Cheshire Garden

Cheshire Garden | www.eccentricowl.comDressember DaysCheshire Garden | www.eccentricowl.comToday, my brain has gone blank. I feel that sort of cloud-induced grogginess that one feels when the weather is overcast, the house is very warm, there’s been a good amount of food, and everything is quiet. Asa and I just got back from a baby play place with one of my friends and her baby, and the activities has worn both of us out!

That, and the fact that he got his very first fat lip this morning while standing up to the coffee table in order to get food. Only his foot slipped on a toy, and instead of a good mouthful of banana, he got a bite of the table and his own lip. There was a lot of blood, since his teeth took chunks from the inside of his lip and the table took a slice from the outside of his lip, but he only cried for about a minute.  Cheshire Garden | www.eccentricowl.comCheshire Garden | In true little boy fashion, after crying a bit and telling me in his worried voice all about it (which he frequently does after a bump/scare), he was ready to get down and play. Thankfully, I am not a worrier; I did call my mom right away because I wasn’t quite sure what to do with a little boy who’d just bit it for the first time (baby Tylenol? Ice?) and I initially thought that he’d bitten through his lip. But, he hadn’t, and after checking his mouth to be sure he hadn’t broken or jarred any teeth, we both relaxed a bit. And I may have started laughing at him.  Cheshire Garden |  I’ve realized that laughing in the face of a scare is becoming my go-to emotion. It’s either laugh or cry these days, and I’d much rather laugh! My husband and I agreed that we should probably never attend a funeral together, because we are the people who will begin laughing at the most inappropriate times, and then not be able to quit laughing.

I remember one time in church, we were sitting behind a row that was taken up by a family who had six kids. The youngest of their boys, who was probably about four or five at the time, announced quietly enough that he needed to use the restroom. He was let out, and he toddled off to get his business done… but five minutes later he was back, doing a dance, and announced a little bit more loudly something like “I can’t poop all by myself!”

Cheshire Garden | www.eccentricowl.comCheshire Garden | www.eccentricowl.comCheshire Garden | And of course, this was right before prayer. So there we stood, trying and failing miserably not to completely lose it while everyone else was behaving and being utterly quiet. Yeah. We’re adults.

I hope we never lose our senses of humor. The other day as we were browsing Target, I saw that someone had rearranged some letter ornaments to spell “FART” right above the display of snowflakes and beside the Santa and Snowman figurines. And like the grown-up that I am, I giggled and then I Instagrammed it. I blame my brothers and my husband for my growing appreciation for toilet humor.  Cheshire Garden | www.eccentricowl.comI know. My hair is three different colors right now. I’m having a hard time deciding which color to go with. So we’ll pretend I meant to have it look like upside-down fire on coals.  Cheshire Garden | So I am not usually one to wear the buttoned-up-to-the-neck styles, but today while I was trying to figure out how to winterize this dress a little bit, I decided that my Alice in Wonderland shirt would work quite nicely as an over layer. I had the collar of the dress unbuttoned, but somehow it just doesn’t work quite as well. And surprisingly, because I don’t like the look of super-covered necks usually, I like the way it works.

Also, this dress is my favorite ever. I’ve started to realize lately that my favorite florals are bright flowers on a dark or black background. I’m not as fond of white/light dresses with flowers on them, and I’m not sure why. Perhaps I just like the drama of a black dress with bright flowers on it. At any rate, this dress combines quite a few of my favorite colors, and I LOVE the way it looks with these tights and shoes!Cheshire Garden | www.eccentricowl.comVintage dress and belt, thrifted | Target tights | Modcloth wedges | Alice in Wonderland shirt c/o Choies | glasses c/o Firmoo

If you notice that I’m not wearing my wedding ring in these pictures, don’t worry. I just forgot to put it back on last night after I washed the dishes, and somehow spaced out about putting it on (all day; I still don’t have it on) this morning. It’s funny how you get so used to wearing a ring that suddenly when you don’t have it, you can feel its absence! Currently I have another ring in its place.

Can you believe December is half over already? As the year is coming to a close, I’ve been thinking about maybe starting off my blog in the new year with a slightly different schedule and more than just fashion. I don’t know, though; part of me really loves doing daily fashion with weekend baby pictures, but the other part of me wants to get more into lifestyle-type posts. It’s hard for me to do lifestyle posts, though, because we live in a house that isn’t ours, and doesn’t reflect my style at all, and has kind of bad lighting.

