Yes, This is Real…A New Column?

For sometime now/Since birth… I have been making observations about the world around me. Some days, I see something particularly heinous and say to myself “Yes, this is real” in an effort to somehow process the absurdity of what is before me. This happens to me at least several times a week and I have decided that the only way to explain this sensation is to share my “Yes, this is real” findings with you in a column of sorts. Alas, we have our first feature, Chicken Spread.

Mmmm...gag, gag, gag.
Mmmm…gag, gag, gag.

First, let me say that there is a dancing devil man on this package. That doesn’t bode well. Also, the general notion of spreading chicken doesn’t sit well with me. Spreads should come in non-animal forms like mayonnaise or mustard or EVEN Vegemite, but NOT chicken. Underwood, the manufacturer of this delight also makes ham, roast beef and liverwurst versions of the same. Rewind. Did you notice that I said “manufacturer?”

Ok so maybe a lot of the items on our grocery store shelves are manufactured these days, but I much prefer “grown” and “raised” in sentences about my food. Lastly, the whole can is wrapped in a paper wrapping, like a small present. Only, how could this be a present? It is dog food put in human packaging. Even though it’s been 48 hours since I came into contact with Chicken Spread, I’m still laying here on the futon saying “Yes, this is real.”

When “Pet” Names Takes on a New Meaning

In my long list of design/style interests is the art of naming. Often, I want to ask new people I meet what their children’s names are for the sake of adding to my personal study of name trends. Only I am afraid they will think that question will be followed by “what’s your address?” and “would you mind sharing your credit card number?” Alas, I am slightly more covert in my mission.

I know that when I was born, there were two people named Grace, me and my great-grandmother. Then, when I was entering my teenage years, everyone seemed to tell me their dog was named Grace and “how cool was that?” Awesome. Not. I thought “why would you want to give a dog a person name?”

Now, I am totally guilty of the same phenomenon. Our dogs are named Sam and Kelly. We kept the names they were given at the shelter because they just seemed to fit. However, they also have a long list of pet names which rivals any Moxie CrimeFighter or Moon Unit. First, witness my professional doodles of the spotted “sisters.”

photo-8 image-1


First, we have Sam. The pit bull, basset hound, corgi, something or other that is the most darling dog you will ever meet. Sometimes we call her Sam, sometimes we choose from one of the following…

  • Bouge (Booge or Boo-zhee, Origin: Bourgeois)
  • Original Bouge (Sam is the first born.)
  • Habanero Bouge (Not sure.)
  • Pit Bull Face
  • Samantha
  • Samantha Carmichael Bougewater (When we’re mad at her…)
  • Medium-Size Bouge
  • El Toro (via our very lively animal-crazed vetrinarian)
  • McGwamus or Seamus McGwamus (Every dog has an Irish name, obvi.)

Then, we have little sister Kelly. Kelly has been with us since August, but has quickly earned her own slew of names. She is part beagle, part dachshund, part incontinent or insubordinate, we can’t decide.

  • Little Bouge (Of course.)
  • Poopums Dog (You can guess.)
  • Beagle Face
  • The Regal Beagle
  • Sugar Baby (For the appearance her face takes when you hold her upside down.)
  • Kelly Ann Dagarino (Because every dog should have a full name.)
  • Little Girl
  • Kelly the Belly
  • Smelly Kelly

So as you can see we are very inventive. And, if the boyfriend could come up with some of these crazy names, you will surely be entertained at the names he comes up with for our future children when drunk. I will save that for another day. For now, enjoy these pics of Original Bouge and Little Bouge modeling. They’re naturals.

Sam's good side.
Sam’s good side.
A normal afternoon at Chez Bouge.
A normal afternoon at Chez Bouge.
Blue steel.
Blue steel.

And You Thought the Shake Weight Was Bad…

I am in the midst of a group project along with two classmates. The goal, to create a 30-second YouTube video with essentially no parameters. When my professor suggested a commercial as a simple option, I immediately knew that I would have to dream up some heinously amazing product and its accompanying infomercial. Now, don’t flip your lid. I’m not going to let the cat out of the bag yet. I will tell you that though, there is a clue in the text of this post. However, I did find this amazing video of the top 10 worst infomercials OF ALL TIME. I’m really not sure why UroGolf isn’t number one…question mark?


