Monday, February 1, 2016

Check It Out: Apartment Therapy Review + I'm A Murderer

At first blush, Apartment Therapy’s Complete + Happy Home by Maxwell Ryan and Janel Laban appears to be, well, adorable.  With my initial flip-through (I always read magazines beginning from the back and new books with lots of photos tend to receive the same treatment), I found plenty of inspiration which required little to no actual reading to implement. That’s enough to get me excited about a book like this but it’s rarely enough to earn it a spot on my bookshelf for long. If it’s not strictly art, it’s going to have to be a mainstay. You’ve simply got to earn your keep.  

Thankfully, this book fits the bill very well. It covers everything from choosing floors to caring for them, which I can appreciate. If you’re moving or redesigning a room, it also covers that stuff pretty well. My favorite bits are about hanging art (my current gallery wall is positively dizzying), creating organized work and creative spaces, and making the most of itty bitty kitchies (aka kitchens for those who barfed at my rhyming attempt - sorry?).
The short little section about indestructible houseplants really hit home for me. As the holder of the trophy for most plants killed (I’m a MURDER!), I'm eternally grateful for any advice on the subject (please feel free to comment to this botanically challenged dum-dum). However, I know for a fact that I’ve already driven one pot of rosemary to an early grave so the list is already suspect. Either that or they weren’t counting on this prize fighter. Whatever the matter, I’ll have to do my research before I bring anything home. I also haven’t researched any of the plants they recommend to determine if they’re pet-friendly yet. If I ever get around to doing that, I’ll be sure to update you. If you’re like me, you’d prefer your pets to be indestructible, as well. Most of them, anyway. 
I kid. I kid.
As a long-time reader, I tend to love what I find on the Apartment Therapy website and this was a nice representation of the most helpful and aesthetically pleasing things you’ll find there. All in all, I enjoyed the read. However, I will say that I was discouraged by some editing errors and typos throughout. I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest thoughts so I actually wondered for a minute if I'd received an advance copy. Though, there’s nothing to indicate that I did and other reviewers seem to have had a similar experience. So if that kind of thing drives you up the wall, you might want to wait for a reprint. Ultimately, I can forgive the few errors and I’ll be keeping this one around for a while. Also, the inside of the jacket is super cute. Is that something that’s important to you? If so, you should buy this book and overlook the mistakes.
Big love to whoever reads this. You look great today.
xoxo, Megan

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Check It Out: ‘Speak Now,’ by Kenji Yoshino

I have so many thoughts about this book but I'm going to keep this short and sweet.
To start with, let me just tell you that it took me nearly four months to read 'Speak Now' by Kenji Yoshino.


The delay was due mostly to my preconceived notion that a book about a serious legal battle might be a dry read. (Say whaaaaaat?)

Even though that legal battle -Hollingsworth vs. Perry - ultimately brought marriage equality to the state of California, I never felt fully prepared to dive in. While I knew I needed to read this important book,  I was certain it would be boring and there it was, propping up several fun, easy-breezy summer books. So I got distracted -- as you do.

Finally, in August, the bottom of the stack revealed itself. As I reviewed the pile of goofball books I'd finished, I felt a slight twinge of shame. Then I listened to 'Speak Now' by Taylor Swift. And then all of 1989. All while shopping all of Amazon in search of a fun way out. I found a million. And then I got over it and decided to be an adult and read a damned serious book for the first time this year.

When I finally took the plunge, I was was delighted to find that this book is so much more than the extremely intelligent coverage of an important civil rights trial. It was also a beautifully written story about love and family. It will give you the feels, my friends. Oh, yes it will.

In the months that it sat on my desk (yes, mostly untouched) gay marriage became legal in all fifty states. By the time I cracked the spine, we'd already collectively jumped for joy. Yet so many issues linger that I still felt pulled toward a reminder that this is just the beginning of the journey along the road to equality for everyone.

Beginnings are good and I'm glad I began reading this book. You will be, too.

Read now!

Disclosure time: I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own and I received nothing but this adorable book for my thoughts. Not even a penny guys. Not a penny for my thoughts. But I'd love yours. Pennies or thoughts. Or both. 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Check It Out: Just Add Watercolor by Helen Birch

Just Add Watercolor by Helen Birch is a tiny lil' thing. A cute thing. An informative thing full of ideas and techniques. Do you want tips? This tiny tome has 'em. Looking for the fundamentals? You'll find those here, as well. 

Find it on

What it does not offer is a step-by-step guide. Strictly speaking, this is not a how-to book. However, if you're looking for inspiration, I'd definitely recommend giving it a whirl.  

The book itself is divided into sections on traditional water, gouache, digital, mixed media, other water-based media, and non-paper media. There's also a section devoted to the fundamentals (materials, paint types, inks, additives, papers, masks, stencils, and equipment). 

You'll find, I believe, 189 gorgeous paintings inside which serve as examples of how the respective artists bring their thoughts and images to life. I found the section on representing animals especially interesting. Nobody who knows me will be shocked by this. But for the rest of you, please check out Kelly Puissegur's anthropomorphized pugs in Bon Jour. She makes watercolor silly and it reminded me that I don't have to be Gauguin to have a good time with watercolor. 