And I promise you I haven’t forgotten about making videos — I had polled Facebook for an idea of what types of videos you guys want to see most, and all two (yay) comments said makeup/hair. However, I filmed a video and had a TON of issues cutting it together and getting it exported, and eventually got sick of looking at myself, so… we’ll try again in the new year. Let me know if there’s a particular subject (makeup, hair, rambling, writing, mom stuff, outfit video, thrift hauls, whatever) you’re most interested in and I’ll try my best to figure out the whole video thing and get something going.

I hope you’re all having a good week so far! I’m off to start some laundry and then maybe take a nap.

Happy Tuesday!

(P.S. I have yesterday’s dress all ready to go, but it’s a book review outfit and I didn’t feel like doing a book review today, so it’s going to go up somewhere out of order.)

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Swan Princess

Swan Princess | www.eccentricowl.comSwan Princess | Today, my mind has struck blank. I really wanted to film a makeup tutorial this morning, but one thing after another went wrong, and I just wasn’t feeling it. And then I loved taking the outfit pictures (and I LOVE this outfit) but now that I’m sitting down to write a post, I have nothing.

Besides which, Asa has been acting out of sorts; either he’s teething again, or he’s sick. I’m hoping it’s the first one! I know the flu has been going around my husband’s family, which means that Thanksgiving at their house is off, and I don’t want him to catch it.

Swan Princess | I’m so sad that we won’t be seeing my in-laws for Thanksgiving; it’s always so fun to be at their house amongst all of the family, and they had been planning to go up to the snow on Friday to play. It would have been Asa’s first time in snow… and he might have had to wear a pink snowsuit because he’d have to borrow his cousin’s, but it would have been so fun!    Swan Princess | www.eccentricowl.comSwan Princess | But having this skirt in my wardrobe now makes things a little bit better. I’m very slowly  but surely adding to my collection of quirky animal prints, and this swan print skirt is definitely my new favorite thing! Before you know it, my closet is just going to be full of nerdy tee shirts and animal-printed everything.

Swan Princess | I was a little bit worried about the fit of this skirt; it only comes in one size, but has an elastic band in the waist so that it will fit several sizes. I’d guess it stretches up to about 32-34″, though, so there was no problem there! I did, however, cut out the half-lining, because on my wider hips it was constantly riding up. On someone with skinner hips, I think the lining would be no problem! Besides, the print is totally worth it!

Swan Princess | I hope you all have good plans for Thanksgiving! We had planned to go to my parents’ for the first part of the day, and my in-laws’ for the second half, but now that the flu has hit the in-laws, we will probably spend all day with my family. And then on Friday, we might actually go Black Friday shopping, which would be the first time I’ve ever done it!

Not that we have anything in particular we need, or a lot of extra money to buy anything with, but if there’s something really good (Paleo cookbooks! Toys for Asa!) we may just have to mini-splurge.

Swan Princess | Swan Princess | Can you believe that Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and then there’s Christmas in a month? This Christmas will be a tight one for us, with my having quit my job, but I think it will still be a good one! Because we have less money, I’ve been getting more creative with what I’ll be giving and making people, and it’s been fun! I have always wanted to do more homemade gifts, and now’s definitely the time for it. Swan Princess | www.eccentricowl.comSkirt c/o Choies | belt and shirt, thrifted | shoes, Modcloth | earrings, old | glasses, c/o Firmoo

I would love to just get into giving more handmade gifts all the time, regardless of how much money we have, and I’m thinking that this may be the start of it, now that I know how much fun it is to make things! What are some of your favorite handmade gift ideas?

Have a beautiful Wednesday!

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Pacific Northwesterners

Pacific Northwesterners | www.eccentricowl.comPacific Northwesterners |

Today, I quit my job.

I know that sounds crazy after I’ve admitted we’re pretty broke, but… we’ll live. We’ve been scraping by for two months on just my husband’s paycheck, so I know we can make it, even if it is tough. Pacific Northwesterners | www.eccentricowl.comThere are moms out there who work part time or full time, and I don’t know how they do it. It might sound really weak to admit that even working 4 hours a day wore me out, stressed me out, made me emotional and more prone to impatience with Asa… I just can’t be that woman. I can’t be a superwoman who has a steady job and takes care of a house and kids at the same time. It’s not a strength of mine.

