new detail oriented, memory-making outlook, I was also learned a little about keeping in real. I had to face the fact that sometimes life is boring. There aren’t always going to be funny stories, cute pictures or impressive projects to share. As much as I want to present a pretty picture of our exciting life as a young married couple, sometimes it’s just me and my husband watching some TV while we fold laundry. Or there are times when it’s worse than boring, and downright crappy. I’m still working on my goal of writing (and living) authentically and transparently, but this month made it harder to hide behind a smile in a photoshopped picture.

So as we bring our month to a close, we want to give a special shout-out to everyone who has joined us this past month (especially those brave souls who have ventured to comment). Dustin and I are so blessed to have supportive friends and readers that for whatever reason are (relatively) interested in our musings. Writing the blog is a team effort, but the site is bigger than the two of us. Thanks for being a part of our journey and our lives.

See you tomorrow?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Foam Fights

Yesterday there was an epic battle:
Bowden vs. Bowden. Sword vs. Battle Axe. Fun vs. Angry Parking Lot Drivers.
As you can see....Dustin was pretty fierce, but I held my own.
I think he was distracted by my new nail color:
Vixen layered with Plum Seduction. A deadly combination.

I ended up with a gaping head wound, but he lost an arm to my sword.

Who knew so much fun (and destruction) could be found at the Target $1 Spot?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Let's Go Krogering!

I love being home for a lot of reasons....seeing friends, hanging out with family, great restuarants, fun activities....but I would be lying if I said that a certain grocery store wasn't part of Ohio's hold on my heart. The major grocery chain in the area is Kroger (Kroger Sav-On for you old folks), and I have a deep, deep love for it. It was the only option we had when I was a kid, so my loyalty formed. This bond was later strenthened when I moved to Cincinnati (which is where the headquarters are located). But dispite my fondness for it, I didn't realize the true depths of my appreciation of Kroger until we moved to Pittsburgh- a.k.a. land of the Giant Eagle. Now, there's nothing wrong with Giant Eagle per see, but it's just not as good as what I'm used to. The generic brands aren't as good, they don't sell beer (that's Pennsylvania's fault, but still), and their logo doesn't have that cool swoopy-"K". Even Dustin is a convert, complaining regularly that he misses good old Kroger.

So when we visit Westerville, we make sure to stop by our old shopping mainstay. This trip was especially awesome, because our local store had just been remodeled. We had one of the oldest remaining Krogers in the country (I made that up, but it sure seemed it), and its shotty condition, combined with cramped aisles and limited selection caused my mom to dub it "Kro-ghetto" (a moniker she borrowed from the nickname for the University of Cincinnati of the saddest excuses for a grocery store I've ever witnessed.) After at least a year of area residents having to shop in a literal construction zone, the local Kroger has been revamped. Behold!

This is the sight I remember from my childhood. Bonus-The famous logo was home to numerous bird's nests.

Isn't she beautiful?

I had the chance to visit with my mom yesterday, and I was like a kid in a candy store (literally!). I snapped photos like a tourist at the statue of liberty, ooohing and ahhhing at the shelves as if they were works of art. Allow me to share....

Parts of the store are still a work in progress....but it's coming along.

And onto the new....
They have little carts! I couldn't get over how adorable these were. So chic and French-like (I assume).

Produce fresh and beautiful. Yum!

And directly accross from the produce: booze. I'm a simple girl, and this sight just warms my heart. Though I'm not sure the little cart was a good idea at this point.... I kid!

Kroger's version of Coke Zero. My two great loves combined.
My mom even found a friend:
All in all: Right store. Right price.

Friday, November 27, 2009

I <3 Thanksgiving

So it's the day after Thanksgiving and it is a glorious day in Ohio. We woke up to some flurries, but they have since disappeared and the sun is shinning and it's a beautiful day to relax

Yes! Courtney is out right now shopping her brains out, so I am left here to blog. If you know me, I'm not much of a fan of shopping and I especially hate shopping on Black Friday. I'd much rather sit around and bask in the carnage that was Thanksgiving yesterday. We had a great day and the food was awesome! Here's some pictures. Enjoy!

The Turkey of the Hour

Me and Jacob

Courtney and Jacob

Jacob Sleeping...

..and Grandma Gladys sleeping.

