Dear Public Diary,
Today my darling future husband took me to Waxahachie, Texas so I could take photos of random stuff. Waxahachie is a really cool town full of hundreds of Victorian houses. It’s a dream come true for me, as I adore Victorian houses. We found tons of things to photograph & will have to go back again because I ran out of sunlight today. On my short list is the historic Rogers Hotel & a very old barbershop next door.
We had a great time eating dinner at the famously haunted Catfish Plantation. The food was incredibly delicious & the atmosphere warm & comfortable. I would love to go back!
Thank you, Thom for another great day & a unique adventure. One of the best days of my life…seem to be having a lot of those since meeting you!
New Year’s Day my fiancee and I drove to Southern Oklahoma to see Buddy Guy and Greg Allman play at the WinStar Casino. It was very smoky inside and there were far too many people. The guy I was unlucky enough to end up having to sit by took up a good 2/3rds of my seat due to his…well…size (I don’t mean to offend anyone, there’s no other way to put it) and he kept touching me and talking about a football game he kept looking at on his phone. It seems we can’t go to any event in this state without hearing about football! I wish people would decide whether they want to see a concert or a football game and just do one at a time.
Unfortunately, we also misunderstood the start time of the concert and only saw 15 or so minutes of the Buddy Guy show, but he was cool. He played guitar behind his head and with a towel. I didn’t enjoy Greg Allman at all and felt my fiancee could have done a better job at entertaining us with music than he did. Which is true, Thom is a very talented musician. Anyhow, we left early and went to Applebee’s, even after the $18 buffet, which wasn’t all it ought to be. I got a silly drink at said Applebee’s with coconut rum and some sort of pineapple. It was delicious.
Our hotel room in Gainesville (Texas) had a hot tub in it that looked like a very large urinal. It wasn’t as nice as the Omni Hotel (ha!) or our very own home for that matter, so we left. The lady at the front desk probably thought we were quite a strange pair and no doubt up to no good checking in and out so quickly! It was funny. The ride home was lovely because we got to talk. Thom and I have the best conversations! A wonderful night for unexpected reasons.
In lieu of an expected and schmeezy end of year blog post, I offer you the following no frills, straightforward inventory of 2011, as understood by the current US calendar system. Ahem.
In 2011 I did these (freaking awesome) things:
wrote 50k words of a novel in 16 days
didn’t shower for 16 days (joke)
taught myself how to use Adobe Illustrator in an afternoon, then used it to create a new logo for my extremely humble photography business
threw together a wee photography business (complete with fancy website I honestly slaved over) after I was asked to shoot my best friend’s wedding and the photos did not turn out horrible (there’s always room for improvement in art, but they do rock, no lie)
taught myself the technical junk related to photography and now almost exclusively shoot in manual mode (never any of the auto settings)
completed a 365 project in which I took one photo each day all year solely with my beloved iPhone 4 (and only edited with my iPhone, as well)
re-branded my jewelry shop on Etsy, re-designed my logo and shop appearance, re-shot every single item for sale, and saw a mega increase in sales…am now at over 55 sales so far (56 as of this moment, to be exact) which is pretty good
received jewelry orders from friends and strangers, people in the UK, someone in Japan, a friend in Alaska, a friend in Oregon (thank you all!) all boxed up purdy and shipped with looooove!
started an Etsy print shop where I have received 13 orders so far - yay!!
taught myself to cook (no seriously, I can cook now!) and discovered I excel at making Indian food (which is convenient, since it is the best food in the world)
made truffles from scratch for the first time (peppermint mocha kahlua)
started a rad blog I’m quite proud of and happy with (boredalice.wordpress.com)
started a series on said rad blog called tiny*FICTION in which I share extremely short stories I have written, but have not edited one little bit
designed banners and logos for my rad blog using photoshop cs5 extended, which my sweetheart gave me for my birthday (best present ever)
made origami hats for my cats (truth)
got a nice dslr camera, courtesy of my tax return
started going to the gym on days I could breathe
fit into pants that didn’t fit in 2010 (see previous statement)
sang in public for the first time in my life…twice! once at a bar in downtown fort worth on mardi gras and once at a coffee house in southern iowa (no difference, right?)
spent several nights and weird mornings in the physician’s call room with my laptop and free Doritos
went to a medical conference at the gaylord texan resort and bought a $12 coffee and had a great time
helped my future husband pick out a very, very nice guitar one afternoon in grapevine, tx
laughed SO MUCH…like, more than anyone has any right to laugh ever
made up several catch phrases, such as: “girl, is you cross-eyed? and “ya better bring your little band-aids”
revisited my Japanese language skills and learned some new French
went to John Wayne’s birthplace
went to Jesse James’ grave
saw Guthrie Kennard play tons of times
saw Thom DuKan play tons of times and once in Austin
officially made more enemies in the largest land-locked metropolitan area of the United States in one year than I ever had in a town of less than 2,000 in 25 years…some by just turning down their…um…romantic inclinations (???) and some because I refused to be racist and/or put up with bullies (so clearly for the best!)
