blowing off the dust here.

 saving mr. banks. not an oscar film, but magical.

i've told this story before, but bestie jen and i make it a point to see all the oscar nominated movies every year. it's our thing. like, my mom called me one day to check in and she mentioned that she was going to a craft show with her friend and i was like, "yuck" and she was like, "aubry, it's our thing. we've gone every year since 1986." craft shows are their thing, art house movies are our thing. we tackle this with diligence, as if it's homework to be done and checked off (but much more fun).

it can get a little bit crazy, though, like when we saw "the reader" together - a movie about a couple who reads together NAKED. naked, naked, naked. they're just naked all the time. and they're never cold. or ever inclined to cover up. they're just nakeddddd (but beyond that, it's the best story. if i can close my eyes for the first 45, there's a nazi twist and it's so heartbreakingly tragic). or when we walked into the broadway theater and saw a movie poster for "black swan" with a caption that called it a "psycho-sexual thriller"... we looked at each other and said, "there's no one in this world i'd see a psycho-sexual thriller with if not you." those are the ties that bind.

this year, though, we're having a rough go. bestie jen had a seizure last month and was diagnosed with epilepsy... and until they can get her meds figured out just right, she's down for the count. don't tell her.... i might sneak out for the rest of the movies on our list without her (insert teeth gritting and wide eyed emojis here). 

i say it every year, but there are some exceptional movies playing this year. this year is SO GOOD! thankfully they're still playing most of them in the theater. pre-seizure, we saw "american hustle" and "saving mr. banks". american hustle was hilarious and so very well acted. on top of everything, like shortie shorts costume design that showed off christian bale's hairy high thighs and a hair/make up team that single-handedly kept the perm solution business afloat, american hustle introduced me to the "science oven" and for that i'll be forever changed. saving mr. banks was a dream come true for this mary poppins. sadly, since letting the blog slip and allowing instagram to take command in my social networking, the mary poppins persona is nearly a ghost of blogging past. i still love her practically perfect ways as much as ever before. the story was a little bit tragic, which i'm always good for. happily ever after story lines never fooled me.

i rented "captain phillips" to watch at home and ohmygosh i was paralyzed in fright for two and a half hours. it was a good year for tom hanks, even if the academy chose to ignore it.

i can't wait to see "dallas buyers club" - it's already out on dvd, so getting it under my oscar viewing belt is a slam dunk.... i haven't heard much about it until now, but it's got to be worth $1.25 at the redbox.

and "philomena" is supposed to be heart-wrenching, which is right up my alley.

"12 years a slave"is going to rip me apart, but i love a good emotional moment in a dark theater. kind of cleansing, no?

"nebraska"! coen brothers! black and white! father-son-ness!

"gravity" was intense. i held my breath for two hours straight. also a little bit cleansing and refreshing. like all of my body's adrenaline zipped through every single vein, chamber, and blood-carrying channel of my body and i walked out of the theater awake and alert and completely stunned. 

i'm becoming ever-the-prude these days, though, so i absolutely can't hack "the wolf of wall street". the parental guide on imdb did me in! after listening to this demoralizing interview with leo decap, i'm very well over him + his ego. and even "her". on good word from like-minded movie-going friends, i hear her isn't worth it. again with the prude biz.

important things to be blogging after a very long hiatus, don't you think?


no sleep till christmas.

i've pushed 400 felt balls orders... and probably 100 custom art orders... out the door in the last three weeks and i'm tired. 

^ felt balls and love actually.  
"there is nothing worse than the total agony of being in love."

the other day, a friend commented on an instagram post of mine about working on sunday afternoons. she warned me that i'd burn myself out if i didn't break for the weekends. but in my head - sunday afternoons are the most ideal. the longest stretch of time to be home without distractions. a sunday afternoon is a pot of gold at the end of my week. because, remember... i have a real job and daylight, waking hours is reserved for that one. nights and weekends are reserved for felt balls and art and and endless netflix instant queue and consuming every mediocre movie available for stream. but today is the day i wrap it all up and put the shop on hold for the holidays. 

