Saturday, March 30, 2013


Sometimes you need to get away from the hustle and the bustle.
Where the road to get there has so doubled back on itself that every turn is blind.
Where radio stations cease to exist.
Where you accept that three blankets and smelling like smoke is normal because otherwise you'd be cold. Teeth chattering cold. Three dog night cold. 

That's basically my parents house. I am incredibly fortunate, not only to have a close relationship with my parents, but also to remain close by them. I can shove the dog, the sewing machine and an iPod in the car and in two hours I'm back to home cooked meals and a house full of people. You know, the kind that know you and understand you and love you unconditionally. Mostly unconditionally.
I get to recharge my batteries by doing nothing, or doing everything I want. I can sleep in or go for a run in the morning (yeah, remember those?)- take the dogs or leave Ripley to play with my parents' dogs. I can cook or ask my sister to do it with me. I can sink into that damn couch and nap throughout the day because that's how life moves up here.
I'm sinking, slipping, sliding into calm. And when I come out? I can stand to face the daily grind once more.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Broken #fiveminutefriday

Write. For five minutes straight. One-word prompt, five minutes, no editing. I'm linking up over at Lisa-Jo Baker (aka The Gypsy Mama) where we read, write and encourage.
Five Minute Friday
The jagged edges spread, slowly, seeping, every time we washed it. The division between the painted green and yellow colors, lovingly drawn, painstakingly put down. 

He made it for me. My father. I like to say my artistic expression comes from him- though I'm sure my mom had a hand in it too. 

I didn't ask for much. I wanted something personal. Something handmade. Something I could show my children as we set the table. "Look at Grandpa's bowls! Would you like the stars or the gecko bowl for dinner?"

Dad certainly delivered. Each year a new bowl has come. When you first peer over the porcelain rim, your greeted with a smile. Sometimes it's the wide-mouthed smile of a fish swallowing the worm. Other times it's the bulging eyes of a spotted gecko hiding beneath the fronds, just like they did when we lived on Oahu.

I wanted memories of my dad. And every anniversary he reveals another piece of art for my table and my home. Another piece of us. 

And now it's broken. Leaking and unfit for use. I can't bear to part with the tenacious pieces of bowl- it's three-quarters gone already. 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

End of Watch

As a film student, Mr. E is consistently asked what his favorite movies are. List the top 10. List the top 3. List the top 5. Well, he's still working on that, but I think I can safely say End of Watch is on my list.

This is the second time we've seen this movie- the first was in theatres. So the fact that we bought it, speaks volumes. 
Imdb synopsis: Shot documentary-style, this film follows the daily grind of two young police officers in LA who are partners and friends, and what happens when they meet criminal forces greater than themselves.

As a disclaimer, this movie is not for everyone. It's violent. It's graphic. It made me squirm. It's also incredibly profane- something like number 6 on the list of bad language in a movie.

But there's just something about it.

I don't know if it's the chemistry between the actors- Gyllenhaal and Pena are fabulous. Mostly unscripted, improvised lines and a very down-to-earth sense of humor. Maybe it's the way the movie is shot- like a documentary, like a video game, hand-held, jerky, odd-angles and a shaking picture. You could rationalize it and say that growing up with my dad in the Navy was incredibly similar to how the police operate behind the scenes. The sense of brotherhood, the smart uniforms, the mischief and the quick retorts born from hours with the same people in small confines. 

Whatever it is, I love it all. 