And I knew it was time to call in and quit after I tried going back to work today and had no less than three breakdowns while trying to get Asa down for a nap so I could log in.

If work means I’ll be less of a mother and wife, then… I can’t work.

Pacific Northwesterners | www.eccentricowl.comPacific Northwesterners | So, aside from continuing to cultivate my Etsy shop and perhaps grabbing a few sponsors here and there for the blog or doing photography sessions when people want me, I am officially  no longer a working mother. We are solely living on what my husband makes, and it’s going to be tight, but less stressful.

I am thankful for my husband’s understanding this morning, when I told him that I just couldn’t work AND be a good wife and mother. His response was to quit work, if it’s what I needed to do.Pacific Northwesterners | www.eccentricowl.comPacific Northwesterners | And here we are.

It should have felt like a big decision because this is the first time in years and in our marriage that I am officially done working bar we become absolutely destitute and I’m forced to work again. But really… I’ve not been working for two months already, so it’s just relief. Relief that the dread of having to go back to work is over; that I don’t have to figure out how to fit four hours of work into my day as well as try to be a good mother, a good wife, eat healthy, exercise, work on my Etsy shop, work with sponsors, blog consistently (and with good content), write, work on photography, and whatever else comes my way.

I no longer have to worry about whether I’ll be able to socialize with the people I love because I might still have a few hours of work I need to get in. I don’t have to stress over shopping day because going to get groceries cuts into the hours I could be working. I don’t have to get anxious when Asa refuses to take a nap because all I could think about was that the longer he napped, the less time I had to do what was required of me for my job.Pacific Northwesterners | Pacific Northwesterners | And it was a great job, don’t get me wrong. Working from home with flexible hours that can be done at any time during the day is really an amazing opportunity. But knowing I was required to do those hours and the pressure was on to get everything done in the day… it’s just not something I am cut out for,.

Perhaps it also felt unfair to me that I had to do two jobs — work a job and be a mother and a wife and a housekeeper. Not that I thought it was anyone’s fault, but… it did feel unfair that I had two jobs and my husband only had one. (I really want to emphasize that at no time did I feel like it was his fault. It was just life. Life happens, and neither of us can control some things.)Pacific Northwesterners | So, thankfully, after the first and second breakdowns when I finally told him I just couldn’t do it, he understood. I am unbelievably blessed to have a husband willing to be the sole provider so that I can be at home where I want to be with my child, being the wife and mother I’ve always wanted to be. Sometimes it seems so incredibly lucky that I get all of this.  Pacific Northwesterners | In view of everything that’s happened today, and to take a step towards the things I’ve been putting on the back burner as I waited for work to start again, and in celebration of this new crazy chapter of life, because I’m sure it will be crazy, I’m offering all of my readers a chance to nab something from the shop at 15% off from now until December 31st.

Everything is eligible for the discount, and in the coming weeks I’ll be trying hard to list more of the things I’ve got waiting to be listed. The code for the discount is OWLREADER. So, see something you wanted? Now’s the time. Pacific Northwesterners | www.eccentricowl.comPacific Northwesterners | These pictures are from a week or so ago, when I was taking inspiration from Marlen and basically came out looking more like the typical stereotype of a Washingtonian. Plaid, coffee, hipster hat. Y’know.

I convinced my husband to pose with me because he sort of looks like a Washingtonian, too, doesn’t he?

Pacific Northwesterners | www.eccentricowl.comPacific Northwesterners |

On me: shirt, skirt, belt, and brooch, Thrifted | tights, Target | hat, mom-made | shoes, Modcloth | coffee cup, gift
On him: sweatshirt, pants, and socks, Target | shirt, c/o Joules | boots, Kohl’s

I hope you all have a beautiful Friday and a fantastic weekend! I know I will.

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Filmmaking and Ladybirds

I’m going to start this post off with something different than normal, because I’m too excited about it to put this at the end:

So this is the film we made for this year’s  72 hour Gig Harbor Film Festival Competition (here’s last year’s. I’m acting. Ugh. Don’t judge me by it.), and this year I felt like we put a lot more into it than we did last year. I did, anyway: we actually went out to buy costumes and props this year; we spent a good deal more time on the makeup and all (that’s my werewolf brother, being a trooper and wearing fake nails for me), and I helped write the script, and thank GOODNESS I did not have to act this year.

