Wuv, true wuv.

Greetings, friends and benefactors. Let’s talk about love today. <3

You may recall us speaking highly of our Yardsale Press friends, Bryan and Hillary. This past weekend they got married in a barn. If I had to sum it up in a phrase, the phrase would be: there was an ice cream truck. Just kidding. The phrase would be: WEDDING OF THE CENTURY.

If I were to sum it up in a lengthier format, I would make Ellen help me and it would go a little something like this…

The ceremony began with all the dapper groomsmen entering and each planting a giant cheek kiss on Tom, the wedding officiant. I could have sworn Will kissed him on the mouth but he denies it. Someone find proof.

The mere sight of Hillary in her wispy-beautiful gown set off Ellen’s waterworks.* Then Tom started speaking and Laur and El were waterworking it in stereo on either side of me for the duration of the ceremony which was short and sweet and perfect in every way. We walked down memory lane of how H&B came to be the team of ultimate cuties that they are today.

Cocktail hour for me consisted of 37 triangles of smoked gouda, working real hard to make sure my heels didn’t get stuck in the floorboards, and hugging on friends. I couldn’t stop eyeing the antique sleigh that was on display up near the barn rafters. My wine thought it seemed like a good photo opportunity but I’m glad my self didn’t pursue this further.

Ellen’s cocktail hour consisted of her and Robb finding the door that catering was entering through and standing by it so they had first dibs on all appetizers. This is not at all surprising.

People really brought their A-game on the dance floor mainly because H&B’s must plays included Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” and Big Freedia’s “Ya’ll Get Back Now.”  (If you haven’t seen the official music video for that song, go do that and then come back to us.) I also liked that I could make eye contact with just about anyone in the room and we would instantly boost our dance thrusters from our respective corners of the floor, no questions asked. Even when H&B announced the surprise arrival of the ice cream truck, people danced with their cones. With each willful head bang, melty plops of ice cream hit the dance floor thus creating the ideal conditions for moon walking.

Convenient. Delicious. Sprinkles.

Convenient. Delicious. Sprinkles.

We also spent a healthy dose of time with Bryan’s grandfather who wore his vintage Miller High Life shirt at Bryan’s request. This is an adorable team moment we shared together:

Stack em up.

Trying our darndest to get him to dance with us.

Shirt detail.

Shirt detail.

At the end of the night, the ride back to the hotel on a school bus involved a lengthy, heartfelt sing-a-long which was kicked off with “Ironic” from the 1995 Grammy Award-winning album Jagged Little Pill. Since I know these lyrics like the back of my hand, I took a multi-tasking approach, singing and eating a chocolate chunk cookie.

Here’s the Instagram hashtag feed from #blumsculwedding: http://www.enjoygram.com/tag/blumsculwedding

Which brings me to my final question: why can’t every weekend be like that one was? Don’t answer that. Just let it float out there in the universe.

*Other things that make Ellen cry: Cirque Du Soleil, children’s dance recitals (can be strangers), great performances on Ninja Warrior, power chords in Christmas songs.

#sanfransister Part 2

Our story last left off on our lovely, and not strenuous at all, hike through the Muir Woods. As unnecessary as our athletic attire was for the walk, it was even more unnecessary for our next great feat: Tartine Bakery. At least once in your life, you need to take the time to hit up Tartine, fill up a shopping bag with $30 of sandwiches and pastries for just yourself and head over to the highest point of Delores Park to meet your gluttonous fate. It is there you will have a grand panorama of the city as well as a grand panorama of the certifiable ecosystem of weirdness contained in the park.

Notable characters included:

  • a mime in training
  • a man walking laps in a Speedo
  • two gigantic untethered parrots
    (whose owner didn’t get enough attention as a child)

After ample lounging/bloating, we went to 826 Valencia—Pirate Supply Store. In my head, I anticipated it to be something like a pirate-themed party supply store, which sounded all right but maybe not worth getting up from the park blanket for. Oh honey, no. Let’s just say if you ever need a $299 hook to replace your hand, this is where you go. While you’re tickling your pirate funny bone, rest easy knowing proceeds go to a non-profit center for kids who can’t read good.

Pirate Lyfe

Booty

Shortly thereafter, I expressed my desire to see the Full House house and the Mrs. Doubtfire house which Ellen immediately and brilliantly twisted into us Doubtfiring ourselves in front of the Mrs. Doubtfire house. Fast forward to us buying three cans of whipped cream at the grocery store as well as some paper towels for clean up because we are responsible adults. Fast forward again to finding a stranger on the streets to take a video of us doing this:

Eat your heart out, Robin Williams.