Plus, Anna Kendrick is going to go far.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Little Coat of Paint

We went a little spray paint happy last weekend. Here are a few of our new updates.
The kitchen organizer. What was once a dark red now greets you with a cheery smile every time I walk into the kitchen. In my dream house my kitchen will be bright and airy with pops of happy yellow appliances and dishtowels. This is our first step. Well, technically our third or fourth after my Kitchenaid (Thanks, SallyMom) and my cutting boards (Thanks, Mr. E).
I find I want to be in the kitchen more often (MORE often?) just to look at this thing. I love it. a messy and Valentine-ed-Up office
Then we spray painted our cork boards. This poor room is so neglected. Only a few months before we have to leave and I've finally hit my stride with it. We cleaned, organized and de-cluttered our little hearts out and have finally found a balance to the desk-top, the chair arrangement and the creative corners. While I had initially planned on spray painting both corkboards black (or white), I never got around to it and I'm so glad I waited. The pop of blue was the perfect touch to tie in the other blue tones from around the room. They look so much more cohesive.
After...cleaned up and blue!
A spray-painting party just don't stop, and even Mr. E had to get in on the action. Here's a little sneak peek into our Halloween costume. Yeah, we're starting that early. Let's be honest, though, Mr. E will find any excuse to use this bad boy. When not being flaunted or carried around lovingly (my husband is a giant 3 year old), the shield decorates the office too! Look at those matching blues...
 Lastly, as a little side project, I found this tray in our garage, courtesy of our landlady. While some people would appreciate the original art (hand painted), I was drooling over the shape. 

The hand-joined corners were calling my name and with a little elbow grease and some sandpaper, I was able to sand down the brush strokes and spray painted this a metallic silver. You can still see some of the original flowers, but now it looks like etched metal without all the hassle of cleaning silver.
I can't leave well-enough alone, so I painted a giant spring green stripe down the middle too as sort of an homage to our new duvet cover. I would like to paint something a little more personal on top of that, but I can't decide:
1) Words? A poem, our wedding vows, a song? 2) Symbols? a spoon, a monogram, a fluer de lis? 3) Something geeky? The chemical structure of dopamine? Seratonin? A soundwave of Mr. E's voice?
Decisions, decisions. Ultimately, my goal is to re-paint the nightstands too. Any suggestions?

Butter, baby!

I was given the recipe from a friend at work a few weeks months! ago, but I haven't had the guts to try it yet. I've heard about making your own butter (good grief, the churning) but this seemed like a pretty viable alternative. Plus, you can't beat a recipe that has ONE ingredient and only dirties ONE utensil, amirite?
First of all, I was thoroughly warned to wrap my Kitchenaid. Butter splatters, ya'll. I have a plastic cover for the top of my bowl, but it's not very liquid-tight, so I wrapped up as a precaution.
This is what the cream looks like for the first 15 minutes or so. I ran my Kitchenaid on low for 20 minutes and didn't see any results. So then I turned it up a few notches because I'm impatient and the Internet told me to....
Success! We have some semblance of solids forming, and, being the newbie that I am, I thought I was done. That's creamy enough, right?
 No. This is, in fact, NOT the stage at which you've finished. Silly Brie. Not only did I waffle as to whether I was done or not, I took my plastic wrap off. And then this happened...
What you may not understand through this picture is the FOUNTAIN OF BUTTERMILK THAT MY KITCHENAID BECAME. I applied the plastic wrap again, but I thought I was out of the splash zone. And then that buttermilk really started to separate. And I'm laughing hysterically because I'm trying  to cover a leak spot with my hand, only to realize that buttermilk is squirting out of the back, running all over the counter and my dog is having a field day lapping up everything that has dripped and puddled on the floor. 
It was cathartic. And just what I needed. And thank goodness I had cleaned the kitchen before I tried to do this.
Not pictured? Me bent over the sink for 10 minutes, trying to "rinse" the butter with cold water. Apparently, if you leave buttermilk IN the butter it causes the butter to go rancid faster. So far we haven't run into any problems, but I don't think that's because of my butter-rinsing skills. I also wasn't a big fan of having my hands smell like butter all day. 
Of course I had to make something bread-like so I wasn't tasting the butter solo. Once I felt that I had rinsed the butter enough I sprinkled some salt on (1/4 to 1/2 tsp? I guessed), mixed it up and laid it to rest in the fridge. This butter rocks.
My friend flavors her butter: mint, basil, smoked salt...maybe next time! I can't wait!!
1 qt heavy whipping cream
salt/herbs to taste

