Thursday, March 31, 2011

Books I Am Hearting Lately

I love to read (thanks Mom!). There is something about getting comfortable, holding a book in your hands (I have not yet embraced this Kindle business...call me old fashioned) and letting your mind go someplace else that is beyond satisfying.

While I would like to say that finish book after book - these days it just isn't so. Life in the Pascall house is quite crazy at the moment. By the time we get home and eat dinner, it is about 9pm and if I even try to get into a book, I fall asleep after 2 pages. However, I still crave the wind-down that going through a book gives me at the end of a long day. My solution? Books that I can just pick up, turn to any page and read. There is no story. There is no commitment. There is no guilt that comes from taking forever to finish a book. There are just interesting facts, lovely tips and the relaxation that I desire. While I miss reading novels, they will just have to wait until we have finished this current film. In the meantime, here are a few books that I have been enjoying lately:

The Book of Origins

I love this book. It has the history behind everything from coffee to cell phones. Pistols to plastic surgery. Musical instruments to Morse code. If you love random trivia and interesting tidbits of information, you will like this book.

English Bread and Yeast Cookery


If you have ever baked a loaf of bread, from scratch (sans bread machine) you can appreciate the information in this book. It details much of how bread was developed as well as provides recipes for all types of breads. It's like a cookbook, textbook and memoir all in one. This may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I love it.


Dan would laugh at me every time I picked up this book, and I'm pretty sure my sister is going to laugh at me when she sees this, but I don't care. I have always been interested in domestic history and I found this book super interesting. The pictures are great, the historical facts are amusing and the design ideas are even better.

Restore. Recycle. Repurpose.


This is my newest book and if you enjoy antiques, vintage shopping/decor and using reclaimed pieces, I recommend this little lovely. It's full of design ideas all based around using what you already have and/or revamping reclaimed pieces. I could look at this book for hours and hours.

What about you? What are some books you like to simply pick up every now and then to relax?

Monday, March 28, 2011

My Weekend

The weekend. So cherished. So loved. So fast.

We made the most of it, though, in our own little way.

Dan and I work until about 8:30pm most Friday nights, which means we miss a lot of normal Friday night social events and are so tired by the time we get off, we have very little energy left. However, this last Friday we decided to stop in at a local auction house that is right by work.

I. Loved. It. LOVED IT!

I have been to charity auctions before, where items go for thousands of dollars, but this was a real, down-home auction, folks. Anything and everything was up for sale. We wasted no time in getting a bid card and a seat up at the front. It was ON!



This was the item I wanted more than anything: a dinged up, scrappy, old milk can. To many, this might look like a piece of junk, but to me, it is beautiful. With every dent and bit of scraped up paint, I see a history and a story. I felt nervous when bidding on this, but walked away with it for a cool $25.




And this was Dan's big purchase: an old woodworker's tool box full of old tools. I don't usually get too excited about tools, but there are some really cool pieces in here. Dan was bidding against 5 old men who had been eying the box all night, but won it in the end.


Saturday morning, I was in the mood for baking, so I whipped up these scones. However, I must note that I didn't make mine as large as the recipes says, and I used all whole wheat flour instead of 1 3/4 C. all purpose and 1/2 C. whole wheat and they turned out great!


A major player this weekend, and many we have had lately, has been the weather. This picture pretty much sums it up perfectly: sunny one minute, rainy the next, then hailing and thunder after that. The seasons are a changin' here in Portland, OR and Mother Nature isn't going to let it happen without making us suffer a bit. Perhaps it's so we appreciate the summers more. Perhaps it's because we have to be reminded where all this beautiful greenery comes from. Or perhaps, it just is.

Our weekend also consisted of a dinner with my sister and brother, who I love more than I can ever say, a Sunday brunch and an Indian curry with friends. It was a bit more eating out than I am used to, but that's what weekends are for.

Oh yeah...and we put in another offer on a house. Actually, two houses. One is a short sale (which we like better) and the other is a normal sale. That is all I can really handle to say about it right now in fear that if I talk about it too much, it will be jinxed or something. I don't know. Bleh. All this grown-up business drives me crazy at times.

Anyway - I hope you all had a great weekend and that the week ahead treats you well!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Short Sale Short Story


About a month and a half ago I mentioned that Dan and I had put in an offer on a house. We were super excited and, despite the fact that it was a short sale, felt confident that the house would be ours. We did everything by the book, offered the asking price and hoped that some good karma would come our way.

That was all before I remembered that banks don't really work with karma.

Long story short - the offer fell through. Apparently the short sale department of the bank does not always talk to the foreclosure part of the bank and so the house was foreclosed and sent to auction despite our offer being in and us being totally qualified to buy the home.

Funny...I suddenly had a flashback of dealing with US Immigration...

Anyway - Dan and I stewed and felt sorry for ourselves for a few weeks. It was a loss and felt as such. We had already made grand plans for what we would do to the place and how cute it would look and blah, blah, blah...time for a reality check...also known as a life lesson. Here is what we learned:

1) Going after a short sale is a gamble. You may walk away with a great deal - or you may just have to walk away. The banks are in it for every cent they can get while at the same time trying to deal with a large volume of short sales and foreclosures, so don't go into it under the false impression that they have all of their ducks in a row because they very well may not.

