Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Book Favorites: The Art of Racing in the Rain

racing in the rain

I read all but the first 50 pages of The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein while I was at the lake the weekend before last.  It’s probably the best book I’ve read this year and it’s certainly one of the most unique books I’ve ever read, at least in its narrative style.  This story is told in first person by Enzo, an incredibly intelligent dog who longs to be reincarnated as a human.  Yes, the whole book is narrated by a dog, and I absolutely loved it.

Enzo is adopted as a puppy by Denny, a semi-professional race car driver.  Denny soon marries Eve and has a baby, Zoe, to whom Enzo becomes a faithful companion.  Denny and his family go through a really rough patch in life and Enzo is there the whole time to lend his support and at times prevent his master from making some big mistakes. 

This is a heart-wrenching but funny and hopeful book that has a terrific ending.  Enzo is not only the narrator of the story, he’s also the heart and soul of it.  My favorite part book is when he gets to ride with Denny on the race track.  The whole passage is so joyous and I love when Enzo barks twice to “go faster.”  The race track and the art of racing serve as guideposts throughout the whole book, which I thought was very successful and engaging, even for someone who could care less about racecar driving. 

This is an obvious choice for a dog lover but I think anybody would enjoy it.  If you do have a dog I would recommend reading this with your pet nearby.  Like I said, I read this while I was at the lake and by the time I finished it I couldn’t wait to go back home to my Finnley! 

What are some of your favorite books you’ve read this year?

P.S.  I’m linking up to Centsational Girl’s Great Book Link Party.  Check out her post for her favorite book and links to other bloggers’ favorites. 

Saturday in the City

After Friday night’s Olympics party Kate, Ben, and I woke up early to drive downtown for a tour of The Roasterie.  I’ve wanted to do the tour for years but this is the first time I’ve actually done it.  The Roasterie is Kansas City’s largest coffee manufacturer and one of the only coffee producers that air roasts their beans instead of drum roasting them.  The tour was really interesting and we learned a lot about all that goes into the process.  Plus there were free coffee samples at the end and some sweet photo-ops. 




We followed up our tour with lunch at Chez Elle in KC’s Westside neighborhood.  Chez Elle is a creperie and coffee shop that has the most delicious crepes I’ve had outside of Paris.  I can’t wait to go back! 


After running some errands in the afternoon we reconvened for dinner at Nara in The Crossroads.  It wasn’t the best sushi I’ve had in KC (the mango roll at Drunken Fish is still my fav), but it was delicious and I had a great time with my friends. 




What a good looking group of people!  The night ended with drinks at The Bulldog, and Sunday we got in some time at the pool and had pad thai from Thai Spice here in Lee’s Summit.  All around it was a truly wonderful weekend! 

Monday, July 30, 2012

Olympics Opening Ceremony Watch Party

Friday night my BFF Kate came over to watch the London Opening Ceremonies.  To make the night a little more festive I decided to make an international themed dinner with food and drinks from around the world (or at least the American version of food and drinks from around the world).  I’m not sure if the two of us hanging out and eating a ton of food technically counts as a watch party but that’s what I’m calling it.  Here’s what we had:


Pita Chips and Hummus for Greece (both store bought)


Moscow Mule for Russia, via Oprah’s recipe


Patatas Bravas for Spain, via Katie’s recipe


Margarita for Mexico, recipe from Epicurious


Vegetable Lo Mein for China, recipe from Food Network (I substituted a fresh red bell pepper for the bag of frozen stir-fry vegetables)

I did pick up some all-American chocolate chip cookies handmade for us by the fine folks at HyVee for dessert but we forgot to eat them/we were really full.  We also had a glass of kir later in the evening for France but I didn’t snap a picture.

In the spirits of the Olympics, here’s my scoring for the evening:

Food and Drinks:  Gold

Company:  Gold

Opening Ceremonies:  Bronze, barely.  Can we talk about the giant Voldemort puppet that was “defeated” by the 50 Mary Poppins that dropped from the sky?? Or the history lesson of the industrial revolution via drummers, dance, and smokestacks raising from the ground?? Not impressed. 

I do really enjoy this meme inspired by the ceremonies though:


All in all it was a wonderful evening.  Fun was had by all, including Finnley; he was a bit worn out by the end of the evening:


And that’s just the start of what turned out to be a wonderful weekend.  I’ll be back with more details tomorrow!

Friday, July 27, 2012

DIY Paint Chip Art

I’ve seen a ton of creative paint chip projects floating around the internet for years, even before the Pinterest era (remember a time without Pinterest?).  I’ve wanted to try one for a long time but I didn’t feel like stealing paint chips from Home Depot to do so.  After our trip to Sherwin Williams the other day to find a paint color for the guest room I had a ton of purple and green paint chips left over though, so today I got a little crafty.  Here’s what I came up with.

paint chip art title

Here’s the big pile of paint chips I started with.


