Wednesday, March 26, 2014


As I was googling hotels on the Amalfi Coast last night and stumbled across the apparent truth that Naples, Italy is in fact a garbage dump (literally)-- M and I started to realize we needed more of a solid plan of what we want to do in Italy before we determine where to go, and how long to go there.

Oh yes, did I not mention? We're going to Italy. You see, I was supposed to have been in Paris a few weeks ago, but life had other plans. So, M said he'd go on a trip with me since I had to use the credit I got for my Paris ticket by 9/24/14. This resulted in us planning an entirely different trip to Italy. Don't get me wrong, I want to see Paris, but mostly I agreed to go to Paris because someone asked- and when someone asks you don't say no. BUT truth be told, Italy is higher on my list. It could be the Mediterranean calling me back since my time in Malta.. or it could be the fact that Paris would've just reminded me of why I didn't get to go in the first place. Added bonus, my mom's side of the family is WILDLY Italian (my mom's real, true, full name was Nunciana Anna Lucia ______). See? ITALIAN. So, I thought it'd be a nice nod to the heritage to head to Italy.

We know we want to spend a few days to start off in Rome. I have a good handle on what to do/see in Rome, but I'm struggling with the balance of the trip. You see, I had a loose plan to go south to Naples, and then hit up Capri and some of the Amalfi Coast. I was reading AWFUL reviews last night online about Naples and how dirty it is and how people don't stay there unless they're passing through and I got spooked. So I'm turning to you folks:

We're not DEAD SET on the Amalfi Coast, but it's high on my list, so tell me: have you been to Italy? Have you been to the Amalfi Coast? What towns should we spend time in/stay in? I don't think I'd consider it a waste if we went to a town that only ended up having one major "sight" to see and then just kind of explored like locals, but I do want to maximize the trip.

SO HELP: Any and all Italy advice welcome and wanted. PLEASE. (including best website to plan tours, trips, actual real websites to book trains, busses [these things make me wildly nervous since I have no frame of reference for doing any of this])

Monday, March 24, 2014


I've hyped up this bedroom redo quite a bit that I hope it lives up to expectations. 
A little bit of back story. 
Our bedroom used to be upstairs- we live in a 2 and a half story  house, which means the upstairs is all one room, and there's a pitched roof situation. I posted not all too long ago about the redo we did up there (holy crap was that already 2012..? I take back the "not too long ago" part...) It was better than the first iteration, but I still didn't love it. 
It wasn't a room I liked spending a lot of time in, and would procrastinate going upstairs until the MOMENT I went to bed. 
We originally put our room up there because it made sense- or so we thought- since we'd have a whole floor to ourselves and would be out of the way of any guests. 

Fast forward a few years, and my friend Dana asked to store her furniture in our basement guest room while she lived in the country for a year for a judicial clerkship. She moved back right around Christmas, and with that move- reclaimed her furniture in the basement. I'd told M that eventually- there was no question- we'd be moving to the first floor guest room as our master. When babies come (not for a long time) the office will turn into a nursery, and I didn't want to schlep up and down stairs in a sleep deprived state to tend to said baby. 

SO, couple this knowledge with the timing of Dana's return to the twin cities and next thing you know M and I are looking at mattress sales right around new years. The other thing about having the upstairs bedroom, we would've been limited to a double bed-- there's no way a queen box spring would have fit. So these fortuitous events led us to purchasing a queen mattress and moving downstairs. The first floor guest room furniture then got moved to the basement. This of course triggered some "if you give a mouse a cookie" in me.. and required a remodel. 

There's still some work to be done- we need art to replace the giant flower I painted when this just served as a guest room (I have some ideas, I just need to execute), and we need something for above the bed. I've been very picky and am holding out for the right piece. I also want to get a real, huge, grown up rug that extends out from under all sides of the bed. Our current rug is an IKEA leftover from the last rendition of the living room that is only on my side of the bed. lastly, the biggest unknown is the paint color-- as you'll see the headboard kind of blends with the current color, which I don't love.. but we haven't decided how to handle it (accent wall?).