2) In a weird matter of procedure that I don't totally understand, in a short sale, it is the owner of the house who sets the price - NOT the bank. However, it is the bank that ultimately has to accept the offer. This means that just because you offer asking price of the home, the bank can still come back and say they think the home is worth more. We were never afforded this option, but don't get fooled into thinking the price of the short sale is actually reflective of what the bank is hoping to get out of it.

3) Going to Home Depot and pricing out a new kitchen, new hardwoods, new showers, new tiles, etc. etc. for a home that you don't have yet is not the best idea. I believe the phrase, 'Don't count your chickens before they hatch' nicely illustrates my point.

4) Lastly, as my Dad always says, "There is always another house and another car." 'Nuf said.

So, after weeks and weeks of looking at more homes, feeling discouraged and wondering if this was something we should even think about doing right now - we found another house that has caught our attention. It is not a short sale (YAY!), a bit of a fixer-upper (which we like) and we think it has a lot of potential.

Keeping in mind that this one could fall through, and staying far away from Home Depot, we are cautiously optimistic.

Fingers crossed!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Mystery Item


I have a couple rules when buying things at antique stores, otherwise I will walk away with way too much:

1) I have to know exactly what I am going to use it for...

and/or

2) I have to know exactly where I am going to put it.


The above item does not follow either of these rules. I bought it about a month ago at a little antique shop about 30 miles South of Portland. It was barely visible on the back of a cluttered shelf. I don't actually even know why it caught my eye but there was something about it I liked, so I bought it.

As I paid for my item, I asked the lady running the shop if she knew what it was and she said no, she wasn't sure. Hmmmm...I am still curious. I am guessing it is some kind of churner or masher of sorts - but I don't know for sure. I would love to know exactly how this was used as I think it would make me appreciate it all that more.

Does anyone have any ideas?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Pretty Things

A few Etsy finds that have caught my eye...

1. Vintage Wooden Spools
2. Emerald Quartz Earrings
3. Vintage Large Scissors
4. Grain Sack Pillow

That website endlessly has my attention and admiration.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

My Newest Treasure

I am always on the search for beautiful things. Here in Portland, there is an abundance of vintage, antique and thrift shops which means the possibility of finding treasures around every corner.


Recently, while doing some clothes shopping, I stumbled upon this wooden box. It was being used as a shoe display and caught my eye instantly.



I loved all of the little details and that it used to encase fresh herbs in Harborside, Maine.


I loved the weathered nails and haggard wood. I loved that it once served a real purpose - a livelihood, a hobby, a passion. Now it was there before me, as a display for $200 shoes. The irony in that pleased me.


However, what I loved most of all was the little white tag on the very back corner of the box that said, simply, $35.

I wasted no time finding a shop assistant to help me unload the shoes.

"We are going to be so sad to see this go," she said.

" I understand why," I replied.


While I am sure I will manage to use this modest wooden box in many ways, for now it houses various pillar candles - all in shades of white and cream. At night, after a long day, I love to come home and light the candles.

It is the simplicity that is the most beautiful to me and I treasure it.

Monday, March 14, 2011

5 Truths About Making a Feature Film

For those who don't already know, I work in film. The company I work for is currently in production on a feature length animated movie. It is an extremely intense and high-pressure undertaking full of long hours and a fair amount of personal sacrifice. That's really all I can say about it, aside from the following 5 truths.

When Making A Feature Film:

1) You don't see your friends or family as much as you do between projects. It kinda sucks but I am learning that it is just part of it all.

2) Working out at the gym becomes a serious challenge. When your average work day is 8am - 8pm - you get home so tired and hungry that any prospects of working out get thrown out the window quickly.

3) You learn to truly appreciate the weekend. Dan and I MUST make the most of them because they are really our only time to chill out. R&R is an absolute and I think we value the weekends more during the height of production than during slower times.

4) Asking for time off gets really scary. What we do is SUCH a collaborative effort that it gets really difficult to get time off. Even trying to have a few hours to get your teeth cleaned is a STRUGGLE.

5) You drink a lot of coffee. A LOT. I mean...seriously, a lot.

It can all get really overwhelming really quickly, but I do try to step back and remind myself that this is what I've always wanted to do and there are so many people who would love to be here. It is a really cool thing to be a part of and I need to just take it day by day.

What are some truths about your vocation??

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The New 'Do

Last week I wrote about trying to figure out what in the heck to do with my straighter-than-straight hair and I got some really great suggestions - thanks y'all! However, it was an email from my friend Ashleigh that sealed the deal.

She sent me these pictures of Jennifer Aniston, who had just revealed her new haircut that day. It is a well known fact that I love Jennifer Aniston (and actually met her once, but that is another story for another day) and when I saw these pics I knew that I had found a winner. It was exactly what I was looking for - not too long, not too short - a longish-shortish A-line.

**Ahem - Please note that I know my hair is not like Miss Aniston's, nor will it ever be...she was simply the inspiration**

Without further ado...my new hair...




So, there you have it. I can't wait to really tease the heck out of it before a night out to make it really big in the back.

Thanks Ashleigh, for the pics!
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