Friday Five, Halloween edition

I’ll just put this out there, and I am obviously in the minority with what I’m about to admit, but here goes:

I don’t really like Halloween.

Why, you ask? Well, living on my own was an experiment in how many lights I could leave on at night and still sleep; I can’t watch Law & Order when I’m home alone because I just know the evil murdering rapists are hiding in my closet ; I have a paralyzing fear of spiders; I instinctively check on the other side of the shower curtain both when I get home and when I’m in the shower because I’m convinced there is a mass murder with a chain saw waiting for me; and I come from a long line of people who have night terrors. The scariest Halloween movie I can watch is “Hocus Pocus”, and I still have to cover my eyes during the parts where the zombie with the sewn-together lips gets his fingers cut off under a manhole (OMG now I won’t be able to sleep). And that movie was made for CHILDREN!

(You know what else was made for children? “Frankenweenie”, but I screamed uncontrollably for something like 3 days straight after watching the first 5 minutes and still cannot see one of those dogs on the street without losing my shit. All because the dog gets hit by a car, like, 20 seconds into the movie and then has his head sewn back on and then whenever it drinks water and it spurts out the holes in his neck. Classic Tim Burton, but maybe not an appropriate movie for a 4 year old. My father became apoplectic with laughter and I thought Satan had crawled out of the tv and into my eyeballs. And they’re making a remake! WHY. STOP. NO.)

So obviously, I am diametrically opposed to a holiday that fetishizes everything scary and spooky. This isn’t to say that I didn’t have some awesome costumes as a kid, because I did. (And I have pictures to show you on Monday, of my little kid self all decked out in Halloween costumes.)

No, it just means that, at 3, I made my dad put his jack-o-lantern outside because it scared me. And that when friends went to a haunted house for a birthday party in 2nd grade, I stayed outside with the adults, trying not to pee my pants. And that when my dad and I tried to visit a haunted house in BROAD DAYLIGHT when I was 15, I didn’t make it in the door, and the lady felt so bad for me she gave us a refund (this comes up again later). And that all my mom has to do is say “boo” when I can’t see her, with no more intonation that if she were saying “oh” and I will be so startled  I will shriek wildly and drop to the floor. And it means that I don’t care how fake that decorative spider looks, part of me still thinks it is going to spring to life and try to crawl up my nose and lay eggs in my brain, YOU NEVER KNOW.

Overcoming your fears is overrated, kids. That’s why this Friday Five is dedicated to the gentler, less spooky side of Halloween. Because honestly, I had enough trouble with this post as it is.

 

photos from Nightmares Fear Factory

Maybe I lied when I said “gentler,” but this photos are so hysterically funny I just couldn’t help myself, even if they are from a haunted house. This is just genius. Set up a camera at a particularly scary part of the tour, and capture the hilarious faces of the poor idiots who actually paid money to have the bejeezus scared out of them. Talk about capturing the exact right moment! I’ve never seen such unbridled fear and sheer terror in my life. There are 20-something pages of similarly awesome photos in their Flickr stream, and I almost gave myself an asthma attack laughing so hard. Of course, this just further proves my point about why Halloween is the worst holiday ever. This is what I would look like if I participated in any festivities, so I’ve taken great pains to avoid it. Teehee, look at their faces!

 

Monstercake!

I might have an objection to Halloween, but I launch no such objection to Halloween goodies. Treats not tricks, got it? This monstercake is 20 different kinds of adorable, and if I possessed even an ounce of patience, you can bet I’d be piping on orange frosting to look like fur and making cake-balls for googly eyes. The only problem I have with this cake is that it looks too good to actually cut into, and when I am deprived of cake (especially when the cake itself is depriving me) I become extremely fussy.

 

Pumpkin Candles, West Elm

Ah, see? Nothing spooky  or  gross about these. THIS is the kind of Halloween I wish we had, instead of one with blood and gore and mummies popping out of every corner covered in spiderwebs and death. I love these candles, and I think they celebrate everything nice about the season without being the least bit creepy. They’d make a beautiful centerpiece on a table if you had 4 or 5 of them. I even love that they styled them with a burlap tablecloth! So perfect.

 

Silly Dog Costumes

Does this require an explanation? Really? You’re not convinced simply based on the pictures? Fine. One of the best things Halloween has done for the world has been to provide pet owners with the adorably insane notion that they need to extend the dress-up to their 4-legged companions. And thank god for that, because nothing is cuter than the puppy version of anything. Oompa Loompa? Cuter if it’s a Daschund. Think your Dalmation has been giving you too much attitude recently? Affix an inflated pink balloon to its undercarriage and tell people he’s a cow. I love pet costumes. This is a Halloween tradition I can endorse.

