Sunday, February 27, 2011

2:30 am: freelancing + oreos

It's 2:30 am and I'm at my computer. That's par for the course these past few weeks. I've been burning the midnight oil on a super secret freelance project. Staying up until 4 am has been the norm lately, as have bloodshot eyes and generally feeling like shit during the so-called waking hours of the day. Yesterday - no wait, the day before yesterday - my left eye developed a twitch. I promptly sought out the advice of Dr. Google and learned that it is caused by stress, fatigue, and lack of sleep. Yup, yup, and yup.

I'm super excited about this project, so it's all worth it, but I feel like I'm back in college pulling all-nighters. I was an architecture major in college and all-nighters were practically written into the curriculum. Lack of sleep was rewarded with bragging rights..."I haven't slept in 72 hours." "Oh yeah? I'm at 84." 

Back then I used to reward myself with treats - bribing myself with cookies to stay up just one more hour:

"If I work until 2 am, I can eat a cookie!"
"Make it until 4 am? Another cookie!" 
"6 am - Sun's almost up. Have a cookie!" 
"8 am - No time for breakfast. Just eat another cookie!"

And now, over ten years later I find myself craving sweets once again to stay motivated to work into the wee hours of the morning. Problem was, we ran out of sweets today. I devoured the last forgotten square of Ghirardelli chocolate that I scavenged from the back of the pantry after dinner, and knew I'd need something else. Saturday night, 10 pm - me working at the computer, Larry watching a hockey game downstairs. And unlike the architecture studio at Syracuse, we don't have a vending machine in the basement. How was I to replenish my supply of sugar?

Larry and often write each other "love notes" that consists of childish drawings or culinary demands.

Make me some cupcakes please. (And leave them behind the dumpster in a duffel bag full of unmarked twenties.)

So I delivered this little note to Larry. Merely, a suggestion:

He laughed. Then the hockey game ended and Larry grabbed his coat and walked down the street to 7-11. Ten minutes later, I had my Oreos. Double Stufs, even. Yes!
So I'm back at my computer, fueled by double creme-filled chocolate wafers, trying to work for one more hour. Took a little break to read blogs and found the following on Marta Writes:

"freelancing is just another way
 of saying you sleep in late
 and stay up 'til morning"


It's now 3:30 am.

I think I need another Oreo.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

surviving winter, part 2: escape it

This looks nice right about now, right?
Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Florida. March 2010.

When I wrote about embracing winter, I mentioned that my favorite way to survive this dreaded season is to escape it. And taking a trip somewhere warm when your home state is buried in snow is pretty much the best thing ever.

I first discovered this in 2004, when Larry and I took our first vacation together - to the Caribbean. He knew that I hated winter, so we traded February in D.C. for some turquoise water and white sand...
Virgin Gorda, BVI - 2004
Virgin Gorda, BVI. February 2004.

Of course, a yearly jaunt to the Caribbean isn't exactly in our budget, but I'm happy to settle for a few days in Florida. Luckily, my Dad owns a condo there - convenient, right? Last March, I packed up my flip flops and spent a few days in South Florida soaking up some sunshine...

View from Dad's balcony:
perfect day at the beach
View from my beach chair:
view from under the beach umbrella
toes in the sand
View while dipping my toes in the clear clear water:
florida coast
dad's condo
Dad contemplates a late afternoon swim:
dad on the beach
Another fun thing to do - ride an airboat through the Everglades:
air boat
air boat tour guide
And look for gators. Found one!
not taken with a zoom lens
The river of grass:
everglades "river of grass"
We always take a tram tour through Everglades National Park. More gators...
she gator and he gator
she gator
"That's a fine piece of tail, she-gator!"
"that's a fine piece of tail"
George, our tour guide:
Also, I have no idea what this sign means, but it cracks me up:
what does it mean?
A congregation of gators:
gators gators everywhere
They look fake. (They aren't!)
they look fake
See ya later, alligator!
time for a swim
swimming gator
swimming gator
see ya later, alligator
Where do you go to escape winter?

Monday, February 21, 2011

messy hair WINNER + a consolation prize!

You guys are awesome! I loved all the photos you sent in for the Messy Hair Contest - and I have to say, you are all a gorgeous group with some totally fantastic hair! Love it!

Before I announce the winner, I wanted to share some of the photos I received:



Lily (who received this as a gift from Sarah):



These next two are so cute, I could die!

Amy's adorable daughter:

And Monica's little sweetie, rockin' the messy hair at a very young age:

And the only guy among the group, Andrew - who's girlfriend Megan, bought this print in honor of his awesome bedhead! Love this - especially, since I have a messy-haired boyfriend of my own. Andrew - you're a great

It was SO tough to be able to pick only one winner - I wish I could give you all free prints! But, since giving away all my art for free probably isn't the best business model, I had to choose just one...