Without further ado- the bedroom as it it today :)

Source List:
  • Side tables: Target (exact no longer online, but HERE are some similar)
  • Headboard: Overstock (exact no longer online, but HERE is a similar)
  • Lamps: IKEA
  • Ladder: antique store find
  • Wood pallet sign/wood & mason jar decor: DIY (stained the wood chunk, used plumbing accessories to hang the mason jars)
  • Burlap letter pillows: etsy wedding gift
  • Gold tray: antique store find
  • Large gold mirror: free from my uncle, used to live in our living room and was black- I sprayed it out gold and kind of love that some of the black sort of peeks through, it really makes the details pop
  • 4 gold frames: $3 Target clearance frames I sprayed gold, used burlap to back the Instagram printed photos inside the 5x5 matting
  • Floral arrangement is fake from Michaels (vase is from Target)- my cat eats real flowers so we're like 80 year olds with a lot of fake flowers in our house. 
  • Last but not least- would you believe me if I told you that dresser is the same as this one? : 
I assume you'd say yes simply because it's the same shape, but this may be one of the DIY's I'm MOST proud of.. EVER. I stumbled on a website called Ikea Hackers (google it, it's amazing) and saw the 3 drawer version of this dresser stained and hacked in so many beautiful ways.

We needed a long dresser that would tuck in perfectly to a nook created by the wall, and a heat register that juts out from the wall. It had to be no larger than 60 inches, but as close to that as possible. This dresser was about 58 inches and perfect RAW wood at IKEA.

We stained it a red mahogany color which is just insanely gorgeous in real life, polyed it, and then assembled the whole thing in the room. Finally, we swapped out the tacky wood knobs for the same drawer pulls we used in our kitchen-(I love that they tie in to the mirrored side tables so well because they're shiny and mirror-y, too).. we just had to drill an extra hole per drawer front, and voila- a custom, beautiful dresser for $150.--> MY FAVORITE PART. Dressers I was willing to "settle" for were still $250-$300 and still didn't totally fit in our room, with the natural wood ladder and other accents. (Actually we lucked out the two ended up so close in color! I stained the mason jar scrapwood the same color as the dresser, too, but the ladder was thankfully very close in color as it was!)

I'm obsessed. It has the natural elements I wanted with a more modern edge with the drawer pulls and clean lines.

So there you have it, our bedroom so far. It's my favorite room in the house (a close tie with the living room, actually). I finally feel like I'm hitting my groove with "my style" and am finding I can pick out pieces and envision a whole room more clearly than I ever have been able to.

Hope you like!

Sunday, March 23, 2014


Bonus about getting a new phone is that it's actually feasible to upload photos straight to blogger, and then continue to edit a post on the computer. Not that this function didn't exist on my android, it's just that the camera was awful and the chances of the upload attempt working on any given day were about 1 in 10. 

I'm drinking the iPhone kool-aid pretty hard, guys. I love it. 
This weekend was a relatively lazy one, but a good one nonetheless. 
It started with a slow wake up Saturday... due to our absolutely out of control cat, we sleep later on the weekends now. We'd probably wake up around 8:30 or 9 except by that point TJ has been howling and pacing back and forth outside our bedroom for an hour.. which means little actual sleep. We crack, let him in, and then pass back out from mental exhaustion until about 9:30 or 10. 

It's worth it though because-- that FACE.


This particular Saturday involved frittatas.  I even went out and bought a special pan (that we discovered stained our sink slightly from it's maiden voyage earlier in the week: pro tip, do NOT let a cast iron skillet soak in the sink for an extended period of time. Womp.) The frittatas were good though and the ring of grime is now so faint that we've deemed it tolerable. (We being me, I still hear M scrubbing it sometimes in the kitchen). 

This was also my attempt at being sort of artsy with my food photo but it's quite clear I put my frittata on the floor..which I realize is incredibly weird. (So weird that before I did it I told M, "you can't make fun of me for this." -- he did. 

{Paranoid TJ hears the mailman- firmly believes death is imminent.}

Friday night M and I went to a place called Pig and Fiddle- sort of a modern take on scandanavian comfort food. It was delicious.