 

Salem Witch Museum, Salem, Massachusetts

Okay, so despite my debilitating fear of anything scary (as well as some un-scary things like sand and elevators), I was hugely into the Salem Witch trials for about 6 or 7 years of my life. I read historical fiction, non-fiction, everything I could get my hands on regarding the trials. Nineteen men and women were hanged, and one man, Giles Cory, was crushed to death with heavy stones. My dad and I took a trip up the east coast to visit family friends in New York and Massachusetts every summer, and once my fascination with Salem started, we added it to the itinerary. We would make sure to hit all of the tourist attractions, including the graveyard where the alleged witches were buried, as well as Salem Willows, the most amazing and old-timey arcade and park with a bandstand right on the water. We also tried going to one of their famed haunted houses, as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, and the “guide” jumped out of his dark creepy doorway to lead me to my death and I screamed bloody murder. I was 15.  Anyway, we also made sure to visit the Salem Witch Museum, which recounts the entire history of the trials through wax figures. It’s really pretty cool, and the museum is right across from the park at the center of the adorable and charming town. The first time we visited, though, and they got to the part about how Giles Cory was executed, his wax figure has a voice over of him begging for more weight in this really sad, horrible whisper. I mean, imagine people crushing your body with giant stones and you’re refusing to admit you’re a witch but hello, you’re being pressed to death. Sad, right? Apparently not to my father, who collapsed into full body hysterics and angered every other family in the room. Go dad.

Happy Friday! What are your feelings on Halloween? Are you dressing up as anything this year? I’d love to know, unless you’re going as that guy from the “Saw” movies in which case, keep it to yourself. I’d like to sleep tonight.

I’ll see you on Monday with some embarrassing pictures of me as a kid. Enjoy your weekend!

Weekend in Pictures

I’m so tired, but isn’t that the mark of a great weekend? Walking the puppy along the beach and laughing as he freaked out when the water came up to him, picking 20 apples from an orchard for $4.75, going to an Italian festival and playing lawn Bocce, having a wine tasting at 11am, stumbling upon a creepy abandoned motel on the outskirts of Atlantic City and being too scared to get out of the car, and wishing I’d never heard the noise Fitz makes when he comes face to face with goats. Oh my god, that screeching howl. Anyway, here are tons of photos, as promised:

 

Happy Monday, kiddos! How was your weekend?

Remember that animal I invited to live with me?

So I know I flip-flopped about whether or not to order this goddamn camera so many times, but late last week I was finally able to overcome the sweats that always accompany large purchases and just click “BUY,” aided nicely with a notification from Amazon that the item in my cart had dropped an additional $30. It arrived at my work yesterday and my productivity for the day fell off a cliff. Unlike my macbook (the purchase of which I could justify somewhat because now that I am a “serious blogger” I needed to have the ability to lay on the sofa and post, obviously), I’m still having minor palpitations of both the excited and “oh-my-god-did-I-really-just-drop-that-much-money-on-a-camera” kinds every time I remember that, oh yeah!, I bought a new camera! Do you know how many megapixels this baby has? EIGHTEEN! One, two, three, four, five….eighteen! That’s 80% more megapixels than my last DSLR, which translates in 800% more squealing on my part.

But still. I majored in photojournalism, and I developed more rolls of film in high school than the number of boys I kissed (THAT IS SAYING SOMETHING). I’d like to say that I’ll go back to shooting artsy-fartsy stuff, but let’s be honest: we all know that I’m going to take a billion shots of my dog. Remember him? It’s really, really hard to get a decent picture of him indoors because he’s all black and can usually be found laying on our dark leather sofa or his dark doggy bed (WPP #86). But not anymore!

Ignore the fact that I clearly have to vacuum the floor and focus on that silly little beard that makes him look like he is perpetually carrying a cotton ball on his chin.

Fitz is really eager to learn and when he’s not busy being adorable and hopping everywhere, we’ve taught him “come, “paw,” “down,” and “roll over.” We’re working on training him to use the toilet (because, dude, puppy bladders? they are ready to be emptied at 6:30am every day) and how to fetch daddy a beer.

You can safely expect tons more pictures around here. They might or might not be of Fitz, but hey. He’s cute.

 

What has four legs and just peed on my floor?

Sorry about all the Debbie Downer nonsense last Tuesday. I guess I should explain. You know the scene at the end of the Surplus episode of The Office, when Michael, in a floor length mink, says, “Never buy a fur coat on a credit card until you absolutely have the money to pay for it”? Well, the moral of Tuesday’s post was never become emotionally attached to a shelter dog until you are absolutely sure he is coming home with you. Because finding out someone else adopted him before you could work out all of the logistics is heartbreaking.

But I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. And in this case, I think we were meant to go through the adoption application process for that puppy and then lose him so that we could find the puppy who was truly ours. Which we did. The next morning. It all happened so quickly. Like, disconcertingly quickly, actually. On Tuesday, I didn’t have a dog. And on Wednesday, I did. And oh my god, am I in love.

 

World, I’d like to introduce you to Fitzwater the Wonder Puppy, or Fitz for short.. He is part Beagle, part Terrier, and all spaz. He is 8 months old, happy, silly, and a baby genius. Within 5 hours of bringing him home, Fitz had learned “stay,” “wait,” and “drop it.” He came pre-loaded with “sit,” so I can’t take credit for that one, but he sits like a champ and will wait politely (for the most part) while you’re giving him a treat, playing with toys, or getting his leash on. Sometimes, though, his puppy brain short circuits and he defaults to just jumping and running wildly around the living room. This can also explain that one time he tried to chase a ball under his body and through his own legs. He is also getting the hang of “gimme your paw” and “cuddles!”