wrapping up my last order reminded me of the feeling i felt each semester of college after i took my last final. there was that odd minute of time where i had nothing to do before i went home for christmas break. instead of living with a to-do list 58 items long constantly breathing down my neck for the last three months, my to-do list was suddenly zapped and the ability to do nothing felt completely foreign. the mind-racing and the constant nose-to-the-grind-stone mode i had been in still fluttered inside, but i could hold still for a minute, look around, and think "i don't have anything to do." and then, of course, i'd break loose with a roommate dance session and we'd go for the best frozen yogurt the world's ever experienced (seriously, why has no one ever replicated millhollow's tart raspberry with circus animals?) and 44 oz. diet coke.

point being. my must-do list is gone for a few weeks and i woke up this morning with a mile long list of like-to-do's:

i want to go out to lunch with my friends.
i want to hold their babies.
i want to watch terrible movies while we craft. and then keep on crafting.
i want to vacuum my whole house with my new vacuum.
i want to dye bottle brush ornaments.
i want to plan new spaces in my house with stacey.
i want to make a doll house for sophie.
i want to make a really big pom pom to sit on top of a beanie.
i want to watch the holiday (not included in the terrible movies category) and love actually on repeat.
i want to get a head start on oscar season movies with jen.
i want to eat at eva's bakery in the early morning.
i want to see the grand america at christmas.
i want to schedule an install on my new stove.
i want to sleep until i'm not tired anymore.

and i'm going to fit it all in if it kills me.


a few november things:

before november is no longer november, here are a few november-y things:

01. my birthday was ridiculous. 

the good kind of ridiculous. see, i live my life surrounded by all these people who are like, "you deserve it" (anything... they're always telling me i deserve _______. a shopping day at j.crew because i'm a girl living in the corporate working world. eight more plates for the plate wall because i'm a working girl who doesn't have to spend my disposable income wardrobing my growing children. a weekend at a hotel for my birthday because...... i don't know. i just do.)  so on top of a weekend at the little america downtown with my favorite friends, i invited 40 friends to dinner on saturday night. there's no such thing as a restaurant that can host a group of 41, but i ignored that detail and invited anyway, because i deserve it.

when wayyyy more people rsvp'd than i imagined would (who likes me that much anyway?) i asked bestie jen to call and adjust the reservation for me - i was afraid! she was met with the expected "a group that big is considered and event and we don't do events on weekends" and she was like, "you're right. aubry's birthday is An Event." and that pretty well sums up the weekend. it was An Event and lived up to everything i wanted it to be. all my friends in one place, good food, and lots of laughs.

 02. i just bought myself the lulie wallace calendar. 

but i came across this gem and mineral one and i'm currently working through the justification process for both ("you deserve two calendars! you're a working girl who needs to know the dates of the month at work AND at home!")

or, i may just order the cards and create a precious stone shrine in a corner of my house somewhere.

p.s. i love florals in an odd way that i never thought possible in my growing up life. i love old lady florals. bright and gaudy and competing with three other florals in all the same place. if you know me in real life, this is strange.

 03. i will hack this anthro garland.

i bought sheets of felt at the craft store, enough for thirty feet of garland for both me and holly. helllo saturday afternoon!

04.  i'm going to be on studio 5.

on monday. talking about felt balls. it's my television debut and i'll say balls, like, forty three times in three minutes. who ever would have thought?


holiday balls.

i gave up my maypole blog - who reads blogs anymore? - to focus on spreading the word about balls and letters on instagram.

but these photos deserve to go down in the history of my life. they're too good. (thanks to andi!)

hello maypole holiday ballllllz:

and yes! french toast ball!


irrational logic.

there's a joke/continual conversation with bestie jen about food in bed (or, rather, anywhere other than the kitchen table). i don't mean to call her out here, but i once stopped by her house and saw a bowl of something sitting on her nightstand and did a mental check. "are you eating in bed? are you okay?"

i guess i get the coziness of it all - comfort food wrapped in comfort, maybe while netflix streams on. but in my head, food in the bed place is the first step to becoming like the guy on the tlc documentary who is so large he actually can't get out of bed. instead, he's rigged a pulley system to drop money down the window for the chinese delivery guy who, in turn, deposits a platter of sweet and sour take out.

food in bed, y'all. it's a real, irrational thing for me.