Thanksgiving Family Portrait

Thursday, November 26, 2009

With a grateful heart

Today I'm thankful for...

My mom who always welcomes me home with open arms and a full kitchen.
My family who knows blended-bonds are just as important as blood.
My friends who stay close despite the miles.
My husband who is by my side today, and every other day.
My God who loves me with grace and mercy far beyond what I deserve.

...and some time off to enjoy all of my many blessings.
Happy Thanksgiving!

(photo from our recent trip out west.
it's easy to be thankful for sights as beautiful as this.)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Dustin and I have been going to a small group for a few weeks where we’ve been watching Nooma videos. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Nooma is a series of short video “sermons” (I use quotes because the word sounds too preachy without them) by Christian pastor and author Rob Bell. (Who happens to be the pastor of our friends Brian and Jill’s church in Michigan.) I’ve seen a few of the films before, when Dustin used them in a couple of Campaigners lessons, and I really like them. Each video is a different topic, but all are primarily centered around Rob Bell’s teaching, using imagery, graphics, or music to support the message.

At our small group few weeks ago, we watched one called Noise which impacted me enough that I wanted to share it with you. Watch….then report back….. (and yes....I know it's long- but it's worth it. Tomorrow's a holiday. You've got time.)

So…what do you think?
Kind of unsettling right? If you’re anything like me, you’re surrounded by noise almost constantly, so sitting through roughly five minutes with no sound, no pictures, no colors, no blinking lights, no commercials is pretty rare. And for me it was surprisingly awkward. I don’t often realize how noisy my world is, but I especially don’t take note of how accustom I am to that noise, and how I’ve grown to depend on it in a way. I complain about being tired, or overwhelmed, or stressed, but how much of those feelings am I perpetuating by simply refusing to turn things off?

There were (many) moments in the video where I felt convicted.....
How does the noise in my life affect my ability to hear God?
What about the time spent talking about my problems vs. listening to God?
Does my life look like that of a person who wants to hear from God more?
Is God's voice more interesting than the other noise I fill my life with?
If I'm not still, how will God give me rest?

It touched a nerve.

You see, in a lot of ways, I love noise. After all, I’m quite the talker, and a loud one at that. I thrive on busyness (did anyone else just now realize that busyness and business are practically the same word?….deeeeeep thought.), and multi-tasking is my routine. On top of that, I’m a visual person- I crave constant stimulation…input- visual noise. I was taught in college to never turn my senses off. We were to take in as much as possible, so that we could process it, make connections and create something new. Every day, our jobs, our relationships and our world challenge us to do more, see more, experience more, but it seems that the skills needed to be a good worker, a fun friend or successful designer may not be the same skills that will draw you closer to the Lord.

Some of the noise around me is innocent, accidental. But some of it is deliberate; allowed or even encouraged by me, at the expense of the stillness, silence and rest that God desires for me. I let my life fill up with work, music, television, talking, complaining, all while squeezing God's voice into ever-decreasing compartments of time.

I had been feeling the strain and stress of noise for a while, but I didn't have the words or thoughts to explain what my heart felt. God, in His infinite wisdom brought me the message time and time again, and finally I took the time to hear it, ironically through a mostly-silent film.
At the end of our small group time, we all made commitments based on our reactions to the video. My decision was a baby step. I agreed to being "aware"- observing the noise in my life and taking note as to when I allow it, or even invite it. It may not seem like much, but God has taken this small step and already begun to bless me. I've learned that my typical day is full of chatter, and too much of it is my own. I've realized I rely on the radio, television, email or the phone to escape from my thoughts, fill up my day and avoid time with God. I take the easy way out, and in fact, often become prideful about how much I'm doing, how many things are going on, how I'm able to manage it all. But God isn't proud when I turn away. He doesn't rejoice in my activities when they take place apart from Him. He longs to be with me, and if I would stop long enough to hear feel Him, I would realize that the time wasters, space fillers, distractions and diversions are failed substitutes for a solid relationship my Father.