That night, nestled amidst a patch of classy looking strip clubs, we ate seafood at Sotto Mare in a we-put-you-in-the-basement-to-dine-because-we-are-ashamed-of-you type scenario. Then we went to a champagne bar appropriately named The Bubble Lounge whose twinkly vibe matched the innocent twinkle in our eyes. “Bring on the Fizzy Lifting Drinks,” we all thought simultaneously. However, there was no lounging to be had despite there being a handful of unoccupied couch clusters- we were yet again deemed unworthy by staff and found ourselves ushered into their empty basement with LED lights and a sad DJ playing that Pharrell song.

After our little basement double down, we were feeling that Lady San Francisco was giving us the cold shoulder, with heads hung and our feet kicking pebbles, we crossed the threshold into Chinatown and were welcomed with open arms into a bar that was jammed to the gills and only served drinks that came in plastic Dixie cups. Here, we learned the ways of the Chinese Mai Tai and before you know it, no one could find me. That is, until the chanting of my new group of friends gave away my location. I was found in good company, wearing someone else’s scarf that had touched the floor a bunch of times.

This is probably definitely the place.

This is probably definitely the place.

 

Other trip highlights:

1.) Hiking Yoga: even though no amount of breakfast could save Sara from the revenge of the Chinese Mai Tais, the rest of the gang continued on to do some urban hiking mixed with yoga stretching in picturesque spots throughout the city.

Sans Sara, but still Fabulous. Namaste.

Sans Sara, but still fabulous. Namaste.

2.) Sausalito: where we dined on goat cheese fritters with apple, roasted beets, mixed greens and vanilla bean vinaigrette at the Barrel House Tavern. Is anyone else drooling on their home row keys right now?

3.) In-N-Out Burger: where Ellen’s tray was likened to a garbage dump

4.) Haight Ashbury: hippies, a record store that fed our souls, a bourbon bar, some Painted Ladies

 

 

Painted Ladies

 

More pictures from our adventure can be found here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sarahoneyface/sets/72157641290521464/

#sanfransister Part 1

Once upon a time, three partially-related sisters flew on planes to unite with a fourth (and fifth because we count Robb) in the foggy lands of San Francisco. I arrived first and Ellen was an hour late picking me up. She explained she had been scrubbing the grout in the foyer/bathroom and got a little carried away. She had a crazy look in her eye and I couldn’t tell if it was sleep deprivation, bleach fumes melting her brains, or hunger. It was hunger.

So we took care of the situation which was specifically of the deep dish pizza variety and headed to Oakland to see Ellen and Robb’s apartment where a welcome gift of $3 eBay leggings awaited each of us.

Womens Irregular Geometric Pattern Printing Skinny Leggings Stretchy Pants Black

 

Then it was off to Pixar to see Robb in his natural habitat. I can’t tell you details about the experience because it is top secret but just know that the answer to every fantastical question you have about working there is yes. Maybe I can get away with telling you that Robb decorated his office as an extremely convincing taqueria and you can just build the rest of the Pixar campus in your mind’s eye from there.

Yes, he made stickers for his office/taqueria. +10 for stuffing the cat with taco accoutrements and also for the palindrome.

Yes, he made stickers for his office/taqueria. +10 points to Robb for stuffing the cat with taco accoutrements and also for the palindrome.

The next morning, we cruised to Alcatraz which was eerie and steep. Our audio tour was a little slow moving but informative. I didn’t know about the American Indian occupation of the island in the late 60s or that Al Capone had syphilis.  I struggled intermittently with the fact that my headphones had touched a lot of other ears before my own but sometimes you just have to do stuff in the name of learning.

We did eight-plus miles of walking that first day and dominated the Embarcadero. And just when we were feeling like we could go on no more, we reached Ghirardelli Square and a nice lady with an apron materialized and handed us each a piece of sea salted caramel chocolate. This refueling allowed just enough energy for us to down an additional banana split, a dark chocolate sea salt sundae, and hop on BART to get us back to Oakland and into our soft clothes.

Day two, we drove a winding path to the Muir Woods. I think we were smart to arrive early before the masses so that our minds could be silently blown as we looked up and up again at those redwood beasts. This walk was a highlight for me.

 

This tree fits five comfortably.

This tree fits five comfortably.

 

On the drive back to San Fran from Muir Woods, we thought it appropriate to play every song on our iPhones that had the word California in it. Next time you’re in the bay area, I urge you to crank 2Pac’s “California Love” as you cross the G.G. Bridge.