met some really cool people
have at least 5 pages worth of funny things my fiancee and his son and I have said that were so funny we wrote them down to remember them for always
have several hilarious videos on my iPhone, including one night when my (soon to be) step-son and I went to a Braum’s drive-thru and he said “now get this, cos this is really out there…” before placing his order
got to stay at the Omni hotel
got certain legal papers taken care of, I’m bonafide now, so there
feel happy and free (see previous statement)
bought two wedding dresses
got to experience the fun of trying on wedding dresses with my mom, grandmother, and aunt (something I will always remember as one of the happiest days of my life)
was given a beautiful and perfect for me antique sapphire and diamond engagement ring by the only person I have ever loved
watched old movies
watched no TV, except the 12 episodes of My So-Called Life on Hulu
got tipsy in front of my grandmother, said swear words in front of her, and she found out I have my nose pierced AND tattoos (haha)
made several trips back home to visit wonderful family and friends
drove to downtown dallas by myself and had a great time
drove to dallas for a job interview in traffic hell immediately after running through the horror section of the wax museum at Ripley’s Believe it or Not (!!!)
planned really cool projects and other stuff for the future, including a wedding
and if not a wedding, definitely a marriage
read The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and some Sherlock Holmes books aloud to my fiancee before bed
visited the bridges of madison county
got mistaken for a stripper
got mistaken for a high school student trying to buy an enormous bottle of very cheap wine
got mistaken for a teenager trying to buy a rated R movie (gasp)
had a table of random strangers at a bar place bets on my age (they guessed 22 at the oldest…I’m 31, was 30 at the time)
had many other major ego boosts by people thinking I look so young (I’m old enough to appreciate this now)
had a fun walk in the middle of the night around downtown fort worth with my sweetheart
made a hilarious and crazy trip to Austin overnight
made a really long list of all the stuff I’m proud of that just happened in the past 12 months
had absolutely nothing truly bad happen
probably some more stuff, but frankly, it’s 2:26 am and there’s a man upstairs waiting for me to come to bed. goodnight, all. i hope your year was as great as mine. my only hope for the future is that people will stop using the word “amazing” when they don’t really mean it. okay, and some other stuff, too. like people forgetting this silly mustache business.
- Me: While I'm here, I'd like to freeze my son's membership.
- LA Fitness Dude: Whoa, your son? No way! I thought you were like, 24 or something...
- Me: Well...my step-son.
- Me (in my mind): Wow, you think 24 is too young to have a kid?
Can I just say—without sounding greedy or pretentious—that I have the best life? Because I do. Hands down. Those of you who know me and where I have come from and what I have done/do for others will totally not find me greedy or pretentious. Those of you who don’t know me, please just take my word for it. OK, moving on…
Two visits to the Omni Hotel in Fort Worth in the past seven days! I swear, I don’t work for them, but hope they appreciate the free publicity. Ha! A beautiful room on the 8th floor and a grand view of the city. Comfortable bed, really nice bathroom with a walk-in shower and everything was clean. The Dr. Pepper chocolate cake via room service is highly recommended. Staying at the Omni was an absolute pleasure, made even better by my adorable and loving fiancee’s company, of course. The entire hotel is just…gorgeous and new and luxurious. It’s clear that they take what they do very seriously. The best part? I actually slept. Normally I can’t sleep in hotels because it’s either too uncomfortable or too loud. Our room was nearly silent and quite comfortable.
Last night Thom (fiancee) and I took a walk around downtown Fort Worth. What a fun city and such nice decorations for Christmas! We walked holding hands across the street from where he graduated from medical school. Who would have ever guessed back then that he and I would be walking there now together?! Love is a mysterious and wonderful force. I am grateful and inspired daily by this man and his kindness. Our relationship and friendship transcends everything I have ever read, seen, experienced, or heard about love. I wish everyone could experience what we have, but sadly, I think it is quite rare. I will hold it close and never take it for granted. I will be a better person for knowing him.
Below are some photographs from our walk. Unfortunately, I only had my iPhone with me and not my “good camera,” but some of these turned out great. Enjoy, enjoy and Merry Christmas everyone. The past couple days have been life-changing…for the best and the better! I am gloriously happy today!