But we spent a lot of time and energy on it. That was the weekend I had a breakdown over shoes because… lack of sleep. And we were SO nervous going into the theater, wondering what would happen. My husband never thinks he’ll win, so he had a lot of dour predictions. Plus, generally you can tell whether you’ve won or not by the listing in the program — if you’re near the end, there’s a good chance you made it. We were smack in the middle. So we didn’t think we’d win. Filmmaking and Ladybirds | www.eccentricowl.comFilmmaking and Ladybirds | Filmmaking and Ladybirds | www.eccentricowl.comAnd then they showed my cousin’s film first, and it was AMAZING, and we just thought… dude, if this is the first one they show and it’s already really awesome… there’s no way we win. This is the bar they set for the first slot, which is usually least likely to win?

Plus, when we we heard the prizes — a cash prize and an HP tablet for EACH team member (which would just be Mr. Owl and me, because… we’re industrious like that), we were like… no, we never win cool things, there’s NO way. Filmmaking and Ladybirds | www.eccentricowl.comFilmmaking and Ladybirds | So we sat and watched film after film and… honestly, weren’t impressed after my cousin’s film. There was one that we thought, well… maybe? They had great light, they had some funny situations, and it was a possibility, but then in the end I was mentally thinking that if they won it wouldn’t make sense. No offense to people who entered, but there were a lot of loose ends in the film and too many unanswered questions just to make one situation happen.

And don’t get me wrong, I am super impressed that SO many people put this much hard work into their films and turned out a five-minute movie in 72 hours. Filmmaking and Ladybirds | It takes a lot. You have to write the script, shoot the film, score the film, edit the film, edit the sound, get all the costumes, get all the makeup… EVERYTHING… in 72 hours. That’s crazy. And some people had sound issues, and a lot of people did the “we have to make a film, what if we did this?” plot, but still. There were some that I’m sure will be going places in a few years, after a few competitions! Filmmaking and Ladybirds | www.eccentricowl.comFilmmaking and Ladybirds | www.eccentricowl.comBut then the end came, and after our film I didn’t see any that I honestly thought would win, and I figured my cousin had won. His was seriously good, and I wish it was online somewhere (I’m not sure if it is yet) because I wanted to link it in this post. I’m so proud of him and his team! Edit: he posted it! Here it is. Watch and be amazed.

They called all of the team leaders up to the front so that they could dispense prizes, and as they named off Best Acting, Best Editing, Best Cinematography, Best use of the Elements (line of dialogue, action, situation)… we weren’t getting anything. Part of me thought for sure we just didn’t win this year, and part of me thought… what if… we aren’t getting any of the smaller prizes because we… maybe won? Filmmaking and Ladybirds | Filmmaking and Ladybirds | www.eccentricowl.comAnd then, suddenly, they named the winner in the Over 19 category (they separate the filmmakers into two groups– under 18 and over 19), and he flipped open the envelope that even he had not read, and announced “Suko Productions, Four is Company!”

And it was silent. It threw me off that he said Suko Productions; it’s the first year we’ve used that name instead of “Suko Films”. And my husband up front started clapping, and then realized they’d said US, and grinned up at me, and I screamed and nearly jumped out of my seat, and everyone started clapping.Filmmaking and Ladybirds | Filmmaking and Ladybirds |

Guys, I was so excited that I was shaking. I never get that hyped up over anything. Well… not in this way. It was pure adrenaline. We’d worked so, so hard on the film, and personally I feel much prouder of this year’s because… I’m not embarrassed by my own acting, haha! And I’m so proud of my husband and all of his hard work and his talent. He’s amazing!

Plus, we never win anything cool, so to have won a Tablet? Um, yeah. That was kind of cool.