Please stay tuned for #sanfransister Part 2 where we unlock the ancient secrets of Chinese Mai Tais and make a public display of our love of Robin Williams in drag.

 

 

 

Turn and face the strange

I am sitting at my computer listening to the cacophony that is Ellen and Robb mouth breathing accompanied by the steady winds that are churning a Nor’easter into action outside. These things make me happy. This past year was the year of changes with the biggest being Ellen moving to Oakland. Lucky for me, I’m pretty sure this storm is going to cancel their flight today and that means the Aerobed will stay inflated for another 24 hours and the popcorn will flow like wine. And the wine will also flow like wine.

Now, let’s get unsappy and move on to our 2013 holiday video which examines Erik’s destiny of becoming Macaulay Culkin.

 

Insider’s Tip: Every time Erik sprays the deodorant into his pits, please keep in mind that it’s actually his mom’s dry shampoo.

 

 

The Joy of Painting

While I may be known to do some lite busking in Harvard Square or record a super campy cover of Sledgehammer with my friend Dave, let’s just say I didn’t quite inherit the artistic skills that Ellen did.

Let’s rewind and start from the beginning of this nightmare…

When I was about 8, my cousin convinced me that it would be a great idea to visit a place known as the Plaster Funhouse. You choose from shelves lined with plaster statues of elephants, clown faces and historical figures. We each picked a Nefertiti bust. Then you sit and paint for hours, which somehow feels like days. Then you get that thing glazed, give it to your parents and forget about it until years later when you make a visit home from college and you find it discarded in the wood pile out back. You decide to take it with you when you move to Boston because you see the beauty in it, even when other people just want to set it on fire.

It wasn’t until I’d had Titi out on a shelf for a few months guarding the door to the bathroom that my friend pointed out I had exercised my artistic license and put earrings on her. So what? She also pointed out that at the age of 8, I didn’t know much about Egyptian skin tones– just Irish ones. A fair assessment.

Titi is always watching, always judging.

Titi is always watching, always judging.

 

Then there was the stint where I was a storyboard artist for Hollywood blockbusters like this one I did for Twilight:

Twilight

 

As I matured, I honed my craft and refused to draw anything except cats and Triceratops that looked a little bit like cats. Here’s one that has been turned into a magnet on our fridge:

The tail and the painted toenails were an afterthought.

The tail and the painted toenails were an afterthought.

 

No one ever thought I’d make it past the cat/Triceratops era until last Tuesday when some coworkers introduced me to The Paint Bar. The best description I can give is that it’s just like the Plaster Funhouse but with booze. We signed up for the “Fall Dock At Sunset.” I fully expected mine to turn out more like a “Fall Cat At Sunset” and I’m sure you had that very same thought. The instructor of the class walks everyone through each baby step and tells you critical things like where to put blue. Turns out, I am all right at drinking wine and painting rocks so let’s add it to my expanding repertoire.

Fall Dock At Sunset

I am my generation’s Bob Ross.

 

 

 

Sipping the California Kool-Aid

A
s a few of you may have noticed, I am no longer a Bostonian. I now collect my street cred points from Oakland. I love it out here so far, but wish I could somehow mash it together with everything I love about Boston, i.e. Sara and Dunkin’ Donuts egg croissants. Some things are different (the time zone), some are the same (ketchup), I miss lots of people, many of which are irreplaceable, but am having fun meeting new ones out here too.

Here are a few observations I’ve made so far:

Living on the Berkeley border affords me many bizarre encounters. More than a few times I have seen people walking around, even skateboarding, with multiple cats lazily perched on their heads and shoulders, just going for a cruise. My jaw just drops as I try to count the balancing kitties.

There is no shortage of music in the area either. You may come back to your car to find two hippies leaning against it playing a piece of cardboard with an outline of a guitar scribbled on it, trying to remember the lyrics to Willy Wonka songs.

To maintain my Olympian-like physique, I’ve signed up for dance classes out here. Without Sara by my side, I am doing the butterfly stroke in a pool of awkwardness. In a tradition that I’m not used to, we wrap up class with a cool-down song, a stretching song, and then a song to do a certain exercise that only ladies can do which rhymes with “bagels.”  I’m not typically the square in the room, but this does the trick.

And now, some highlights from living with Robb:

  • His uncanny Billie Holiday singing impressions.
  • Sometimes we stop for tacos on the way home.  This is step 2 to maintaining my Olympian-like physique. Two hours later, we finally get home after an impromptu taco crawl stopping at every taqueria on the block.
  • He hasn’t trapped me in bird netting like my last roommates used to.
  • He knows where the elks hang out. Not like an Elks Lodge. Like the animal. In the wilderness.
    Elk Whisperer

 

More updates to come as the weirdness continues. Boston friends, come visit soon!