Thom on Houston Street <3
Decorations in Sundance Square
Holly decorations, so pretty
Christmas in the city
pretty building and lights!
a gorgeous church
(all photos by Ashley Noelle, all rights reserved - do not use without permission)
Okay, I am a sucker for nostalgia, I will admit. I also know a thing or two about good logo design after being immersed in (consumed by, even) the culture of design school for 4 years (not as a student, but as the wife of one) and trust me, I have earned the right to feel this way and say what I’m about to say about the hideous new logo for Brach’s candy. That said…
Sometimes I think the world is killing everything cool, everything that I loved as a kid. Just today while doing some Christmastime grocery shopping, I came upon the new logo for Brach’s candy. I actually said, “oh, no” out loud in a horrified tone as another piece of my childhood died. Dramatic, I know. In place of the familiar uneven purple and blue rectangles and yellow star apostrophe, there was this new thing, which reminded me instantly of Baskin Robbins ice cream store with it’s Pepto Bismol pink color scheme. Gross.
I remember just last year telling people how much I loved Brach’s candy company not only for the nostalgia of the delicious little sweets like chocolate stars and starlite mints, but also because of their integrity and respect for the past, as evidenced by their refusal to go all trendy and change their logo beyond recognition. Sure, they have updated it over the years, but the updates have been slight and fairly consistent. Sigh. I am confused and kind-of sad about this plunge into mediocrity Brach’s has decided to take.
The new logo is in the shape of die cut ornaments used in scrap-booking, which are currently fashionable—to the point of being stereotypical and trite—among photography business logos and DIY wedding blogs. The stripes are still there to some extent and the little yellow star apostrophe survived the switch, but added to it are what appear to be two spurts of yellow liquid…? Seriously. Use Google Image search and see for yourself.
It’s a bad logo design, in my humble opinion and a bad change. It no longer says “candy” or “vintage,” and instead evokes images of Pepto Bismol flavored ice cream…ew. Brach’s, you had a good thing going there with your old design, including your old “Pick-a-Mix” stands in which customers could scoop out their own candy. You can’t buy the years it takes to form a bond with customers like the one you used to have. Your old logo(s) made warm, happy memories of childhood and loved ones spring into my mind. It was special and somewhat magical. There is nothing special about this new logo at all.
I’ve said my piece and counted to three.
It is December 17th and we finally put up and decorated our Christmas tree. The cats were quite pleased with this and subsequently, I have had to repair two (2) ornaments with super glue. The super glue lead to two incidents of my fiancee having to pour rubbing alcohol and fingernail polish remover over my fingers, as they were stuck together. I am no longer permitted to engage in super-gluing activities….ever.
Last night we had the pleasure of accompanying our good friends Sandy and Allan to the Omni Hotel Fort Worth for Sandy’s birthday. It was magical, I must say. Everything was decorated for Christmastime and even though it scared me to pieces, there was a somewhat interesting man dressed as a nutcracker soldier on stilts who was hanging around the lobby. I am certain his intention was to delight children, but I feel he was mostly scaring them. Honestly, my first instinct was to RUN from him, but there were too many fancy people there and I didn’t want to make any more of a spectacle of myself than I already was.
Snobs aside, the food was fantastic and the company even better. We had dinner at Cast Iron and I got the chicken and dumplings, which came in a little cast iron pot. It was adorable and delicious. Sandy got a complementary piece of delectable chocolate cake and a beer. Not bad! The service was pretty good and our waiter was very nice. Highly recommended if you are in the area and need a mid-priced meal in fancy surroundings.
The view from Sandy and Allan’s room was spectacular. Fort Worth is a pretty cool city, I don’t know if most people realize that. Also, something about the downtown areas of large cities is enchanting to me. I must be a city girl. Then again, I love the back roads and scenery of the country, too. I grew up in a very small town and at times I do miss the less-daunting traffic. Though, there is nothing like big city shop windows at Christmastime. Some places really go all out and it’s just…well, kind-of grand, really! It’s exciting. More on my lifelong fascination with shop windows to come…!
I am happy. Also, I love hotels. Aaaaand! We get to stay at the Omni Hotel on Monday evening! I can’t wait. We also booked a room with a hot tub for New Year’s Day Eve (ha!), so we don’t have to drive after seeing Buddy Guy in Oklahoma. What should I wear to see Buddy Guy? I may just have to shave my legs for this one….yeah, I said it!
I hope everyone is having an enjoyable holiday season. This is one of the best I have had in my entire life. There’s really not much better than having a loving family and a feeling of home. I wish everyone could have it and if I could give it to all of you, I would.
- Our Son: I found a huge cricket in the middle of the kitchen floor last night. His leg was missing...then I found the leg a bit further over by the door.
- Me: Eeew! Did you throw the leg away?
- Our Son: No, I thought he might find it and want it.
- Me: Uh...like...he could reattach it or something?!
- My Fiancee: Well, if he puts it on ice and gets himself to the hospital in time...
- Me: ....