Looking at the wonderful artwork in this book actually made me want to grab some brushes and gouache and get to painting already. Neveryoumind that I don't really know how. When I was seven I didn't know how but it was fun. Remember that? 

My recommendation? Get this book and get back to being seven!

As for me, I'm considering a painting party. Wanna come?


Disclosure time: I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own and I received nothing but this adorable book for my thoughts. Not even a penny guys. Not a penny for my thoughts. But I'd love yours. Pennies or thoughts. Or both. 

Taylor Swift Is Punk as F*ck

I'm an adult. Well, kind of.

We won't talk specifics but I'm over 25. I'm over 25 and I've definitely had three entirely sincere conversations about Taylor Swift in the past few weeks.

Yes, there have been talks. And I've shared these talks with people I grew up around. People who, for the most part,  listened to punk, metal, and hardcore; folks I never would've dreamed might be professing their adoration of an adorable, blonde pop icon ...  in mixed company, no less.

I'm here to tell you that times, they are a-changin'.
And it's weird, my friends. It's weird and wonderful.

We've debated Red Vs. 1989. We've discussed "Welcome To New York" and how incredible her Tribeca apartment must be and how we could never afford to live in her shoe closet but, hey, we're happy for her.

I've definitely done that. That's how I've spent my time.

To assuage any discombobulation,  I offer you this distraction: photo of Taylor and baby kitten Meredith. As in Doctor Meredith Gray. If you think that's impressive, please allow Google to show you Detective Olivia Benson.

I found this image by searching but check out @taylorswift on the 'grams.

They have their own monogrammed travel carriers, you guys.
I can't. I just can't. 

photo via the gloss

Also, this is apparently a post I wrote in December of last year. And it's still here and it still holds true. Taylor Swift is still as punk as f*ck so I'm postin' it. 

You can argue but I shan't hear it. Headphones, you guys.


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Check It Out: The Dream Of The Nineties Is Alive In Your Kitchen

One of my New Year's resolutions is to read more cookbooks. Like, really read them cover to cover. I've always enjoyed cookbooks but I'd mostly flip around, pull a scrumptious-looking recipe and kinda-sorta follow it without actually reading it first. This half-cocked method of mine has not been ideal. In fact, more than once I've found myself staring into a bowl of half-combined ingredients and realizing I was one or two key ingredients short. 

When I discovered that the stars of Portlandia, Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen, were releasing a cookbook, I thought it would be the perfect starting point. I figured I'd be more likely to stick to my resolution with a little comedy tossed in. Boy, was I ever right. 

The Portlandia Cookbook: Cook Like A Local does not disappoint. And if you're as big a fan of the show and its stars as I am, it will definitely make you chuckle. 

While there are funny anecdotes and bits of advice from the show's characters peppered (or artisanal salted) throughout the book, they do not distract from the very real and mouth-watering recipes. 

Recipes like 'Baked Manchego-Filled Dates' and 'Brussels Sprouts with Bacon' look even more delicious than they sound. I cannot wait to try the 'Tagliata with Artichoke Salad' recipe. And the 'Slamburger' is sure to be the death of me. While there are some silly recipes thrown in for funsies- Candace's Khappu Jiu Jiu Jiu Jiu Tea, for example- none of the legitimate recipes in the book are boring and I'll likely try them all. Yes, even the "Borscht with Pickled Eggs and Horseradish Cream' looks too delicious to pass over. 

The "Lay An Egg On It" recommendation found throughout the book is exactly (hopefully) what it sounds like and is sure to become a standard in our home. 

The book is well organized by category. You have your small plates, main courses, desserts, drinks, and brunch. Best of all, most of the ingredients required are easy to find no matter where you live. Just make sure you have on hand various waters sourced from Yucatan and Oaxaca. Otherwise, don't even bother.

Queue up a copy of the book on your Mind-Fi, whip up some nacho cheese popcorn, and then call into work for the next week or so because you'll want to rewatch all of Portlandia while trying out at least a few of these. Just don't blame me if you end up in pasta rehab. 

Full disclosure: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest opinions. Can I blame them if I find myself relegated to the fart patio?

This review is dedicated to Colin the chicken. May heaven be cage-free and all your meals be organic. 


Ps. Because no post of mine would be complete without at least a cursory cat reference, I present to you Catnap with Whisker Patrol. Oh, Kevin, how I love you.  

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Good Head, Bad Head

Hello and welcome to this edition of Decorating With Heads. 

I'm basking in the icy blue glow of my computer screen to show you just how amazing I am at decorating. Some day, I'll take you on a real fancy tour but tonight I'm doing this shiz from my couch. 

did you think that was my middle finger? did you?! how DARE you.

That disembodied dummy head there (not mine, the one I'm pointing at) has been in that very same spot since I got these shelves, years ago. 

Why do I own it? I don't f*$king know. 

Oh, and the books next to it have been tilted like that since at least January. Clearly, it's a profesh style choice. I believe it adds a bit of drama to the head and speaks to its existential struggle. Or something. 