Filmmaking and Ladybirds | www.eccentricowl.comFilmmaking and Ladybirds | So last night was a pretty amazing night. Because of this year, my husband has made a connection in the film industry via one of the judges, who has moved here from LA, and was so impressed by our film that he is going to use my husband as an editor for a short documentary — and this guy has worked on low AND high budget films. Plus, one of my husband’s friend’s… sister or something… is in the industry as a producer and has worked on some very well-known films, so hopefully this will get him noticed by her as well. Filmmaking and Ladybirds |

Vintage skirt | thrifted shirt (originally Forever21), brooch, and belt | Modcloth headband and wedges | Target tights

I’m still getting over the excitement! We’re planning to make more films throughout the year, and it should be really good for my husband to get into regular filmmaking, and fun for me to be in charge of costumes and makeup. Which I love!

So this is what I wore yesterday, and I have to update you all on the shoes: I wore them from 9am to somewhere after 7pm without taking them off once, walking around, going to church, going to the store, going to the festival… and I have NO pain at all. I would highly recommend them! My only caution is that because of the color and material, they mark up easily. But they wash of just as easily, so despite my marking them up on a regular basis, they are still pristine!

Anyway. I hope you are all having a good start to your Monday! Have a happy, happy day!

By the way, if you haven’t yet, don’t forget to enter the cardigan giveaway! We still need 30 more entries to qualify, and it’s open internationally so what do you have to lose?

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When Love is Not a Dream

When Love is Not a Dream | When Love is Not a Dream | www.eccentricowl.comWhen my husband and I kissed for the first time, it brought about the sole largest crisis of our relationship. In my case, anyway.

Growing up in a more conservative family as a romantic, day-dreaming girl, I had always imagined and vowed that my first kiss would be on my wedding day. As a young woman who read many novels and watched many Austen/Bronte films, I imagined that kissing was a tender, wonderful, breathtaking thing. So, I thought, we would wait through however long it took to date and be engaged, and our first kiss would be incredibly special, a sign of our new life together, almost magical in its properties.

My husband, however, was not a fan of this idea. Being almost painfully shy in front of people he does not know, he didn’t want his first kiss to be a face-bump in front of strangers under a spotlight for everyone to see and record, awkward and tentative. And being pretty easily swayed by his coaxing and logic, I thought about it for a week or two, and decided giving up that wedding-day first-kiss was okay with me.When Love is Not a Dream |

Or so I thought. I told him that I had never wanted to kiss a man I wasn’t going to marry, so if he was going to marry me, he could kiss me. He asked what that even meant, and I shrugged. It meant what it meant, he could take it how he wanted, whether that meant he would eventually kiss me after we were engaged, or whether he definitely saw us being married at some point and took the jump early.

What I didn’t tell him was that I had dreamed and waited for that perfect day, my first kiss, which I had envisioned being on a special day in a romantic setting, symbolizing a new life, after years and years of waiting for the perfect person to do it. I didn’t tell him that I was afraid of disappointing my parents, who had raised us to be more reserved, and focus on personality and friendship, not physicality and romance. I merely left it at the statement of marriage, and hoped it would all work out okay.

So, a month after we had started dating, and a week after I had realized I loved him, our first kiss came in an unexpected-yet-expected way, and it was… nothing, really. It came and went so quickly I barely knew what he had done; standing in the cold, huddled together on a late ferry back from Seattle, watching the lights twinkle and shine in the blackness of the night, I looked up at him, he looked down at me, and with one swift peck, he touched his lips to mine and pulled away. When Love is Not a Dream |

It was not tender, or romantic; it was fleeting, tentative, awkward, barely even felt. I remember thinking — and maybe even vocalizing — “what was that?” and acting like it was no big deal. The next day, wandering the woods, he admitted he felt like he had gypped me, and maybe we should try again. So under dark, towering trees, standing on a muddy path where mushrooms sprouted about our feet and up the bark of the pines, he kissed me again.

I expected to feel a rush, butterflies, tingles, warmth, anything. I felt nothing. Nothing except slight confusion and the thought “are we even doing this right?” We kissed a few more times, and he admitted he felt the butterflies, the tingles, the excitement… but me? Nada. My heart didn’t skip a beat, my skin didn’t flush, my thoughts didn’t fall into a jumble. In fact, my thoughts were very, very clear: I felt nothing, did this mean he wasn’t right for me?When Love is Not a Dream | www.eccentricowl.comWhen Love is Not a Dream |

I have never been a believer in the whole “make sure you’re sexually compatible before you get married” stuff. Honestly, I believed (and still believe) that if this was the right person for you, you didn’t have to worry about the sex. God had created this person for you, why would you not be compatible in every area?  But in that moment I realized perhaps I at least believed that kissing, something so simple and romantic, would not be a complicated thing you had to figure out. Kissing the person you loved should have been easy, right?