So I've started to make small changes in my routine; turning the radio off in favor of prayer (or even just for quiet); noticing opportunities for stillness instead of more hurried action, but I haven't gotten to the point where I've figured it out. I don't consistently listen for God's voice first above all else. I haven't learned to prioritize time with Him before the millions of other things that I'm drawn to in a day. But I'm trying. I'm seeking. I'm listening.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Courtney's Test Kitchen: Five Ice Cream

Guess I have food on the brain....which is a good thing considering Thanksgiving is almost here!
Rather than an elaborate recipe though, I wanted to share something simple (but astoundingly delicious). Have you tried Five yet? Haagen-Dazs Five, that is.
If you're not familiar, it is a fairly-new all-natural ice cream that has only five ingredients (hence the name). Each variety contains only skim milk, cream, sugar, egg yolks and natural flavouring. It is available in mint, ginger, coffee, vanilla bean, passion fruit, brown sugar and milk chocolate, which is a slightly strange, but intriguing menu.

Now, I'm not a huge foodie, nor am I a stickler for all natural products, but I do love me some ice cream. Love. So I gave this a shot and I was blown away. I chose the passion fruit, and I can't even describe how much I enjoyed it. It was so smooth, with a deliciously pure taste. It took all my will power (and more than a few glances at the nutrition facts) to make the pint last longer than one sitting. It is on the pricey side, but it's one of those small indulgences that is more than worth its cost.

My first taste was a few weeks ago, but my cravings for it haven't decreased since that first bite. I sent Dustin out the other night just to pick up a pint (behavior that is usually only tolerated of pregnant women...I'm lucky that man loves me). He came back without the Haagen Dazs, with Edy's pumpkin ice cream instead. I guess people had caught on to how great this stuff is, and bought it all up! But even a large bowl of regular ice cream (and a freezer full of Klodikes) wasn't enough to squash the desire for Five. So on our last trip to the store I made sure to get one. And as luck would have it, while we were ringing up the register printed out a coupon for two or more of course I sprinted back to the frozen foods to grab an extra container. Now I have Passion Fruit and Ginger waiting to satisfy my after dinner sweet tooth.

I suggest you go out and get some of your own.....

Monday, November 23, 2009

Courtney's Test Kitchen: Crepa de Camarones

Two weeks ago I got a chance to catch up with one of my best friends, who now lives in NYC. We went to a Mexican restaurant called Arriba Arriba which was just phenomenal. We both got white sangria (my fav), and I ordered Crepa de Camarones, which are "flour tortilla crepes with sauteed shrimp, cheese and a chili-cream sauce. served with white rice and salad." Now, I'm not going to lie- the conversation was great, but it was rivaled by my meal. Once my food came I could hardly concentrate. Of course I'm kidding a little....we had a great time, and it was so fun to hang out with her again...but for the next week I really did talk about that meal to anyone who would listen (which now includes you). I've never had "tortilla crepes", nor do I really know what they are- I think they're pretty much just fluffy tortillas. Yum. And I was a little nervous about the chili-cream sauce (I asked the waiter three times if it was spicy..."I mean, not even if you're a big baby about spicy stuff? What if I don't even like medium salsa?") but it was delicious. It tasted just like Cincinnati chili- which means it was awesome.

I vowed to make this dinner myself as soon as I got home. And yesterday I made good on that promise. I scoured the internet for recipes to replicate the dish, but I came up virtually empty handed. I found a few things that I could cobble together to get close, but nothing matched my memory exactly (I did find one recipe in Spanish- which had an ingredient that Google translator said was "saliva". Um, pass). So I decided to improvise. Here's the "recipe" we attempted:
  • 4 flour tortillas (the small ones)
  • 1 lb bag shrimp (medium size)
  • white rice (I made 4 servings so we'd have enough for leftovers)
  • store bought alfredo sauce- about a 1/2 cup
  • About 1 1/2 tsp Skyline chili spice (just the dry ingredients from this recipe-I had leftover from forever ago)

Cook the rice (instant takes 5 mins in the microwave)
Thaw and cook the shrimp- sauteed in a little garlic and olive oil
Mix the sauce and the spices, then heat in the microwave.
Heat the tortillas and serve.

Overall it was pretty good. We don't eat shrimp that often so that was a nice change, and it was fun to experiment a little in the kitchen. Plus I love that recipe for the Skyline seasoning, and this was a great, different, way to use it.

Even though we enjoyed it, there are a few changes I'd make next time. First of all, if you're paying more attention than I was, you'll realize I forgot the cheese entirely. Woops! That probably makes a big difference. Next time I'll add some queso blanco, which should give it some more flavor and substance. Larger shrimp might help too.