He is housebroken (well, minus those two times visitors came over to meet him and he got really excited and peed) and crate-trained, and we’re working with him to stop that awful, high-pitched howl that Beagles are famous for. He is so perfect and docile and sweet that already I am campaigning for Puppy #2. I know that makes me insane, given how much work an 8 month old is let alone an 8 week old. Still, though, don’t you think Fitz would like one of these as a little brother?

I know, I know. It’s like, “If you give a mouse a cookie….she’ll end up asking you for another puppy the day after you bring one home.”

And don’t let the fact that he is 8 months old and can hold it all day in the crate while I’m at work fool you. Bringing a dog of any age into your life is ridiculous and all-consuming. On Saturday I left him alone for 3 minutes to get dressed and found him eating a box of matches. The irony of that situation is that the matches were out in the first place because oh my god, puppy farts are perhaps the worst smelling things of all time. Gone is our care-free ability to sleep in late on weekends or go out for dinner and drinks after work, forever to be replaced with tending to this little guy:

I couldn’t be more psyched.

So yes! I am so glad I could give you a good home, little Fitz. I’m so happy I found you.

Blog changes

By now, I think we have established that I am fickle. One second, I’m completely smitten with clean, all-white, Scandinavian interiors, the next, I’m buying a vintage rotary phone on ebay to start my own Industrial chic collection. I have redecorated my desk and office area 11 times since purchasing it a year ago. Which, if you’re keeping track, is about once a month. You’ll remember its previous iterations here and here. Here’s what it looks like now:


DUDE, turning my computer monitor on an angle has completely changed my life, like the time I set the font on my blackberry to serif. It totally opened the space up and shows off both the glossiness of the desk and the bottom of my Stendig calendar. I wish I had turned it sooner. And yes, I have a framed picture of Jessica Stam on my desk. I think she is the most gorgeous being in the entire world as it is (I would totally cross the street for her, if you know what I mean), but this shot Peter Lindbergh (mega swoon) took of her in Morocco for Harper’s Bazaar in 2004 is as close to perfection as it gets as far as I’m concerned. Also, notice the pitcher from IKEA from this post.

So to think that this here blog would be exempt from my fleeting fancy would be just silly. WordPress, while vastly superior in other ways, is not nearly as customizable as Blogger, and until I get my own domain and can install custom CSS, I’m limited to the changes I can make. Which is a GOOD THING, I swear, because if I possessed the ability to alter the CSS everyday, I TOTALLY WOULD.

Since launching like want need in February, I’ve been through 3 image headers:

Were it not for the fact that they all say “like want need” on them, there would be no way to tell they were in any way related. This version was made using these Photoshop brushes, and my favorite tool: horizontal type mask. Photoshop nerds represent.

But I don’t know. Do I think it’s pretty? Yes. Do I think it speaks to what this blog is about in any way shape or form? No. At least the second one (which in retrospect wouldn’t have been so bad if it didn’t have that stupid handwriting font at the bottom) gave you an idea, right? The first one looked like a packet of funfetti cake mix. This one looks reminds me of the Risto Bimbiloski Galaxy scarf mixed with a dose of the Anthropologie catalog. Not a bad thing! But maybe I need it to scream “Consumer Whore”?

I’m the kind of girl who agonizes over floor lamps because they don’t say anything about me. If I’m that specific over a lamp (and oh! I think I’ve adequately demonstrated that so far) just imagine the amount of strife I’m faced with over my blog header.

SO. A vote. Exercise your civic duty, ya’ll!

[polldaddy poll=5056858]

Oh hi, you must be new here.

Gazela Vinho Verde

Do you know how hard it is to come up with a pithy entry title after spending an entire day already trying to come up with a cool, pithy blog name, and searching for the perfect font and the perfect color combinations to make the perfect image header? It’s veritably exhausting.

Thankfully, it is Saturday, and I have been drinking Vinho Verde since noon like some eastern European expat, because I’m convinced the tap water in my apartment is non-potable and I don’t have anything in my fridge besides a bottle of mustard and some string cheese, and I don’t want to drink either of those.

Enter Gazela. Fabulously priced at a mere $6.99 a bottle (though in googling it, I’ve seen it sold for even cheaper), and deliciously bubbly and sweet. My best friend and I picked a bottle of this up on a whim a few years ago, mostly because it had a peacock feather on the label. What can I say? I am clearly on my way to becoming a renowned sommelier.

Gazela Vinho Verde

SO. I’m intending for this blog to be an aggregate of all the things that tickle my fleeting fancy (and there are many, many things, ranging from purses, to desks, to clothes, to swedish furniture) where I can hopefully expel the desire to buy all these things by writing about them to death.

Hi, I’m Erin. I like / want / need lots of things.