Biding some recent medical issues, I have been rather sleepy lately. Sometimes, I will completely miss “morning” and arrive at Starbucks at 12:30 only to find my greeting is 30 minutes too late.

My mom suggested I get a sleep study and I just can’t bring myself to do it. It is official, I am iatrophobic. I have a fear of going to the doctor. This really isn’t a new realization though. The last time I got my blood drawn at the doctor, the Laotian medical tech told me “No worry! Me give you Bugs Bunny [band-aid].” The shame was palpable.

Shame on a finger.
Shame on a finger.

So, in favor of going for an overnight sleep study and having a crop of electrodes pasted all over my body, I’ve gathered a few items to help me sleep naturally.


1. Holly GoNightly Sleep Mask, $16,

2. Lavender Chamomile Pillow Mist, $10,

3. Mighty Leaf Chamomile Citrus Tea 3-Pack, $20,

4. Cooling Bed Pillow, $41,

Summer Essentials

Now that I have all these summer plans, I’m going to need the right supplies. After a 400 euro ($800 USD) debacle coming home from my semester abroad in Italy back in 2009, I vowed to be a better packer. That ghastly amount is what I had to pay IN ADDITION to my pricey cross-Atlantic ticket to get my belongings home. Screw you, Alitalia. So, for this summer I’ll need a beastly suitcase. My brothers have had the Adventure Rolling Duffle from L.L. Bean for the past 10 years. Every time we travel, I’m always angling for one of their suitcases, convincing them that girls have WAY more to pack and that their things can fit in my modest red roller bag. I’d say it’s high time I got my own, considering Karl and David’s have held up for so long, they must be made of magic. I also think it’s rather nifty that L.L. Bean has staff at their headquarters in Portland, Maine that run around town testing the luggage.


Next, I’ll need some versatile shoes. Since we will be canoeing and hiking and being generally adventurous, I think Chacos will work. As a kid, my mom would force me into Teva’s, another type of rubber sandal that I just thought were horribly uncool. For whatever reason, Chacos are their more popular cousin, even edging their way into the southern college greek scene. Once my friend said to me, “Ewww, never, NEVER get Chacos.” “Why?” I asked. “Those are for potheads,” she said. However, I think I am willing to throw my reputation into the wind for comfort.

chaco-zxand2-yampa-sport-sandals-for-women-in-prep~p~4903w_01~1500.3Last but not least, I’ll need some entertainment. Sure, iPad’s are great. They combine practicality and fun. But recently, I got a better idea. When I was a kid, we weren’t allowed to have video games (hand-held or console). I would spend hours at friends’ houses trying to get my hands on a Nintendo or a Game Boy. So, since I was never allowed one as a child, I figured I should make up for my loss and scour eBay. I found a Game Boy in Atomic Purple along with a few other relics from the stone ages, Pokemon, Spongebob (Legend of the Lost Spatula), Frogger and Super Mario Brothers Deluxe. My boyfriend (I’m sure) really enjoys when I scream expletives at the small screen. There is just no other way to react when you are Spongebob and you are being mauled by a giant jellyfish. I’ll just have to train myself to keep quiet on the airplane…




On the Road Again…

Aren’t you ready for summer?! This summer I am sucking it up and taking two online courses so that I can travel my little heart out. Spending time with my family in the summer is so special to me. I have only missed two family beach weeks in the past 23 years of my life, to go to camp.

Gami and I on the roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2008

This year, we will be heading first to Lake Elmore, Vermont. Instead of flying with my family however, I’m heading up to Maryland to road-trip there with my grandmother, Lee. To me she is “Gami.” Gami and I have an extremely tight bond. In fact, my thesis centers around her life. I find it remarkable that in her lifetime things have gone from phonograph to iPhone and her favorite, “Faceplace.” We will stop in Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts for a little antique-ing and pottery scouting.