I used my scrapbook paper cutter to cut the strips into 1.5 inch sections, and then cut the strips apart so I was left with a bunch of squares. 


I played with arranging the squares but I didn’t like how that looked, so I cut the squares in half diagonally into triangles.


I played with different ways of arranging them until I came up with this.


I just used a glue stick to adhere the paint chips to a piece of white scrapbook paper.  I drew a line down the middle of the paper to start as a guide for the dark purple triangles, and then I just kept building outward until I got to this. 


I popped it into an Ikea ribba frame that I wasn’t using.  I really like how it looks framed and matted.


I also really like the mosaic-esque quality too.  I think if I were to do this again I would use just one color, like a million different shades of blue, but I like how the purple and green looks too.  Pretty nice for a completely free art project!

Thursday, July 26, 2012


I’ve lived in Kansas City for the last four years and for the most part I really love it.  I grew up in a small town in the middle of the Illinois cornfields so living in a city is definitely a change.  Since I hate driving I spent most of my time either in the Northland where we used to live, or now in Lee's Summit, but I love the architecture of the city.  I snapped a bunch of these pics when we were downtown this spring for our kickball league.  I gave them the instagram treatment to make them a little more special.

The new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.  So pretty.  

Bartle Hall convention center and the Power and Light murals.

The gold dome at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.  

The Folgers coffee plant.  

And here are a bunch of pics from my favorite area of KC, the Country Club Plaza.  

IMG_0542.JPG (2)
IMG_0535.JPG (2)
IMG_0536.JPG (2)
IMG_0537.JPG (2)
IMG_0538.JPG (2)
IMG_0543.JPG (2)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


We finally got the Alicia Bock calendar prints hung!  I did 4 on each side of the living room window in a grid pattern.  Here’s how they look:



It feels wonderful to get the living room that much closer to being done. 

I also finally made a decision on what print to order from 20x200!  The winner is…


Prettymaps Paris by Aaron Straup Cope.  It’s a gorgeous map of Paris that’s suppose to remind you of what the city looks like when you look out of an airplane at night.  It’s not a flower like my mom thought Smile  I bought it with the gift certificate I bought on Joss and Main back in March.  It should be here later this week, and then I’ll just need to find the perfect frame and place to hang it!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Springtime!

For those of you who have seen our guestroom, you know the paint is a bit atrocious.  It’s an ugly salmon/fleshy colored pink with some awful brown sponge painting over the top.  These pictures don’t convey just how ugly it is.


Not only are the paint colors ugly, the previous owners also did a terrible job painting.  They didn’t tape off the trim or take off the outlets so there’s paint all over everything.  And look how they patched the nail holes below.


Yuck.  So this room has been targeted as the first to get repainted since we moved in (we had the living room painted right before we moved in).  Neither Ben or I really have the energy right now to repaint the room, but we decided to go ahead and buy all the paint and supplies we needed yesterday.  Sherwin Williams was having their 40% off sale and it was just too good of a deal to pass up.  So we started by picking up a bunch of paint swatches.  I wanted either a pretty light to medium purple with some gray in it, or a crisp light green with lots of yellow.  I cut out the ones I like and taped them on the wall.


Yeah, that’s a lot of choices.  After staring at all the colors for a while I narrowed them down to these three:


Mauve Finery, Enchanted, and Springtime.  I thought I really wanted to do purple but I ended up liking the green better.  It will really brighten up the space and make it nice and light and airy.  Plus, even though I liked these two purple shades, I feel that purple can go too pink and little-girly really easily, which is not what I want.  I went onto Sherwin Williams’ color visualizer, which I used when we picked the living room paint color, to see what the Springtime color would look like in the room and this is what it generated:


It barely even looks green in this picture! That made me nervous so I tried the room in Gleeful, which is one step darker than Springtime.


That looks a little more like what I want, but I still wasn’t sure because the swatch of Gleeful looks like a pretty bright green, so I went back to Sherwin Williams to pick up paint samples of Springtime and Gleeful.  Here’s what they looked like after we got them up on the wall.


It’s still kind of hard to get a good idea of the paint colors in this picture, but Springtime (on the left) is a really pretty light creamy green with some yellow in it.  Gleeful is pretty too but since it’s more of a lime green I think it would be too overwhelming.  So Springtime is the winner! I sent Ben back to Sherwin Williams for the third time to pick up two gallons of this paint, plus some trim paint, ceiling paint, and painting supplies. 
I’m not sure when we’ll get down to painting the room but you know I’ll share pictures when we do!