 

Sara’s Commentary On The Above:

1.) One of my favorite challenges that Ellen and Robb had to overcome in their new apartment was how to be able to have a rug in their bathroom that didn’t crumple up every time the door was opened and shut. Their collective lightbulb went off and told them that taking the door off the hinge and sawing off one inch from the bottom was the best solution. I never did hear the resolution to this cliff hanger predicament.

2.) Can we never mention Kegels in a blog post ever again?

 

Oh when the saints go marching into wood crafts

B
reaking News: The opposite of Mary-In-A-Tub is St. Francis of Assisi-In-A-Wood-Box.

 

Spotted in Somerville, MA

Spotted in Somerville, MA

Vacationland: Home of the Gazing Ball

Many of you know of our fondness for our Camp Cheerio because it’s all we ever want to talk about. I’m aware it’s terribly annoying and I’m mostly sorry. Those of you who haven’t had the chance to realize how googly-eyed we are over camp, let me give you the abridged version. Camp Cheerio is at an undisclosed location on a spring-fed lake in the Maine woods. My grandparents bought it sight unseen in the early ’70s and I can say with confidence that it hasn’t changed much since. Heck, I can say with confidence the whole cove hasn’t changed much since the cabins were first put there. Some date back to the 1800s.The water is cold and crisp, you mostly eat with your fingers, there is no electricity, and there is an outhouse. Our cove abides by a code of rustic regulations that affords us a true opportunity to disconnect from reality. For those of you into science, it’s pretty close to experiencing time travel.

On the drive up, a chunk at the end is all on secondary and tertiary roads. When we get off the highway, we spring into action playing a game based on the lawn decorations of the houses we drive past. This came about because we noticed in our travels one year that a lot of people had gazing balls proudly displayed on their landscapes. Now, a gazing ball is one of the most loathsome lawn ornaments to exist. Coincidentally, it is also one of the most magical lawn ornaments to exist. Here is an example in case you can’t picture what one looks like.

Gee Bee

Gee Bee

Gameplay is easy. If you are the driver, it’s a little harder. If you are Ellen and get carsick, it’s hilarious to everyone else except you. She recommends chewing a ginger candy to keep the barfies in check. As I was saying, gameplay is easy. If you see a gazing ball, you yell, “GAZING BALL!” If you yell it first, you get a point. In cases where there are 2+ gazing balls on the same lawn, it helps to utter the color of the one you are referring to after you yell, “GAZING BALL!” You would be in shock at how many points you can get. Conversely, if you see a lawn ornament that is in the form of a black bear, you lose all of your points and have to start over again. Admitting to seeing a black bear is based on the honor system. And finally, there is one lawn ornament that rises above even the status of  the gazing ball and that is the elusive Mary-In-A-Tub. Yes, it’s a Virgin Mary statue and it is placed inside of a porcelain claw foot bathtub that is buried on end creating a cost effective grotto. If you see it, you get $50 from the other players. We have never seen one to date.

And now we present some snippets of other things that went down during our vacation:

1. Ellen went fishing, got a nibble, reeled in with great, struggling effort only to finally realize she caught a smallmouth rock. This happened twice.

2. In conditions likely similar to a knighting ceremony, Robb’s dad passed down to Ellen a plastic moose call to take into the wilderness. Its floppy, accordianesque beauty is unsurpassed, but its effectiveness remains unproven. Even when Robb sprinkled a trail of Gram’s iodized salt (“They LOVE salt,” he assured us.) along the path to our cabin and honked the call a couple of times, we had nothing to show for it. Now that I’m thinking about it, a moose with a full rack should rank on the same level as Mary-In-A-Tub.

3. Erik and Robb wanted to snorkel around an island known to have been the garbage dumping grounds for a wealthy family who lived on another close-by island back in the day. They were eager to find some treasures. Look how excited they were:

Garbage Island

Ignorance is bliss!

After a few minutes, Erik’s head surfaced with a look of pure fear and he swam faster than we’ve ever seen anyone swim back to the boat. He had just looked a giant snapping turtle in the face. Bigger than a basketball, but not quite as big as a garbage can lid. Snorkeling extravaganza over.