Also- I didn't serve them the same way as Arriba did. Ours were simply taco style, theirs had the shrimp and cheese wrapped in the "crepe", with the sauce poured over them and the rice on the side. I put the rice in because it looked empty with just the shrimp- maybe I should have remembered the cheese at that point? Oh well. And no, we didn't bother with salad- think beer is an appropriate substitute? We did!

If I was getting fancy, I might try to make my own tortillas, which might help them taste a bit fresher and fluffier. Or, this recipe for scallops seems like a similar concept, might be worth a try. But all in all, this wasn't bad for a shot in the dark. If you try a version of this yourself, let me know...(and you might as well make some Skyline Chili while you're at won't be sorry!)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Ready for guests

Roughly seven months ago, I had a decor conundrum regarding our guest bedroom, and I opened it up for suggestions from you, the reading public. The results were mixed, and overall we ended up no closer to a solution than when we started (I don't blame you, I blame myself for presenting you with five equally terrible options.). So I returned everything I bought, and just forgot about it for a while. And it turns out that is exactly what I needed to do. Once I stopped looking, I ended up finding the perfect taupe coverlet (that right there is one of the dumbest sentences I think I've ever typed, and probably at least 1/8th of what is wrong with America as a whole). For those of you interested (i.e. no one, but I press on....) I stumbled upon it at T.J. Maxx. I also picked up a white bed skirt and we were done.

Wait. No. It's never that easy! (not with me anyway). Now of course we had to find pillows! I will spare you the drawn out version of that story- let's just say it went about as well as the comforter search. But finally, finally the room started to come together. It is by no means finished, but that day might never come, so I'll present it to you now. Drumroll.....................

Ta-da! You can see in addition to bedding we also added a rug and a headboard, but no- I still haven't removed the plastic from the lampshade. We'll get there.... Here's a close up of all the lovely details:

The headboard was made out of an inexpensive single panel hollow door. Dustin cut it down to fit, applied veneer to the end, and then sanded and stained it to match the floors. This was a painstaking process (because why wouldn't it be?) but he did such a great job. It looks beautiful with the floors and I love how it lightens up the dark paint, and brings a natural element to the room.

Pretty right?

In addition to all that fun, we also built a console table. We used old props from a work project I did last summer (gotta love that!) and had a thick piece of plexiglass cut for the top. Eventually we'll deck it out- get a lamp, maybe some books, and hang some stuff on the walls, but it's slowly coming together.

After all that, I really love how it turned out. I sort of wish it was our room....maybe we'll switch!

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Columbus Ohio has a few claims to fame, but by far the most widely known is THE Ohio State University- and more specifically, their football team. As a native of the city, some of my earliest childhood memories involve the Buckeyes. It's ingrained in who I am, and being a fan isn't an option, it's a fact. I may not watch all of their games, or be able to recite team stats, but when push comes to shove I will back my bucks all the way. I didn't even go to school there, and yet I know the fight song as well as I know the alphabet, and I still can't wear blue and gold together without feeling disloyal. They were, and always will be, my team, and to hear anyone talk smack is like listening to someone bash my family. Not cool.

So today was The Game: OSU vs. Michigan, one of the strongest and longest running rivalries in the nation. OSU has the better record by far, is Rose Bowl bound, and has beaten UofM for five straight years, so I was feeling pretty confident about their chances today. And they lived up to the hype: Final Score 21-10. Go Bucks!

Photo from the 2006 OSU/Texas matchup
(notice I had already converted Dustin into a Buckeye lover).

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Music That Defines Me...Right Now At Least

Recently, Parsons asked me what play list is on my ipod as fodder for a blog post. I decided that instead of making a play list of the songs I'm into, I would reveal the root of the songs I'm into right now. There are 2 songs really. One is by Andrew Ripp. he's relatively unknown, but the song I have of his I absolutely love! If I could ever practice 40 hours a day, I would would be working towards being as good as this guy. I love his vibe, his guitar ability, and his voice. Here's the song of his that I love. It's called It's All Good. Enjoy!

The second song is by the Black Crowes. It's called Nonfiction and I don't know what it is about it, but I never listen to it less than 2 times when ever it comes on. Again...hope you enjoy it!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Mailing it in.