The winner is...Sarah-Kate! Doesn't she have the most fabulous hair?!

Sarah-Kate - you've won a Zinnia print! Please let me know which color you'd like (you may pick from any of the available zinnias in my shop...pssst...I just listed some new colors today!) and where you'd like me to send your print. Congrats!

And since I could only pick one winner, I'm offering up a consolation prize for everyone else - a quick sale until 11:59 pm EST tomorrow (Tuesday, Feb. 22) - just enter coupon code GETMESSY at checkout to receive 
10% off your purchase.

Thanks to you all again for supporting Funnelcloud Studio and for sending in the fabulous pictures - keep 'em 
coming - today, the stunning Keiko Lynn posted her own messy hair pic on her blog which made my day. 
So keep embracing that bedhead, those thick unruly curls, those bad hair days and cowlicks! And even
though the contest is over, keep sending in those messy hair pics - I love to see them!

Friday, February 18, 2011


valentine cookies
Happy Friday! Today was excellent. As soon as I wrote about my hatred for winter (after having several very cold weeks here and some scary freezing wind), the weather turned around and it was an unseasonal 75 degrees today!

Also - Larry is back! He spent the last two weeks on a business trip traveling through Central Asia. His itinerary went something like this: DC > Frankfurt, Germany > Instanbul, Turkey > Dushanbe, Tajikistan > Frankfurt, Germany > Baku, Azerbaijan > Ashgabat, Turkmenistan > Baku, Azerbaijan > Frankfurt, Germany > DC. Or something like that - it was rather hard to keep track of him! Not all of those countries had internet/cell service, but some did - and it was cool to get text messages from him in the middle of the night from the other side of the world. 

He came back bearing gifts from Turkmenistan, including textiles made of camel hair (which the dogs want to eat) and bottles of vodka. I'm sure there will be many stories to tell once he recovers from his adventure - the countries he was visiting were 10 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time, and he just spent 25 straight hours getting back to the U.S., so right now he's crashed out on the bed (and the dogs keep licking his toes). 

I'm very glad he's back.
valentine cookies
Life List #159: Decorate cookies. Check!
I made him these cookies last night as a treat since we weren't able to spend Valentine's Day together. I'm looking forward to a relaxing weekend full of couch time, cookies, and candles. And some Merlot. And maybe a little Turkmen vodka!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

messy hair: last call!

embrace messy hair!
Tomorrow is the last day to enter the Messy Hair Contest! Send in your pics by midnight on Friday to win a free zinnia print from my shop.
embrace messy hair!
I'll pick a winner over the weekend. Check back on Monday to see if it's you!

Good luck!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

surviving winter, part 1: embrace it

DSC_0731 ES crop
Lost River Modern, West Virginia. February 2010.

I am an unabashed hater of winter. I hate cold weather. I hate winter coats. I hate that it gets dark early. I hate scraping my windshield and shivering and tracking snow in the house. Yuck. I hate winter.

Virginia winters are way too cold for me. Northerners are laughing, but we do get cold weather and snow here. And yes, I do have experience with extreme winters, too, since I went to college in the snowiest city in the country. Five years of my life were spent with frozen nipples here:

Brrrr. What was I thinking going to school in Syracuse? I have no effing idea.

Anyway, February is a particularly difficult month for me. I'm so sick of winter by the time February rolls around. Luckily, it's a short month - because other than being able to stuff my face with cookies and chocolates on Valentine's Day, I have no use for this month.

The best way to survive winter, in my opinion, is to escape it and go somewhere warm. Of course, this method isn't always possible, so last year, my strategy was to just embrace it and we took a winter getaway in February to Lost River, WV. If you can't surround yourself with sunshine and white sand, I highly suggest cozying up in a cabin with your closest friends, cooking comfort foods, sitting by the wood stove reading books, and drinking copious amounts of beer.

And I actually enjoy a view like this, especially when it can be seen from my spot on the couch by the woodstove:
2010_02_20 b
Lost River Modern is a fantastic place to visit. It's a modern prefab cabin just two hours from D.C. I love love love the modern architecture and simplicity of this place - a rare find in West Virginia. 
2010_02_20 c
lost river 2010
lost river 2010
And also - it's dog friendly!
2010_02_20 a
lost river 2010
We ate well:
2010_02_20 d
And the non-winter hating boys were willing to walk through the snow to refresh our beer supply:
DSC_0688 E
Here's a video that I made after we returned from our trip last winter:

Lost River 2010 from Funnelcloud Rachel on Vimeo.

See the rest of the photos from our trip here.

So, how do you survive winter? I'm always open to suggestions! (And don't say skiing. I've been once and it ended with me removing my skis and walking down the mountain. I'm more of a hot tub/hot chocolate kind of girl.)