Here’s a picture from the moment before they locked eyes. I have illustrated the approximate location of the snapper.

erik_snapper

4. Adhering to a strict 4,000 calories/day diet per person, the junk food slam tally for the week was nothing to scoff at:

2 bags Cheez Doodles, 3 bags tortilla chips, 1 box Better Cheddars, 1 bag PARTY SIZE Smartfood, 1 bag Humpty Dumpty Dill Pickle Chips, 1 bag Humpty Dumpty Salt and Vinnies, 1 bag Humpty Dumpty Sour Cream & Onion Chips, 1 bag French Onion Sunchips

5.

Team Zissou. Dead Man’s Rock.

6. The rest of my photos from that week can be found by clicking here.

 

And now for the M. Night Shyamalan twist…

At the end of our week, we got home from camp to find a large package sitting on our front porch. None of us remembered ordering anything but we brought it upstairs and ignored it for a bit. When we finally took scissors to the box, I heard some suspicious school girl giggling coming from El and Robb. Do you guys remember that example picture of the gazing ball I showed you earlier in this post? That’s my back porch. And now that’s my golden gazing ball.

Boston Strong

This past Thursday was the night of the Boston Strong concert which raised funds for The One Fund. The day of the show was one of those days where I had no concept of what time it was at any point because of all the moving and shaking (read: work) that needed to be done. My body was definitely doing tasks without my brain giving it instructions. Cue intense appreciation for those on production teams putting together shows all year long.

Occasionally, I was able to stick my head up out of the haze long enough to eat a stray chunk of bread or to realize I was walking down a hallway behind a man with highlights in his hair and bootcut jeans. Oh, and also the rest of his bandmates in Aerosmith.

Once doors opened, the haze disintegrated as Ellen and I greeted and handed tickets to survivors of the Boston Marathon Bombings. Those moments I will never forget. The distance between me and seeing those people through the television screen had shortened.  It is so very grounding and real and so very aching to the heart.  At the same time, it was incredible to see them present in such a public space, ready to have a good time and bare their strength for everyone to see.

I believe each and every survivor, first responder, and helping hand in attendance stayed for the duration of the show. A small group of us were there to assist and make sure they felt safe. We watched as Donnie Wahlberg jumped off the stage while still singing to sit with a young woman for a few bars. We watched as Steven Tyler gave another his sunglasses. She told me she’d never take them off. We watched as a boyfriend picked up his girlfriend who could not stand and twirled her in circles with her arms wrapped around his neck as Carole King and James Taylor cast a dreamy musical spell over the audience. We watched as Joe Andruzzi finished speaking on stage and immediately exited to the floor to spend the rest of his evening sitting with, talking to, and taking pictures with each person. We watched as artist after artist looked to the survivors and dedicated their performances in their honor.

A night like this doesn’t even nick the surface of fading the tragedy forced on these people but perhaps it gave respite for a few hours—a humble contribution to the healing.

I’ve got 20. But who cares? NBD. I want more.

Since the beginning of time, our grandmother has been an A+ yard sale-r. She knows where to go if you want to fill an industrial sized garbage bag full of clothes for a nickel. At our family cabin deep in the Maine woods, she has amassed an impressive collection of cast iron frying pans seasoned with dust, butter and the occasional mouse turd. Let me tell you, her silver dollar pancakes are exquisite. One time when El was in college, she told Gram to keep an eye out for a women’s road bike with curled handlebars. The next morning, there was a voicemail saying she had found a bike and was bringing it to campus and to have an appetite because Gram and Grampa were taking Ellen to Subway. I have a similar story where you swap out “bike” for “3-tiered hanging fruit basket.” The lady has resources.

This insatiable urge to yard sale is also in our genes so if you ever have some bric-a-brac you’d like us to wade through, just give us a jingle. I know a thing or two about glass bottles and Ellen is really into things like this:

Pinecone elves?

Don’t fall asleep or else they will come to life and eat your soul and steal your secret recipe for pesto.

As if their business name isn’t a dead giveaway, our friends Bryan and Hillary of Yardsale Press are also thrift seekers and we all just took a trip to Brimfield, MA together. Brimfield is the antique mother lode to end all mother lodes and B & H know how to navigate the fields like champions. Here are some highlights:

B & H haggled for a sign to hang over their couch. Good color palette.

At a certain point during the day, the temperature hit 80 and things got a little dicey with Ellen’s behavior. We often do not do well with hot weather. She was acting like Gumby playing Dizzy Bat. The agreed-upon solution to cool her core body temperature was ice cream and it worked like a charm. That girl loves rainbow sprinkles.

I can't tell who likes the sprinkles more: Ellen or her eye brows.

 

Here are some more pictures from the day.

 

<3,

E&S

 

 

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