that's the long way to say - i ate a cupcake in bed last week, it was that bad. call in the professionals when things get savory, but for now, just a snacky sweet tooth birthday treat.

things were looking pretty low that day. over-worked, over-programmed, over-committed, over-everything'd and after all my energy had been spent three times over for the fifth day in a row, i was buried in a fresh pile of new work and given a double dose of bum news.

my usual approach to bad news is to ignore it - to crawl under my desk and pretend like i'm asleep and never heard it in the first place. i reject it. and after a minute of shock, i blitz into working up Plan B. so here's the other piece of irrational logic that plagued me last week, which i kind of wrote about here when i described my insecurity of being no one's first place: i live with absolute doubt that anything i (more than anxiously) plan will actually happen because of circumstances out of my control. i can be 90% excited for the weekend's plans, but i'm secretly 10% holding my breath while curled in the fetal position because something more important could snatch up the place/time/attention reserved for me at the very last minute by someone's number one priority.  what a relief (and foreign thought) it would be to know that i had a built-in, sealed up, safety net of reliability.

it's a terrible way to be. i work really hard to replace unnecessary the-sky-is-falling thoughts with thanks for actual, confirmed blessings. there are eight hundred great things about my life and my network of people and i don't discount a single one of them. it's just, a work in progress.


bags i want.

i guess if i had to choose, i'd choose to be a bag girl. not a shoe girl, not a designer denim girl, and i'd even give up my lipstick collection to be a bag girl.

i'm eyeing all of these. i keep telling myself that if i find the perfect brown leather bag (which i'm not convinced i've found yet), than i'll never buy another. years and years of use and weathering that only gets better with time? i'd like to think i'd be happy with it forever, but i think i'm kidding myself. there are too many good looking bags.

i'm swooning MAJOR over the nena and co bag as well as the one from schoolhouse electric. i think i'd do a back flip and a toe touch if either of these were mine.


state of the union.

 if i got to choose a state, i'd choose baby scotty and that chair for an indefinite amount of time.

the state of the home:

i've lived in my house for 7.5 years and it appears that the average shelf life of my major appliances is 7.5 years because everything is/has broken. last year it was the air conditioning. the year before that it was the dishwasher. this year it's the stove. three months ago, it was the stove top AND the oven. but $350 fixed that, and now it's just the stove top. the $150 fix didn't fix it, and it's looking like it might be the $400 fix. $350 + $400 is practically enough for a new range entirely.

if someone gave me $1000 to buy a new one right now, i'd take it and keep saving my pennies for the other hundreds-of-dollars-things i was already saving for. (a car, a plane ticket to hawaii, a new mattress.) but as it is, i come home with enough time to wash my face, take my pearls from my ears and slink into bed. it takes me three seconds to fall sleep. and so, in those three seconds, i ask myself... did i need my stove today? the answer is usually no. i haven't worried about the $1000 problem enough to make a move.

except on saturday mornings, when all i want a scrambled egg on a piece of buttered wheat toast, i really wish i had a working cook top. 

the state of the workplace:

i've never questioned my ability to do my job more than i have in the last few months. the real kind of "am i actually any good at this?" shake of my confidence and i love/hate what it's doing to me. the thing is, i know i do it well. i would have been fired seven years ago if i wasn't any good. but there's a new little devilish dynamic that has me in a ball of worthlessness nearly everyday. missus competitive here, though, is out to prove 'em  wrong.

 the state of my emotions:

i cried twice in one week. once while watching parenthood (when the soldier proposed to mae whitman). that one surprised me because that triggered my sappy emotions - emotions i didn't know i had. it wasn't one of my typical tear triggers like drug abuse or paralysis, it was just a sweet moment which has me seriously afraid for what's next - a tolerance to british heroine novels?

i also cried while listening to elizabeth smart read the audio to her new book. there's a chapter in the book that she details brian david mitchell's "revelation" to obtain a new wife while they were camping in san diego. he demands that she be mormon, like elizabeth, and pure. in order to find her, he would visit the lds chapels in the nearest town to their camp which happened to be my hometown of el cajon. there were only so many mormon girls in el cajon in the fall/winter of 2002-2003 and i was one of them.