Saturday my streak of bad luck (scum ring, included) continued when in less than 5 minutes I managed to crack the side mirror of our new-ish car, and then crack the bumper. I realize how incompetent this makes me sound and I'm livid it happened, but the bumper was solely a result of the overcorrection after realizing what happened to the mirror. OH and lest I forget to mention, earlier in the week a rock flew up and hit the windshield and left a small nick. 

I came back in the house (after making a barely-composed trip to the post office after doing the damage to the car) SOBBING to which M of course responded very panicked.. lord knows what he thought happened.. and I proceeded to curl into a ball in his lap and cry "don't be made at me!" .... I'm such a grown up, guys. 

After sitting perfectly still for a few hours (lest I break anything else) and being emo a good majority of the afternoon, M and I went out to eat again- this time to Pig Ate My Pizza (notice a  theme? Piggy weekend? GET IT!?)

This is kind of a hipster bar/restaurant (very tiny, no reservations, but SO worth the wait) with some gourmet artisan pizzas. The owners of this also own a spot called Travail -- which is a way more high end restaurant. The food was delicious and the company wasn't so bad either. :)


{philly cheese steak pizza.. to die for.}

Sunday I went to a barre class after reading Lisa's post about it and realizing my Liftime offers barre classes for free that a lot of people pay a lot of money at a special studio to attend, so I figured I should make the most of my gym membership.

Holy. crap. I. hurt.-- muscles are burning that I wasn't sure existed before (so cliche) but it was such a great work out. It's something I hope to keep up since it's on a Sunday, and not TOO early..and maybe if I make my way over there every week I'll be more consistent with grocery shopping on a set day too since they're right next to each other- which is what I did today and it was fantastic.

I may post more about it later this week but basically it's a bunch of small, tight movements (ballet centered) that you repeat over and over. My thought process each rep went something like this "oh, holding these itty bitty weights and pulsing my arms up and down? I got this... 2-3-4..okay this is starting to hurt a little... 5-6-7-.. it's embarrassing how much pain I'm in.. 8-9-10.. AAGHHHHH"... hurts so good.

Tonight we went to my dad's.. two of my mom's high school friends brought over dinner and visited for a while, which was nice.  I got home, prepped lunch for the week, and am hoping to squeeze in a nail-paint session (BADLY needed) and some reading before bed.

Anyway, that's about it. Hope you all had a good weekend! I took some bedroom photos, that I'll post this week. It's not finished, but it's as finished as it's going to be for a little while now (need to decide about a paint color.. you'll see..and a little bit more more art, a new rug eventually.. but otherwise it's pretty much done). I've never been so in love with a room.. our bedroom upstairs went from a place I'd only go when it was time for bed- it was cold, darker, and so not cozy... to now my absolute favorite room in the house. :) Can't wait to share it. 

Friday, March 14, 2014


It was at about 12:45 a.m. last night (this morning?) that I realized Matt and I have raised a furry little monster manipulator.

When our room was upstairs, we wouldn't let TJ sleep with us during the week. He generally ran amok around 3 a.m., which meant waking up, locating him, trying not to fall down the stairs, as we kicked him out and shut the door. Sleep usually came pretty quickly and peacefully after that.

However, moving our room downstairs has created a problem we didn't anticipate.
We've sort of let him sleep in our room now during the week, but usually only if it's a non-morning-workout day for Matt or I.. because we need some good sleep those nights. Apparently TJ has enjoyed this a little too much, because he goes BALLISTIC when we don't let him in the room.

You people with dogs and no cats are probably eye rolling and wondering, "how much of a ruckus can a tiny 8 pound cat make...?"

Well, two things happen in our house now. We either let him sleep with us until about 4 when he gets annoying and we boot him.. he usually eats soon thereafter and is not as big of a pain, or the alternative- we leave him out of the room from the start, and what happened last night unfolds.

12:45 a.m., TJ must have finally realized it's bed time and he wasn't invited. He's PISSED. He starts with a small mewl. "waaa....................waaa waa. waaa."

He waits maybe 30 seconds before realizing he's not being acknowledged. His mewl turns into a louder wail. I say wail, and not meow, because it's not a typical cat meow. It actually sounds like he's screaming. Have you seen the screaming goats video? That's my cat. "AAAHHH, ... AHHHHH."

