Thursday, January 22, 2009

Merrill Lynch CEO Spent $1.2M on his Office...Decorated by the Obamas' WH Decorator

The interior design websites I read have been excited about the Obamas' choice of designer for the White House, Michael Smith. His work is certainly beautiful. Behold:

Where can I get this mirror?!

This is the same Michael Smith who was paid $800,000 to decorate Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain's office. Whoa, pricey decorator! Thain spent $1.2 million on his STUPID OFFICE, while the company was getting ready to slash jobs and all that good stuff. The report says 2 chairs were $87,000 and a trash can was $1400. I really great angry hearing stories of the lavish spending and bonuses of these CEOs who've run their company into the ground. REDIC!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Inauguration Countdown: Tidbits

I enjoyed these past presidential tidbits perusing the Dallas Morning News' inauguration coverage:

Inaugural Parade
Before Richard Nixon's 1973 inaugural parade, officials applied a chemical bird repellent to tree branches along the route. The product, called Roost No More, was supposed to keep pigeons off the trees by making their feet itch. Instead, the birds ate the repellent and keeled over, leaving Pennsylvania Avenue decorated with sick and dead pigeons.

Oh, how lovely. Maybe they should have tested that one out.

Presidential Car
The days of off-the-shelf cars for presidents ended after an assassination
attempt was made on President Franklin Roosevelt while he rode in a convertible
in Miami in 1933.

In response, the feds had FDR use Al Capone's 1928 armored
, which the government acquired after Capone's indictment on
tax-evasion charges.

Does this mean FDR rode gangsta-style?

Perhaps the most famous presidential Lincoln is the 1961 Continental built
for President John F. Kennedy, the one Kennedy was riding in when he was
assassinated in Dallas in 1963.

The car was then modified and used for President Lyndon Johnson.

Um, no. Couldn't they have gotten LBJ a new one?

I'll be walking over from work to watch the inauguration tomorrow on the big screens at Victory Park (it's the Times Square of Dallas, y'all). I'm v. v. excited, and hoping everything goes well!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Inauguration Countdown: Presidential China

I saw a post on Bloomalicious about past presidential china and fell in love with the turquoise-riimed Polk china:

I'm also liking Jefferson's and Washington's:

I couldn't find a complete library of all presidential china, but I found a couple here.

I hope the Obamas get theirs in sooner rather than later. The Bush state china just arrived and couldn't even be used for the recent meeting of all POTUSes because it was still being unpacked. I was a little shocked when I first heard the $493,000 price tag (paid with private sources, and "the economy was a lot better than it is today"), but it is for 320 place biggie, right?

Monday, January 12, 2009

26 Things Before 27

Yesterday was my 27th birthday. (Yay me!) I had a fantastic, wonderful weekend that started with a surprise party on Friday, continued celebrations on Saturday, and a nice dinner with family on Sunday.

I wasn't exactly excited about entering my late 20s, so it was great to have the best birthday ever! (By the way, "60 Minutes" was on in the background last night, and Andy Rooney stated that no one wants/needs to count their birthdays after 25. What do you know, Andy?)

Let's take a look back on 26 memorable experiences, accomplishments, and general highlights of the year before I turned 27, shall we?

1. Celebrated a Canadian St. Patty's Day

2. Devoured poutine in Toronto

3. Had foie gras at Toque! in Montreal

4. Attended Easter Mass at Notre-Dame Basilica

5. Climbed into a shopping cart for some engagement photos

6. Partied like a bachelorette rockstar in Las Vegas

7. Bought a condo

8. Navigated the mortgage closing process and survived

9. Planned and paid for a wedding and survived

10. Got married

11. Celebrated

12. Honeymooned in Costa Rica

13. Had an adventurous road trip

(A tractor totally got stuck on this rickety, one-way bridge for over an hour on our way back)

14. Got my appetite back (too nervous to eat in the months before the wedding!)

15. Relaxed

16. Refrained from alimentaring los monos in Manuel Antonio

17. Ziplined through the rainforest

18. Soaked in the Tabacon Hot Springs, heated to an extremely hot temp by the Arenal Volcano

19. Danced as newlyweds at two weddings

20. Took a bite out of the Big Apple

21. Swam with some swans in Birmingham

22. Voted for a president that actually won

23.Froze my booty off in Boston

24. Tried ossobucco as my last meal of 2008

25. Rang in 2009 running down the beach with a sparkler in my hand, watching fireworks, and feeling a burst of pure joy

26. Had a surprise party given in my honor!

I ran out of numbers! So many great things happened to me last year, and I'm so blessed to have great people in my life to share these experiences.

Coming soon...27 things before 28!

Punching the Clock

I love this idea to hold cards, mail, whatever your heart desires.

found on Cafe Cartolina

This totally beats the mail holder I was eyeing earlier.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Today I Will be Happier

from here

Partly because it just turned 2009, partly because I'm about to turn another year older, but mostly because I'm trying to work out old sadness/anger/hang-ups for good, I've been doing a lot of reflecting.

And the New Year's resolution I've come up with is simple:
Be easier on myself. Find my joie de vivre.

I finished Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love over my break at the beach and really, really liked it. It's one of those where I was constantly bookmarking passages that spoke to me. I don't have the book handy with me now, but I found one that I wanted to share online:
"I keep remembering one of my Guru's teachings about happiness. She says that people universally tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will maybe descend upon you like fine weather if you're fortunate enough. But that's not how happiness works. Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it. If you don't you will eat away your innate contentment. It's easy enough to pray when you're in distress but continuing to pray even when your crisis has passed is like a sealing process, helping your soul hold tight to its good attainments."
I definitely have not been striving to maintain the joy in my life; instead you can probably find me curled up in a fetal position on my couch. It seems weird to say it, because I am certainly surrounded by so many joyful blessings, but I have found how easy it is to let the things that are sad and crappy in life overwhelm me. And I know it's bad - life's too short, and there's too much out there to experience to waste time letting the low points keep you low.
"There is so much about my fate that I cannot control, but other things do fall under the jurisdiction. I can decide how I spend my time, whom I interact with, whom I share my body and life and money and energy with. I can select what I can read and eat and study. I can choose how I'm going to regard unfortunate circumstances in my life-whether I will see them as curses or opportunities. I can choose my words and the tone of voice in which I speak to others. And most of all, I can choose my thoughts."
I often worry, and I often dwell on negative things that are outside of my control. I've been letting those things play out in my head instead of choosing to think differently. I have been an especially bad moper lately, and the fact that my to-do list from August pretty much still has all of its items on it shows that I haven't been taking care of the things I can control.

So I'm going to focus my energies on the many blessings in life and the things I can control. I will try to stop worrying so much. I will be more selfish (hopefully in a good way), and look at what I truly want over what I think I should do. I will tell those I love how much I love them, and more often. I will seek out as many simple pleasures as I can. I will count my blessings.

Sometimes it's going to be a tall order. You must insist on happiness, no?