Tonight we got sushi for dinner.
It looked like this:

Then we went to Ulta to test out new nail polishes.
It looked like this:

Then we went to Target to buy almonds in bulk.
It looked like this:

Then I wrote the world's lamest blog post.
It looked like this.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

98 Greenwich St.

I'm currently in New York City for work (yep; again.), so I thought it would be fun to look back on my humble NYC beginnings.

A little over five years ago, I got a six month internship in New York City. I was twenty years old and had just finished my sophomore year of college. I had visited the city a few times, but living there is quite a different thing. So even though I was excited to have such an adventure, I was also nervous to take such a big step on my own. Luckily I had arranged to room with a classmate from Cincinnati, so I wouldn't be all alone. In the months leading up to our start date, we searched endlessly for a suitable place to live. Craigslist became our number one stop on the internet, and we poured over listings for available apartments. There were plenty of options, but it was hard to tell how tiny/dangerous/smelly/rat-infested a place would be, based on three grainy photos and a description paragraph. Fortunately a young handsome man I called my fiancé lived a quick train ride from the city, so he was able to do some of the scouting for us.

After a couple failed trips, Dustin was able to find us a suitable option. It was a single room in a four bedroom apartment located in the financial district of Manhattan. It was kind of an odd location, as there aren't a lot of apartments in the area, but it was safe, (semi) affordable and it was close to the subway. Score!

Take a look at the first photo we ever took of our temporary home sweet home away from home (See that little blue door hiding behind the double parked van? That's it...)

Now at this point you may have noticed that not only is the apartment close to the subway, it's also convenient to some other....uh....ammenities. Specifically: The Pussycat Lounge (a "gentleman's club", naturally) and Thunder Lingerie. (go ahead, click the pic to know you want to see it in all its glory). I can't imagine the feelings my poor mother must have had when she dropped me off for my six month stay. Not exactly the dream you have for your daughter's first big city stint. Truthfully, we actually ended up loving the location- what other place in our price range comes with a doorman? (ok, he was actually the bouncer of the club, but still a comforting face to come home to on late nights).

So, despite the somewhat questionable exterior, it was actually quite a find (by NY standards anyway). For $1,300 a month, we got access to a shared bathroom, 2-burner electric stove (no oven), the worlds smallest washer, and our very own window. We were living the dream, alright. It may not have been much, but we made it our own. A quick trip to Ikea (oxymoron alert!) outfitted us with some brand new loft beds, a mirror or two, and a desk/vanity/dining table combo. What else do you need?

Not pictured in the photo above? My bed.....I believe this photo was from our last few weeks there, after I had begun to dismantle things. My mattress ended up on the floor in the area by the window (where I slept with earmuffs on, to avoid a cockroach crawling in my ear like in Brokedown Palace).

See? There's my bed. Such a cozy little nook. And in the distance is an air conditioner. Because we're fancy like that.
It wasn't much, but for a brief time at least, it was ours. I have a ton of great memories of that apartment....and even the bad memories have sweetened over time. (I'm no longer disgusted by the mouse we found that had to be hunted down by our Italian neighbor- "I will keel zee MOUS!" And it's almost funny to look back on the time I worked out too hard at Capoiera and had to throw up in a plastic bag because one of the other roommates was hogging the bathroom...) I have a soft spot in my heart for that dirty little shoebox.

This summer, Dustin and I were in NY for my cousin's wedding so we stopped downtown to see my old stomping grounds. The doors to the apartment are silver now, and there is a bit more scaffolding due to all the construction in the area, but overall it hasn't changed much.
And don't worry: the neighborhood businesses are still going strong....

I "heart" you New York. You and all your gritty charm.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Harvest Joy

Way back in October, (which for some reason feels like at least a year ago, rather than just a month....) Dustin and I took a trip to a pumpkin patch with my family. What could be better than a day spent in the country sampling freshly picked apples with my gorgeous nieces and nephews? Nothing, I say.

And in non-pumpkin news: Be sure to catch up with the Sisterhood. We had a new sister last week: Stella (stop by to welcome her if you haven't already), and this week is Crafty P's turn.

Monday, November 16, 2009

What's in an age?