Now, what's that we have on the next shelf? Why it's another head! Holy bananas, that's two already and we've barely glanced the room. And this one's holding up a vintage copy of The Exorcist. So, perhaps it should really be resting on a Lazy Susan. 

So, why on earth do I have two heads greeting visitors immediately as they walk in the door? That is an incredibly valid question. Unfortunately, I have no answer for it. And there are at least seventeen thousand other heads floating around my house, wondering where their bodies have gone. 

The sad(der) part? I secretly love them and can't bring myself to give them away. 

Yet. Baby steps.  

Also on those shelves up there, you'll see that we have a toy dinosaur which has been expertly pre-chewed by Gertie. She has issues. 

And, what's that? Yes, there are STILL Christmas trees sitting on the next shelf, just crammed in amongst all the tchotchkes you can throw a stick at. I just really love to keep the holiday spirit alive all year long. 

It's also my homage to the show Hoarders. 

Once my leg is a bit better, I believe it *might* be time to make some serious edits. I don't even know where most of this stuff came from or how it managed to find a permanent home on my living room bookshelf for all the world to see. 

Sadly, I just can't bring myself to enjoy anything I find at Target for long. Clearly, I need therapy. 

In the meantime, it would be my pleasure to use my skills to make your house shimmer like f*@king gold. Now that you've seen what I can do with nothing more than a few heads and a handful of crap, who wants to book me for a consultation? 

I'm cheap-cheap, fun-fun. 

keep trying, kiddos. 

Ps. Comment with your awesome interior design tips or to let me know how you think decorating with heads could improve your home...and life. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

I'm trying.

Hello, kittehs.

So, there is a very good reason I haven't written in a while. Not that I'd particularly gotten into the habit of writing on a regular basis. Whatever, I'd been tryyyyying. I'd thought about it regularly. And I did write on paper with actual pens.
Does that even count these days?

Anyway, what was I saying? We're having so much fun that I've already forgotten. Either that or I'm simply getting old and senile. Actually, I recently found out that that is a very real possibility. Oy.

Okay, okay...back on track. So, as for that reason I mentioned? Well, several months ago I broke my freaking legs! Yes, BOTH of them. Holy crap. I know.

Some of you already know that I arrived at the hospital with acute compartment syndrome and underwent emergency surgery, followed by several other surgeries and some skin & nerve grafts. It was bonkers. Though, bonkers is such a fun word and this was so not fun. Through it all I gained an awesome case of foot drop, remarkable nerve pain, and some really gnarly scars. So, so gnarly.

Now, I realize I didn't break my hands and that I don't typically write with my feet. Though, I did once know an armless man who did everything with his feet and he was awesome. But while my hands were perfectly capable of typing, I really just...wasn't. I was in pain and busy with therapy and, mostly, I was frustrated and, well, as it turns out, maybe a little depressed.

I do eventually plan to write or vlog about how this all happened and how the experience has affected me emotionally and physically because it has most definitely changed me in ways I'd never thought possible. And I know there are other humans out there slogging through similar struggles - or way worse ones -and I hope I can somehow encourage someone out there to keep their chin up the way I've tried and failed and tried and succeeded and tried and tried to do.

However, that particular suitcase is just way too heavy and sloppy for me to even attempt to unpack today. So, I thought I'd just take a moment to share something that's helped me keep my emotions in check over the past few months.

What is it? Well, it's totally generic but it's what's always kept me afloat: my old pal music. Good God, I'm a dork but ever since I belted out AC/DC's 'Back In Black' from my carseat, I just knew we were forever.

I've spent a ton of time lately with Hüsker Dü, The Pixies, Jawbreaker, The Dead Kennedys, Ryan Adams, Men, Julie Ruin, Samiam, Aloe Blacc, Tears For Fears, Jenny Lewis, Beirut, The Boss, The Lemonheads, and so, so many others who just, you know, 'get' me.

Oh, and let's be honest ... a fair amount of Katy Perry.
Yes! What?! You totally love 'Dark Horse' as much as this baby and these cops, admit it already.

And then there's this:



I can't even begin to explain what this song does to me. I think I just might be its host-body now because it is definitely a little worm writhing around in my skull at all hours, making my rump shake and wiggling my wiast. Ugh, it even makes me talk like this!!

Whatever. I'm in love. It's real and it's deep, you guys.

And the video reminds me of how much I really, really miss yogahour and dancing and, well, any free movement, really. It pushes me to try harder than I want to and it has actually helped a ton. I can't do this yet...

but I'll be damned if I won't again one day. And I can already put my palms on the floor while standing! Trust me, that is serious improvement.

So, tell me; did any of you ever go through a chandelier-swinging stage? Did you ever hit rock fucking bottom emotionally? Did it play out in some other way? Are you still there? I can answer yes to all of these questions at various points in my life, including now.

Look, I'm a grateful person and I try to keep a healthy dose of perspective on hand should I get a little too "Bell Jar" about things. But I'm curious to know how people get to the other side of depression right about now. I'm wondering if "fake it 'til you make it" is enough.

Because I honestly just don't know.


Ps. Has music helped you through tough times? If not, what has? Please, do tell.