That Monday perhaps two days after our first kiss and a day after our second try, I was a mess. I didn’t like kissing. And not for more obvious reasons — I didn’t find it gross, I didn’t find him unattractive, I didn’t find the entire idea repulsive. It just did nothing for me, and I wanted it to. I was dying for a kiss that stirred something in me, that twisted my stomach into pleasing knots, or made my heart skip a beat, or sent a rush to my head. But no, I just didn’t feel it.When Love is Not a Dream | So I decided that perhaps I really wasn’t ready, and I met up with him to tell him so. I regretted letting him kiss me so early, when clearly I didn’t know what I wanted and I wasn’t sure if I had been ready. I told him as much, through welling sad emotions, and we spent the entire day talking about it, drinking coffee, sitting on the couch and just being with each other. The entire time, I silently wondered if I had made a grave mistake, if perhaps he wasn’t the one for me. I never said as much to him, but I was terrified that this man, whom I had admitted to myself just a week before that I loved, was not the love of my life. I was heartbroken that I didn’t feel anything, that the person I had finally met who felt so right in every single other area, who I got along with and who shared my interests and made me feel like the most important girl in the world… was not the one.

Because of a kiss.

At the end of that day, which was the sole largest crisis of the relationship in my mind, I decided to try once more. We kissed again, awkwardly, tentatively, with no previous practice or experience, and I still didn’t get it. But I decided to go home, to breathe, and think, and pray… and I Googled it. Because I didn’t want to disappoint my parents so early in the relationship; I didn’t feel like I could talk to my mom about it (I wish I had; when I finally admitted we kissed to her, months and months later, it wasn’t even an issue), and I didn’t want to admit to anyone else that  we had kissed; everyone I knew was aware that I had determined to wait until my wedding day. What if I was suddenly a hypocrite for changing my mind?When Love is Not a Dream |

To my relief, Google brought me a slew of young women out there who had experienced this lack of feeling about kissing, and a plethora of answers saying that it sometimes didn’t click right away; sometimes it took practice, sometimes one or the other was just a bad kisser. Sometimes, things just don’t work quite the way you expected and dreamed the first time.

So, reassured by Google search and answer, I went to bed with only subtle worries about whether he was really “the one.” I reminded myself that I loved him, that I couldn’t imagine life without him, that he loved me, and that hey, even if I wasn’t getting it, he certainly enjoyed it, and I went to sleep. We continued kissing; stolen kisses, unsure whether our relatively conservative families would approve of these little trysts — and perhaps that was part of my overall displeasure with the process — and I let it go. I reminded myself that kissing was definitely not the most important thing in a relationship. I reminded myself that I still loved to hold hands, cuddle, and talk to him, and that we fit together better than I had ever imagined aside from the kissing.When Love is Not a Dream |

Had I been a little less serious about relationships in general, it might have ended right there. I might have decided I wanted to find a man that fluttered my heart with his lips, and I might never have had the life I have now. But I know, and subconsciously knew, that love is not always how it’s portrayed in novels and Hollywood. Nothing ever is. Love, for me, was not a wild and passionate thing; it was slow and sure, steady and calm, confident and unmoving.

And the physical side of us would not always be around; someday, I knew, we would get old and no longer care. What mattered most was that we got along, that we had a solid love, that we had similar values.

A week after our first kiss and The Crisis, though, it clicked. Suddenly I felt that warming of the heart, the excitement of a really good kiss, and everything was okay.When Love is Not a Dream |

Scarf, c/o Quotation Marks | shirt, ??? | skirt, self-made | tights, Target | belt, thrifted | shoes, Modcloth

Kissing is undoubtedly one of my favorite pastimes now. That and, well… other things we won’t discuss. Ha! The point is… love is not always what you think it will be. It’s not always a fairytale, a romance novel, a chick flick. Kissing, sex, physical attraction, relationships… they’re not always perfect, or perhaps they’re never perfect. They’re not Hollywood wonderful, they’re real. Messy, emotional, amazing, confusing, sometimes painful, ultimately… beautiful.

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