45 seconds go by, he's at DEFCON 1 now (fun fact, 1 is actually more severe than 5): "BLLAAHH!!! BLAAHHH!! BLAAHHH!!!" he then begins his assault on 2 fronts and starts THROWING HIMSELF at things. The door. The old dresser sitting in the office. He'll rear up and start to mess with our doorknob. It'd be hilarious (still kind of is) if I wasn't so tired. I weigh my options, because upstairs we could ignore his howls through the door or even with a pillow, he's so ornery not even a pillow over my head will help. I open the door and surrender (I'm going to be a great mother) and see him standing there. He lets out a cheerful little "Mrawr!" and is just purring and purring.. happy as a clam. He runs over to the bed, hops in, lays down, and purrs so hard he can barely breathe.

All of this to only get booted at 4 a.m. again when he decides its time to run back and forth on the headboard.

I've created a monster.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


I wanted to check in.
First of all, thank you all so much for reaching out.. for the kind words. They're appreciated more than I can say.

I miss writing.
I miss it so much I ordered a journal that Sarah recommended.
I want to be able to be honest here, but there are things that I just don't want to memorialize on the big world wide web for anyone to stumble across.

That doesn't mean I won't talk about my mom on here, and how I'm doing, and that I'm having a sad day.. because that's all true, and I'm sure I'll talk about that. I don't want it to be all that I talk about, though, because it's..surprisingly enough.. NOT my entire world right now.

Outwardly I'm sure I look fine to people, and to be honest 75-80% of the time, I feel it too. That's because I refuse to let myself dwell on it for too long. Because if I admit to myself that I'm not sure she understood what was happening to her, that I believe she wasn't ready to go, and that she seemed scared: If I think about those things for even a second too long and I let myself go, I cease to function. The reality of the matter is, I'm an attorney, and I have to function. Everybody else is slowly moving on with their lives, and while nobody will forget about my mom... I need to start to move on, too.

I do let myself go to that place, sometimes.. because I know it's important to think through everything, to let myself feel these things, but I'm usually only comfortable doing that privately (or with Matt around, obviously). I've had some (what I've perceived as) incredibly irrational thoughts the last few weeks.. and in emailing with people who have also lost a parent.. I've come to realize they're actually not all that irrational.

I'm in this weird place with this blog. I don't want it to be the only thing I talk about (because it's not the only thing I think about) but I also feel fucked up writing about what I did this weekend, like nothing happened. There's guilt there, and I know nobody would think that about me, but it's still something I'm feeling. I also don't want to be that girl who only talks about her dead parent because that is heavy and sad. People are all heavy and sad with you in the immediate aftermath of something like this.. but they move on faster. There's nothing wrong with that, it wasn't their mom, and they can still feel sad for you, but they likely won't have the random waves of emotions, or still feel it as acutely, as I have been. For example, the other night Matt and I were driving home from somewhere. We'd had a great night out, I was fine all night- happy, laughing, having a good time- and I just burst into tears in the car. My thought process?: I was having a good night and my mom was dead and how was this all possible and that was really fucking sad. Matt looked over and in a very panicked voice asked "sweetie, what's wrong?!"... The tone in his voice told me he wasn't sure what the root cause of the tears was. I'm honestly not sure if it was in response to this car-cry or a different one (I do my best crying in the car) but I snapped, "my mom's dead. that's what's wrong."

I don't blame him for that, I understand he's never been with someone who has lost a parent, and he hasn't lost a parent (or another equally close relative) himself.. this is as new to him as it is to me. So when I burst into tears a few weeks from now, months, years.. I don't expect everybody to automatically associate it with my mom's death. Sometimes it won't be about that, but sometimes it will be.

I've come to find out that's totally normal. But, that's precisely why this just isn't the space for me to talk about some of the deeper, more personal things I'm feeling.