A few days ago, I referenced this article about muppeteer Caroll Spinney, and the longevity of Sesame Street. In that piece, he posed a question that I've been thinking about ever since:

"If you didn't know when you were born, how old would you think you are?"

Everyone has heard that "age ain't nothin' but a number" but is that true? What happens if you remove the numerical label that defines you? Then who are you? Does it change your characteristics? Your possibilities? Your limitations?

If I didn't know my real age- I think I'd have a hard time determining it. Sometimes, after a grueling of day of work when all I want to do is soak my aching muscles and then curl up with a movie on the couch, I would swear I was mid-forties. But then there are nights when I have seemingly endless energy and want go out 'til the sun comes up. Does that make me seventeen? Twenty-one?

It's not all tied to physical traits though, or my waxing and waning penchant for sleep. How do the rest of the things in my life stack up....are there enough clues to pin point my true age?

I'm married, which most likely puts me in my twenties or thirties. We own a house, which creeps my age up a bit. Full time career....getting up there. But wait- no kids. Back down we go. I've traveled the country but never been to Europe. Does that affect it? How about the sensible sedan I drive? Does that choice age me? My pantry is primarily stocked with cake mix and mac and that older or younger than Ramen noodles and kool-aid? My bedroom floor is covered with clothes, and the number of lipglosses I own seems to multiply daily, making it appear quite likely I haven't yet passed through high school. But then there are the bank statements, insurance cards, and to-do lists that suggest I might be older than expected after all.

When you start to think about it, it becomes clear that any particular age doesn't have a set list of attributes or rules tied to it. There are eighty year old skydivers and thirteen year olds who knit. It seems that the adage "You're only as old as you feel" stands firm. But if that's true, then why is the comment, "Oh to be young again" so common as well?

Personally, I don't feel the knowledge of me being twenty-five means much. I do have the occasional moment where I question myself....."Am I too old to do this/wear that?" or conversely "Wow, I'm so lame- I should be out doing this not worried about this" But overall I try not to let my age dictate the way I live. I wonder though, if that will that always be the case. As I inch towards thirty, will the pressures of what I "should do" or "should have" become more apparent? What about when I'm in my sixties? Will that cause me to edit how I talk, what I buy, or how I spend my time? It's a hard thing to wrap your brain around.....and I certainly don't have the answers. But then again- I'm only twenty five...what do you expect?

So what about you all? How old do you think you are? Do you think it's possible to live independent of your age? I'm interested to hear.....

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Spotted and Hearted

While in New York this week, I saw something magical:

A girl riding her bike through times square....with a trail of metallic ribbon and pink balloons in her wake. Our taxi was following her for a few blocks through traffic, and I became more mesmorized with each passing moment. What a beautiful, sweet sight.
I finally got close enough to yell out the window to her, asking her what the balloons were for. She smiled brightly, and said, "For fun!" For fun indeed.
To see the originator of "Spotted and Hearted" posts, stop by You Are My Fave-a lovely little blog filled with lovely little things.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Today My Love Returns

The beautiful blonde on the right is married to me,
the cute redhead belongs to the Parsons

For those of you not in the know, Courtney has been in NYC since last Sunday. She comes home today and I'm super excited to see her! We're pretty used to spending little stints apart. I was actually just talking to a friend and explaining that about 6 months after Courtney and I got married, she went on her last internship and lived in NYC for 3 months. We didn't see each other the entire time. So we know how to survive on phone calls and text messages, but nothing compares to having my best friend home and with me. If she's not too tired from traveling, I'm going to take her out on a date.

Any suggestions?

I have one. It's called Table - Brick Oven and Bar

We just went there so I don't think that we'll eat there tonight, but I certainly wouldn't complain if Court wanted to go. It is BY FAR my favorite restaurant.... of all time. The first time we went, I got a Porterhouse Steak that was the best steak I have ever had. The second time I got a Pork Shank Redemption. Easily the best piece of pork I have ever had. Courtney does not really like pork, but she loved it.

If you come to visit us here in Pittsburgh, request to go to Table with us. We'll happily oblige and you won't regret it!

Table Brick Oven and Bar -

Friday, November 13, 2009

Face Lift

No one likes to admit when they've made a mistake and I'm included in that, but for the sustainability of the blog, I will let you all in one of my mistakes and its outcome.