Boone being a model, Lake Elmore 2010
Boone being a model, Lake Elmore 2010
The Whole Fam Damily Canoeing the Green River (VT), 2010
The Whole Fam Damily Canoeing the Green River (VT), 2010
What happens in Vermont stays in Vermont... 2010
What happens in Vermont stays in Vermont… 2010
We made it to the top! Mt. Mansfield, 2010
We made it to the top! Mt. Mansfield, 2010

Next, my family and I will go to our regular beach week in Oak Island, NC, the place where I feel most like myself. Here we will do strange family things like have our own golf tournament, dance party and snipe hunt (a southern “tradition” of hunting for an imaginary bird).

Oceanside at Oak Island, 2010
Oceanside at Oak Island, 2010
Dockside on Oak Island, 2010
Dockside on Oak Island, 2010
The awards ceremony for the golf tournament, 2010
The awards ceremony for the golf tournament, 2010

Finally, in August, we are heading to the Vancouver area to soak in the great Pacific Northwest. I have been to Seattle and Northern Idaho but I am excited to see what things are like across the border.

Where are you all traveling this summer?

A Sweater for Bugsy

photo-8So many great stories start with the line: “When I was babysitting…” Kids do/say/imagine some of the darndest things. A week ago, I headed downtown to babysit Tuna (yes, his name has been changed). Tuna is a hyper yet extremely intelligent 7-year-old with a penchant for science and spelunking for lizards in the many nooks and crannies of downtown Savannah’s historic buildings. Sometimes he talks in a monotone yell of excitement. “DID YOU KNOW THAT WHEN YOU BREAK A LIZARD’S TAIL OFF IT STILL MOVES?” And then adds, “I WENT TO ARIZONA LAST WEEK.” “Why?” I ask. “TO HUNT FOR QUAIL.” Why yes of course, I was there last month doing the same.


For his seventh birthday Tuna received a guinea pig which, as I commented to his mother, gives him a sense of ownership and responsibility as he takes care of this ever-fattening ball of fur. Tuna brought Bugsy down the stairs upon my arrival. “Let’s make a sweater for Bugsy!” he says. I smile skeptically. “COME ON!” he retorts. I climb the three flights of stairs in Tuna’s historic home and arrive breathless in his bedroom. “Grab a sock!” he exclaims. Not sure what to do, I pause as he runs frenzied around me, coming to open the top drawer of his dresser and extricating a greying pair of formerly white athletic socks. “This will work!” he announces. “Grab the scissors,” he says, as if asking me to grab the scalpel in a life and death operation.

photo-8 copy

We cut the toe and the ankle bit off of each sock and lay the remainder out for decorating. We will use the toe-side scrap for a hat. I write Bugsy in bubble letters on the side of the tube (I mean sweater). “COOL,” Tuna says rather close to my ear. “On the other side write “I AM BUGSY”,” he tells me and I obey. Once Bugsy’s outfits are properly decorated it is time to dress the booger. And what can I say…He looked pretty cute. I wonder often about my future and what the hell I am doing on God’s green earth. Maybe the answer is that I’m meant for rodent fashion.


Cross Stitching My Heart Out


I am quite the nervous Nellie, panicking Patsy, anxious Angela type. I spend more time looking at my to-do list than actually accomplishing things on it. To center my thoughts I usually have to do something detailed or tangentially productive before I can get to the guts of my day. This usually manifests itself in the form of doing dishes, scrubbing the bathtub or organizing the bookshelf by color. Lately, I have found cross stitch as a way of gaining focus. Concentrating on the tiny x-shaped stitches brings me to a relaxed state.

Back when I was 7, my mom bought me a maroon colored sampler hand towel, some pink thread and a couple appliqué roses. I spent the better part of our car ride to Maryland embroidering my initials across the towel. Although it’s taken me 15 years to return to the craft, I enjoy the bits of nostalgia as I remember working mercilessly on my towel as we wound through the Shenandoah Valley.

Port Republic battlefield in Shenandoah Valley

These days, cross stitch is experiencing a comeback along with many other fiber arts like knitting and crocheting. Designs have grown from granny-style floral samplers to more modern hipster-ish incantations like sushi, Queen Elizabeth’s profile and a Polaroid camera.


My favorite cross stitch purveyor is Slipcover Your Life over at Etsy. You can buy a complete kit with hoop, thread, pattern and all or simply download a PDF file to get started right away with your own materials. I just nabbed the Keep Calm and Carry On Kit. Let’s hope it will help me cross more things off my to-do list!


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