I'm not 100% sad, and I'm not 100% okay.
I also just have been really busy. Besides dealing with the aftermath of her death, the funeral and everything that entails, the case I'd had at work set to go to trial in 2 weeks absolutely exploded.. thankfully we've gotten a continuance but there's a lot to be done there, so that's been a source of anxiety. My family and I have signed up to do the M.S. walk, so I've been working on the website, getting donations, designing T-shirts, and will be planning a reception after the walk. I've agreed to host a bridal shower for Leah in April, so.. I've been brainstorming for that. And..due to some recurring car drama with M's Malibu, we've been shopping for (another) new car - - this time to lease. So, there's been carpooling, car shopping, and just in general a pain in the ass.

OH and did I mention I was supposed to be in Paris this past week? I cancelled the trip the morning my mother passed away not knowing her funeral (last Tuesday) would take place in time for me to have still gone (last Wednesay). Although with the work dramz, it's probably a good thing I was in town. So, I'm also in the early stages of planning a do-over trip with M to Italy late this summer, since I have to have my travel completed using the ticket credit by 9/24 (ironically- my mom's birthday).

That was disjointed and rambly, but I needed to say things. I'll be around. I'm getting an iphone this weekend most likely, so be on the lookout for higher quality cat photos on Instagram. (kellybea14).

Monday, March 3, 2014


As a blogger, there are certain posts you "plan" in your head before they happen.
Getting engaged,
wedding recaps,
baby announcements.

Then there are other posts that you just never plan on writing.. and you have no idea how to start it, or how to end it or how even to SAY the thing because no words can do it justice and because it seems ridiculous that it's something you even need to say.

On February 27th, at 3:45 in the afternoon, surrounded by her family, my mom passed away.

I've said the words "my mom died" over and over again since that moment...sometimes they come out very factually. They're my new normal. Sometimes I just sit and repeat it silently in my head and it sounds so stupid. Did that all really happen? Two weeks ago today I was sitting at work and everything was fine..and 2 weeks later I'm sitting at work and nothing is fine.

To make a long story short, she was admitted 2 weeks ago with a bladder infection. Something that is relatively common for a person with a permanent catheter. She was actually at the same hospital for the same thing about a month ago. I got the call from my dad Tuesday that they were going back to the hospital, he thought it was another UTI, and I just said "okay" and went about my day. I didn't go to the hospital until Wednesday. The severity of the situation started to set in somewhere in those 24 hours. She was on a respirator this time, because the staff was nervous about her breathing/swallowing abilities.

We were asked if we thought about the possibility of her dying within the year. The answer was no. 3 years? 4 years? 5 years? I think we were prepared for that. Or so we said. That quickly devolved to 6 months..and when pressed by my brother, the doctor said realistically she may not make it more than a few hours after the tube was removed and if she did? We were still looking at a week or 2, max.

You go through some weird stages of acceptance and sadness when you have a mom with a degenerative terminal disease. You KNOW your whole life she will not live a full life, you spend time thinking about what the end will look like. It won't be the M.S. that does it, the M.S. will cause something else to fail. Still, you think you have an idea of how it will go.. my dad, my brother, myself.. we all had different ideas.

After being told this on Thursday, we lived at the hospital for the following week. We left a few times for a few hours, to shower, eat, grab some clothes.. but we otherwise had a routine at the hospital. I slept on the tiny convertible sofa (several nights with M, when he was there), my brother was on the floor, dad was on the recliner next to her bed. We'd wake up early with the sun, and the morning shift of nurses. Get coffee and breakfast in the cafĂ© downstairs, speculate who would be by to visit that day. Spend time staring out the 10th floor window onto downtown St. Paul. Watch morning rush hour..and then evening rush hour. Grab dinner downstairs or order in. Settle in for the night, which was usually the best time of day. It was quiet, and calm.

I don't know what else to say about it right now.. it was the longest and shortest week of my life.
I'm sure I'll write more about some of this as I work through it all myself. Her services are tomorrow.
I'm not abandoning the blog.. I'm just not sure what my posting will look like the next few weeks. So, bear with me.

I'd be remiss if I didn't say thank you for all the love and support that my family has been extended. It's been overwhelming in the best way possible. I had this idea in my head that people want to be "left alone" when things like this happen, and I've discovered that is almost universally NOT the case. A quick text, an offer of food.. they mean everything. So, thank you.