Put the cream in the Kitchenaid (properly Saran wrapped!) and turn on medium until it starts to separate. This is a pretty obvious process and will take at least 20 minutes. (Up the speed if this isn't happening fast enough) Strain the butter in a wire mesh seive (could keep the buttermilk) and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Squeeze as much water out as possible, then season and enjoy! 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Close Shave

I feel like I should write a disclaimer to this post. My husband is not quite as BA (badass) as these pictures would make you think. Sorry, babe. I mean, he certainly CAN be pretty intimidating...but on the whole? This is the man who coos like a baby when he sees our dog after a long day. The same man who looks forward to receiving Lego sets as gifts. The one who bought me a Wonder Woman keychain the other day because "I'm AWESOME!!! ;{D"

So when he chooses to look a little like a thug, it makes me giggle.

What happens when you have a newly birthday-ed husband with a week of free time on his hands (his last spring break!), a camera, a will and a way? Your man decides the best use of his time is to make a short movie, starring himself, doing something he's always wanted to do. 
Maybe we should preface this by saying that Mr. E has a very complicated relationship with his hair. He gets frustrated during the summer because his hair is too long. He gets very frustrated during the winter because his long hair won't lie the way he wants it to.
Sometimes he reminisces about a time in fourth grade when his head was shaved. I am incredibly thankful he didn't shave his entire head. I will gladly handle the Puckhawk if only to avoid the Bruce Willis.
We've been seeing a lot of different faces from Mr. E, lately. But today? It's just hair. Or lack thereof. And it'll all grow back.


Monday, March 25, 2013

Love Letter, Birthday Style

To my husband,

We planned and schemed and waited (most impatiently) for when we would be married. We spent four years apart, commuting over and over and over again, just to spend a dinner together. A movie. A car ride.

I felt beautiful in your smile, safe in your eyes and needed in your arms. I trudged through school, through part-time jobs and through fair-weather friends because I knew that you expected more from me. I had to be strong because that's how you saw me. That's what I wanted to be for you. 

It wasn't until later that I realized the changes that you wrought on my thoughts, my habits and my actions. Things I initially did to impress you became second nature. By dating you I improved myself.
Even though we knew early on what our goal was, it didn't stop us from second-guessing ourselves. We waited because that's what was right for us, but every passing month we grew a little more anxious. We didn't know until now that we were building a skill-set that would come in useful later on down the road. Communication. Patience. How to fight fairly and with respect. Compromise. 

After a year and a half of marriage, I know in my heart of hearts that we WON. We were patient. We didn't listen to the naysayers. We didn't focus on the negativity or the distance or the differences between us. Instead we learned from these things and used them to our advantage. 

I hate that you don't cook dinner more often. So I invite you to cook with me. And you do.

I wish you would go to bed with me more often. So I smother you with kisses when I leave for work in the morning. And ask you to make the bed. And you do.

It bugs me that you can't remember to move your recyclables TO the container. So I leave you sweet love letters with to-do lists and silly pictures. And you do it all without complaining.

I'm sure that I do crazy things that flip you out too (picture hanging a million times leaving crazy holes in the wall, obsessive bathroom cleaning) but at the end of the day we share a love and understanding for each other that I will be forever grateful for. 
I married you a long time ago. In a parking lot on a college campus. Each day since then has been the choice to keep going. And I've never regretted that decision.

Your wife.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

LOVED This Week

We celebrated Mr. E's birthday this weekend, though he won't be any older until Monday. We decorated a little, kicked back and enjoyed the company of some of our closest friends. In true scatterbrained fashion, I took only a few pictures, but let's set the scene as best we can...
We strung our outside patio area with streamers and a little garland I made by cutting circles out of some felt and some book pages. I fully massacred said book by wrapping some of Mr. E's presents in book pages too. Too lazy to grab the wrapping paper, and it looked awfully cute.
We grabbed some Little Ceasar's pizzas, made a mix of Cheetos and pretzels to snack on and popped open a few beers. Grilled some fruit skewers and I put-together two ice cream pies; much easier than pinning Mr. E down on a cake flavor.
And then he opened this. Possibly the greatest birthday present in the history of gift-giving, courtesy of my favorite lab partner in crime.
We have four glorious prints and are contemplating hanging one in each room of the house. Where do you think we should hang it? 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Remember #fiveminutefriday