i was putting my make up on at the time and when i heard her say "every lds chapel in el cajon" and "find a new wife" i dropped my tools, covered my mouth in the truest form of disbelief and i immediately started to cry. they were really mixed up tears of creepy ooks because it hit too close to home. it was very violating to know the evil and manipulative brian david mitchell mingled where i mingled and was in pursuit of something so disturbing in the safe place of my church building. it was also so humbling to hear that we, the collective female mormon population, was saved.

but also, the story goes on to say that he "chose" his girl and was invited into her home by her father who had invited brian david mitchell to family dinner after church.  SCOTT BENNION WOULD HAVE DONE THAT. scott bennion HAS done that, plenty of times. and that's why i cried the most.

speaking of emotions, bestie jen had a baby and my heart has burst one thousand times since wednesday for that baby boy.

the state of my birthday: 

we're in the t minus three weeks stage and i had a thousand grand plans. i want to stay at this hotel with all of my greatest friends (sleepover!). i want to make myself a cake like this. and i want just the most simple piece of decoration to liven up the place.

i have irrational no-one-will-come-to-my-birthday-party anxiety, so i don't know if the hotel stay will really happen, but my birthday falls on a weekend, so i refuse to let that go unnoticed.

since i will never not like things and birthdays seem like a good excuse for things, i've got my eyes on a couple of bags. like a baggu duckbag and a customized weekender from saturday. or maybe i just want to pass the basket for donations to the new stove?

in case you choose the weekender, here's my preferred customization:

but my dad called last night and offered up a week in maui if i bought my own plane ticket. the rest would be covered. how can i say no? maui > all the other half baked birthday plans i've made. my friends will celebrate me on another day, won't they?

the state of the balls:

andi and i had a photoshoot in boise last weekend and we filled her mailbox with 400 balls AND topped our drippy buttermilk syrup-y french toast with felt balls. it was so fun and andi is a dream with the camera.

i'm preparing myself for christmas time ball needs and if all my math is right, imma need, like, 34,000 felt balls this year.


a few months ago, i placed my largest order to date and my main man raj threw in a free trivet. (buy 13,000 get one free). on that trivet was one lonely mustard felt ball and i wanted more so badly. when i felt gutsy enough, i emailed him asking how i could get some of those. he threw a small bag of mustard in my following order and i did a round off back tuck of joy. from north salt lake all the way to nepal, i've got a guy and he gets me what i want. this felt ball biz is the nuttiest thing to have happened to my life.

between all that and the rest of the undocumented, the state of the union boils down to one thing: no sleep til christmas.


chaos, rinse, repeat.

i stuff orders, experiment in the kitchen {with a broken stove, go figure}, i PR the engineers, i craft, i dine with friends {the best thing to happen to womanhood}, i schlep balls, i attend "events" in the name of hello maypole {and love it!}, i feel the need to fill every spare second with a project, and i feed the ever-hungry need to furnish my house with real furniture. bye bye ikea and mid-nineties hand-me-downs.

but do you see the chaos of this collage? that's my life, all day and all night. someone shoot me with a tranquilizer.



the idaho routine.

there goes an unwritten law that when a three day week comes, i go to idaho. the corporate holidays are sparse for so much of the year {but we really bring it home at thanksgiving and christmas}, i'd be foolish not to celebrate them for all their worth.

boise to be exact. and andi's house to be even more so.
we do nearly the same thing every time i come... our friendship is a well-oiled machine. no need to change things now.

^ me and andi doing what we do: shopping for fancy things for cheap.

the routine goes like this:

i pack on thursday night so i'm as ready as i can be when my friday work day is over. or not over... but i leave town anyway.

there's always a diet coke and red vines for the road at the gas station.

and tacos {texturized vegetable protein!} at jack in the box in burley... because that's the nearest jack in the box to salt lake city and it's not to be taken for granted.

going on six years now - or something - we've got this dirty little habit of ordering crazy bread {the cheese one and plain ol' crazy. sauce for me, none for andi} and renting really crummy movies from the redbox. we're talking really really bad movies. vampire/werewolf ones, the roommate, valentine's day, sucker punch, and this time: the host. we'e got stephenie meyer to thank for so much waste that's entered our minds. i fall asleep every time... except for the host. i'm so disappointed in myself for allowing that to hold my attention more than any other.