Last Saturday, I was heading to the gym to work out and as I pulled out of our road I stuck the nose of my new baby out too far and I just barely scrapped the side of another car. There wasn't a whole lot of damage to either car, but it still stunk to get the new car in an accident. Even though it was just scrapes along the bumper we decided to get it fixed.

So here's the good part. I was thinking of replacing the front grill of the car anyway because it was all faded and it didn't match the bumper at all. From this post you can see a bunch of pictures, but here's one for you convenience.

So I hot him back today and LOOK!

No he looks awesome! I'm not sure if the new look was worth getting in an accident, but at least there's a positive out of the whole situation!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I'm An Elitist

At work we have a program called Eagle's Elite. It's a quarterly reward program where people are nominated by their bosses for going above and beyond their job duties to embody one of the four core values of the company. The values are Innovation, Teamwork...Teamwork... Innovation...

Ok so I don't know all four of them, but rest assured there are four. I think. There's at least two.

A few weeks ago I created an Excel spreadsheet like none other. It basically takes inputs from users and creates computer code for one of our allocation systems. I was really proud of it and spent a good amount of time on it. So now all of allocation is using it, which for me is pretty cool!

So today we had our Third Quarter Eagle's Elite ceremony... and I won for my Excel program!!

My boss said some really nice things about what I did and how it helps the company and... yadda yadda yadda...

But the real gem came when my boss said "Dustin is a self proclaimed Excel nerd."

Which is totally true.! I've told my team (about 15 people) that I am an Excel nerd and that it geeks me out to do cool stuff on it. I help people all the time with formulas and all of that. It's what I do.

BUT... I'm not 100% sure I wanted the everyone there (well over 100 people) to hear that I am a self proclaimed Excel nerd. In that one sentence, my potential pool of work friends probably decreased 85%. Now I'm that "excel guy." I might as well get a pocket protector and a pair of horn rimmed glasses.

So... my wonderful blog reader who is only here to see if bowdenisms has kept up with the daily posting goal...

Have you ever had someone blow up your spot in front of a bunch of people?

Post comments.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I want to be a part of it....NY NY.

I'm in New York City this week for work (I glamorous!) and though I've spent quite a bit of time here, I'm always struck by how many things are unique to this city. Sure, there is the culture, the architecture, the entertainment....But I'm not talking about that. No, I'm referring to those crazy little moments that could only happen in New York. The ones that make you laugh, shake your head, or cringe. No matter what, it's always memorable!

Highlights so far: 
John Gosselin taping The Insider in Times Square.
Vendors selling Obama Condoms ("Hope Flavored") on the street.
Watching a club foot pigeon duke it out against another bird for a piece of toast.
Waking up at seven AM to the sounds of a full marching band performing for Veteran's day.
Seeing Niecy Nash getting off of the elevator in our hotel lobby.
Watching a group of "grand-cougars" (they were so old their granddaughters qualify for social security) work their man magic at the hotel bar.
Hearing some choice NYC quotes- exhibit A:  "I mean, I feel like we're The Sopranos. Only, like, you know, the gay version." (overheard during dinner in Hell's Kitchen)

For more unique to the city experiences, visit Overheard in New York. You just can't make this stuff up.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Away We Went

This past weekend Dustin and I continued in our awesomely adventurous tradition of renting a movie from our cable's On Demand service. (ok, it's not really a tradition, but it happens often enough that it could be. Plus it sounds better than, "we didn't have anything better to do so we rented a movie. A-gain." ahh, married life....)

The movie selection process is a bit of a tradition as well. It goes a little something like this:
I choose several movies that sound good to me (trying hard to find at least one non-chick flick).
Dustin says it doesn't matter (because I didn't choose anything with a super-hero).
We watch whatever I want, during which I periodically try to convince Dustin it's not as bad as he thought it would be.

This week's options were:
Away We Go

And the final selection was Away We Go.