My five minutes haven't started yet! Part of this blog was a personal encouragement (nudge? shove) to write more. And while the NaBloPoMo was fun, one topic for the entire month was...difficult. Challenging. Repetitive. Sister-in-law suggested this: Five Minute Friday. One word topic, five minutes of writing, no editing (NO EDITING, Brie). We'll see how long I can keep up. "We dwarves are natural sprinters. We're wasted over long distances..."--Gimli son of Gloin
Five Minute Friday 

Remember when we came back from our honeymoon? We moved in and suddenly everyone expected us to be together. All the time. We had no qualms, this was something we had looked forward to for months--years! I loved every indulgent smile, every glance you cast my way. We were goofy on love.

Moving in together wasn't as hard as they made it out to be. We fit together. Pieces falling into place, your stuff complemented mine. We rejoiced in the things we had in common (multiple copies of the same book, the same movie, organizers and staplers and pictures). We spent the first week deep-cleaning the bachelor pad. How lucky were we to score the house we rent? Three bedrooms and a yard to boot. Baby, we'll never realize how good we had it until we move.

But we sat down and we soaked it in. We soaked it all in. I tried to be selfish and avoided really looking for a job. I just wanted to be home with you, cleaning and decorating. Two years later and I laugh at all the time I had to myself, but all I wanted to do was please you. You're still the center of my world, the rock that holds me steady, but I've learned to branch out. To do my own thing. You won't hold me accountable if the floors aren't swept. You never cared about hanging the pictures. You sheepishly admit to only making the bed because I expect it.

But we grew together here. We grew closer here. In this house, in these rooms, on this couch we find comfort in just being together. Because we don't have to be apart any more. There's no desperate time crunch. And it's glorious.

And me.

My Stars!

I made this fix a few weeks ago because I couldn't stand looking at the plain-jane colors against our wall anymore. Story of my life.

You'll recall I had big plans for these free frames. I loved the idea of a favorite quote spelled in stickers over a bright colored painting, but the end was just too small, too plain and too gray. It wasn't quite the pop I wanted and I wasn't crazy about the colors underneath anyways. The great thing about painting is how versatile it is. Thank goodness, too.

I decided to reverse the effect- I loved the gray, but for the spot I wanted it, the painting was already above a mostly gray photo mat, so it wasn't visual enough. I was idly searching through color schemes for our bedroom to coordinate with my new duvet cover (I am still impressed by myself with this!) when I came across some beautiful shots of space. You know the ones I'm talking about- the swirling colors, the winking stars, the breathless feeling you get when you realize how infinitesimal we really are.
Frankly, a lot of the beauty to these pictures is how imperfect the miasma is (space clouds? galaxies?). There's a lot of color and a lot swirls and nothing is symmetrical or repeatable. Kind of like a little reminder for my life. At least, that's what helps me sleep at night.

So I got a little creative with my available colors and swirled my little heart out. The back is sort of a navy/black/teal combo and I alternated stars in white, yellow and bright pink. I love the result so much, I almost didn't want to paint over it!
But paint I did. I was still partial to the original quote, but those little stickers weren't cutting it. If there's one thing I do well, it's copy. I can free-hand art and fonts with a passion. Plus, the font I wanted to use was $45. And I still can't figure out how to download a font onto my computer. So I quickly sketched out the quote and arranged it in a few ways for Mr. E to approve. I actually liked the four lined version myself, but he chose the two liner. We're so democratic. 


The gray is actually silver fabric paint- it has a little bit of a sheen to it without being glittery. No problem with a different medium, either. Overall, I LOVE the result. This is exactly the sort of visual impact I wanted and the bright pops of pink and green are exactly the modern colors I wanted in our gray/blue bedroom. Mr. E approved.