we pause the movie at least three times before it plays on for good. andi's husband spencer and i are really good politics talkers together. he's the only one i really enjoy talking politics with. and so, we break down the weightiest of matters by the glow of the lcd screen and a really short loop of the most dramatic piece of the movie soundtrack.

andi always does her research for a new shop to scope... or a restaurant to try for the first time. we're uncovering every hidden gem in boise, one shop at a time. this time, we tried the boise fry company.
nine varieties of potatoes, and just as many sauces and flavored salts. i liked the purple potatoes with jalapeno salt.

we also hit the antique world. hundreds of consignment spaces from individual antique collectors. fancy things and kitschy things... and a lot of comic books? but just as many hudson bay and pendleton wool blankets, so all was well. i scored four hand painted glasses. i have a cupboard full of drinking glasses.... but i actually really hate all of them. really big plastic tumblers and the like. so i'm starting fresh! cheers!

olive and i paint nails. andi pulled my weight this time while i told stories, but we did it, nonetheless.

somewhere, always, there's at least three runs to mcdonald's for diet cokes and a grocery trip for ice cream or the ingredients of a new recipe we're dying to try. most everything is consumed while we're watching crummy movies. 

we go downtown with fingers crossed for good deals in the anthropologie sale room. there's usually a try-on party in the extra large dressing room {proof, proof, proof!}. they know our drill by now.

and a project! always a project! except this time, kind of. we can tinker with a project between naps and shopping and eating and shopping and eating and shopping and eating and while we watch crummy movies... but we just didn't have a project we were dying to work on! in most cases, we'll hit home depot and hobby lobby on day one and work through the weekend. but this time, we were project-less until the last day... after all my bags were packed and i was nearly out the door... and i needed to snap a really quick photo for a hello maypole instagram announcement. i ran to her playroom for a quick photo and landed in the jackpot of photo props. our minds went into a tail spin and we pulled all the best farm animals from the shelves and searched for the best light in the house and tricked harrison into playing with felt balls in his dump trucks. 

hello: most advantageous andi-the-doer-aubry-the-watcher project ever!

some time on monday between 3 and 4 in the afternoon, i start to get a little melancholy. my body goes limp and i start to frown and pout because it's time to go home. the drive home is one hundred times worse than the drive there {it's a well known fact that the drive along i-84 is not that glamorous and really really boring, especially done solo.} we hug it out and i attack the children with kisses. andi + crew stand in the drive and wave me out until i'm all the way down the road, entirely out of view.

i hit the same shell gas station on pine and eagle for my last idaho diet coke and more red vines.

it's a good time every time. i'm always {alwaysalwaysalways} scamming and scheming for ways to move, permanently and forever, to boise. i love that place. 

oh! and this time.... just this time...  we got a sunday afternoon little nature hike in above the botanical garden. we just happened to take advantage of the free sound bouncing off the stage where sara bareilles was performing. bonus!

we also reunited with our best best best shanty friend, danny and his family, fresh boise transplants. it was the best news! built-in shanty reunions with all of our best and favorite ones! andi and i gushed and gushed and gushed some more about what quality people we have in our lives - danny being the cream of the crop. we're talking the creamiest.

we are all so excited to have each other back in each others lives after nearly 10 years of post college life. our worlds still proudly revolve around the shanty.


beauty night!

my best skin care guru christina and i are hosting a beauty night!
this night could go a million ways - and we'll let it go where you take it - but wouldn't it be so fun to get  together and dish about our favorite products and beauty routines? 

i know what i like - specific brands and shades - and christina is smart enough to tell me why i like it. we'll dish about high and low price products, the ones we shouldn't skimp on if we want pretty skin when we're sixty and the drugstore alternatives that will do just fine. 

i'll bring nail polish, my clarisonic, and my favorite sugar scrub... and probably some caramel popcorn, too.  no doubt you all have something to teach me too.... i want to hear your beauty secrets too!

we'll meet at dr. jennifer boyden allen's office - portica - in foothill village and if you're so inclined... she'll be around for private consultations {ask her anything!... this is your chance!} and even botox and fillers if you're brave enough! 

email me at its1116 at gmail dot com with an r.s.v.p. or any questions!