It's an idie flick with John Krasinski (The Office's "Jim") and Maya Rudolf (SNL) and a ton of famous (and hilarious) supporting cast members. The focus is on dating couple Burt and Verona who have recently found out they're going to have a baby. They don't have many ties to the city they current reside, so they set out on a road trip to find the perfect place to start their new family.
There are plenty of crazy characters, and more than a little offensive language, but overall I thought it was a great film. I connected to the main characters and identified with their struggles to find their footing in a sometimes unstable life. The fact that the movie falls under the "independent film" category allows it to ignore the typical plot patterns, and character cliches and resist the urge to tie everything up with a pretty bow at the end. What results are personas that seem authentically flawed, and at times awkwardly real. Many of the characters are over the top, but in a frighteningly familiar way- it's easy to see bits of your co-workers, friends, and family reflected on the screen. And, I saw a bit of myself in the uncertainty, insecurity, hope and love that the main characters shared. It was an enjoyable and thought provoking journey to take....
And in keeping with tradition, I cried at the end.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Sunny days, sweeping the clouds away

This week marks a major TV milestone: Sesame Street turns 40! That's right....what is now one of the most famous (and beloved) children's show of all time, premiered way back on November 10, 1969. I was informed of this momentous occasion by Google, when one of my search attempts was greeted with this:

I abandoned whatever my original inquiry was (probably "interesting blog posts for people running out of ideas") in order to find out more about the anniversary. I found an fun article about the history of the show, including puppeteer Caroll Spinney, who has "played" Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch since the show's beginning. It's amazing to me that someone would devote their entire career to embodying a giant 6 year old bird, but I'm grateful that a show like this is still on the air.

I have countless memories of Sesame Street as a kid. I would park myself on the floor at my grandparent's house to watch, or enjoy an episode while I ate my morning cereal. I knew (and loved) all the characters, sang along with the songs, and soaked up all the reading, counting, and matching exercises I could. I remember even as a young kid, feeling involved in the show. It wasn't a passive way to pass the time....I felt like I was a part of Sesame Street, and the character's world was connected to mine. It inspired confidence in who I was and what I could do....oh, and it made me laugh. A lot.

That's one thing I love about the show- that it doesn't attempt to trick kids into learning- hiding some lessons in candy cartoon coating....they celebrate learning, and encourage kids to be curious, thoughtful, and inventive (not to mention tolerant, loving, and civic-minded). Plus they manage to cram in all this learning and stay wildly entertaining to children and parents alike.

It's nearly impossible to choose a favorite part of the show, as there are so many things I loved. Some highlights:
  • Super Grover (like Grover, only even more hilarious)
  • The Yips ("Yip yip yip yip yip yip yip yip uh-huh, uh-huh")
  • Two headed monster (my mom's favorite)
  • Snuffleupagus (I loved his eyelashes, and his sister Alice)
  • The “One of these things is not like the other” game (I still sing this song if something doesn't look right in a window at work)
  • Bert and Ernie (my best friend and I dressed up like them for Halloween one year. She had to be Bert because she was taller.)
  • The Count (ah, ah, ahhhh)
  • Luis (I don't remember much about him, except for that when my step-dad shaved his beard we teased him mercilessly telling him he looked like Luis. In hindsight, he didn't really....)
  • Guy Smiley (Does anyone remember when he went on a safari and kept scaring the animals with his loud voice? hilarious)
  • Mumford the Magician ( "A-la-peanut-butter-sandwiches!")

I know I'm leaving out a million things (Cookie Monster hosting Muppetpiece theater!..ok I'll stop) What about you guys? Did you watch the show as a kid (or have children that loved it)? What are your most memorable Sesame moments? Favorite characters?

Oh- and if you're longing for more, check out the DVD special- 40 Years of Sunny Days or the special edition book Sesame Street: A Celebration of 40 Years of Life on the Street. Or, log on to a special section of wikipedia, known as Muppet Wiki (and no...I'm not being compensated by Sesame Workshop...I just really love the show!)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Penny for Your Thoughts

It's a beautiful day here in Pittsburgh! There are NO clouds in the sky and it's going to get as high as 70 degrees. 70! Wow!

So I go out on my deck to feel how beautiful it is and I see this:

I look a little closer and I notice this little guy:
There are no leaves and all the other pears have already fallen off and gone bad, but not this guy. He's holding on until the end. Whenever that is. I'm not sure if he'll ever fall off. So as I looked at it, I thought to myself, "If that pear could think and talk, what would it be saying to all the other pears and the leaves?" If I had to guess, I think it'd be saying:

That's if Pears could dance or mad dog you after dancing.

What do you think? What's that pear saying to the leaves and other pears that bailed about a month ago?