HGTV Leaves Me Hanging: The Marriage Under Construction Season Three Fiasco

I have no idea how or why this happened but I now watch a lot of HGTV. This isn’t particularly strange I suppose.  Many of you do too I’m sure, but until recently I had been a very vocal hater of all things HGTV. In high school and college I would practically go into apoplectic shock when my mother would have the channel on. Granted she tended to have it on day and night but that’s not the point.

Ten years ago the sight of some random man sodding a lawn and ripping out a wall would have resulted in me having a sudden fit of exaggerated yawns followed by a string of impatient and rude comments, but now it just elicits excited exclamations.  I regret to inform you that I find myself saying wistful things like, “I wish we had a house.” or “Why can’t I have a wine fridge?” to CK with big puppy dog eyes.

Lately, my favorite HGTV show has been season three of Marriage Under Construction. It was  simply EPIC. CK and I ate it up with a fork and knife. This show follows a newly married couple as they renovate their home under the professional guidance of a designer. The end result being the home of their dreams. This season featured the coolest Canadians ever. Rodney and Natalie Bowers are the ultimate couple friends you wish you had. Rod is a chef and Natalie works somewhere cool like Lululemon. I may have made that part up though. I feel like I read it once upon a time while I was googling their names, but now I can’t seem to find it.

Anyway, all stalker-like behavior aside, Rod and Natalie hire this hot shot designer named Melissa to redo their monstrosity of a fixer upper. Melissa seems to always wear really cool boots and a gorgeous amethyst ring that I covet wholeheartedly. Then she creates these magical visions from crappy old spaces in this house that turn rooms into the Toronto version of the Taj Mahal. Probably 98% of the outcome of this house was exactly my aesthetic.

Not only was the house spectacular but following Rod and Nat’s adventures in renovation was a blast. I just loved how they interacted with one another and I really enjoyed how genuine and real their relationship seemed. Rod had CK and I doubled over in laughter on more than one occasion with his on camera hi-jinx.

Sounds awesome right?! Well it was. That is until HGTV stopped airing it several episodes before the series ended. In the US we’ve been left high and dry and apparently I’m never going to find out how Rod and Natalie’s gourmet kitchen and nursery turn out. You know, only the best parts of the whole house!

I’m more than a little annoyed with the whole thing. They’ve even pretty much removed all mention of the show from the HGTV website. You can still view a bit more info on the Canadian site. All-in-all I find this to be incredibly shoddy behavior. At least burn off the last few episodes at some point so we can see what happens! I NEED to see this kitchen. Anyone have any hints on how I might be able to do this? And yes, before you say it I’ve already checked the torrent sites without any luck.

My Name is Memory

I finished Ann Brashares latest novel My Name is Memory last night and instantly wondered if maybe my review copy had left out a much needed “to be continued…” at the end of the book. The way the first novel ends is incredibly frustrating, but thankfully after a little online research I discovered that this is going to be a trilogy so I can now stop my eyes from bugging out of my head in annoyance. In all seriousness though a little clue into that fact right up front might have helped me deal with the agony I was feeling when I was down to the last five pages and nothing was wrapping up. I’m curious if the actual copies that are for sale in bookstores now alert readers to this fact or not? I’ll have to pop over to Porter Square Books at lunchtime and see.

Notwithstanding the rather abrupt ending, My Name is Memory weaves together elements of so many genres that I love including historical fiction, romance, and sci-fi. The best part is that they all seem to work harmoniously together. The basic premise of the book revolves around the many lives of Daniel. Daniel has a memory that stretches across centuries. Thankfully not in the “I’m a vampire and I’ve lived for 2000 years” mode. Daniel lives and dies like a normal man, but somehow Daniel is able to retain his memory from each of his lives as he is reincarnated over and over again.

Many of his lives intersect with a woman whom he refers to as Sophia. In each of these instances he is consumed with persuading this woman of their destiny. As you can imagine having a strange man you’ve never seen before explain that you have hundreds of years of history together could be a bit daunting. The present day incarnation of “Sophia” who is actually known as Lucy essentially runs screaming from Daniel when he starts spouting his seemingly crazy notions. But his strange tale stays with Lucy and she begins to wonder if perhaps there could be something to Daniel’s claims.

While Lucy ponders, Daniel takes the reader on an epic jaunt through his past lives. I loved Daniel’s portions of the book. Reading about his many adventures in various foreign and far-flung places offered an exciting pace to the story, and the frequent near-misses in Daniel and Sophia’s tragic inability to ever be together left me feeling frantic for them to meet in the present day.

Of course, nothing comes easily to these star-crossed lovers. In true villain fashion Daniel’s evil brother, who also harbors the same supernatural ability but with a more wicked twist, decides it’s time to make his presence known.

Will Sophia and Daniel ever live happily ever after? Well you wont find out in this book, but perhaps by book three we’ll all be able to celebrate a merry resolution to this epic love story.

Just as an aside, I actually had this book with me on a flight home from Houston where Alexis Bledel sat two rows in front of me. I was instantly star struck and thought it was such a cool coincidence that the star of the film versions of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants was on the same plane with me while I read an Ann Brashares novel. I know…I know…I’m a total geek.

I Heart Being Erica

I have a little problem. I’ve become obsessed with a television show called Being Erica and I can’t stop watching it. Please take note as you may need to stage an intervention.

It all began innocently enough last week with a random browse through Hulu. I didn’t have intentions to stay. Truth be told I believe I was there to see if the newest episode of Real Housewives of New Jersey had been posted. I was hoping for some big hair and even bigger attitudes to enjoy while I ate my boring lunch but it was nowhere to be found. Instead I happened upon Being Erica and decided to give it a shot. Now it’s only one week later and I’m already on episode ten of season one and ever so completely smitten.

The premise of the show involves a 30-something woman’s attempt to straighten out her seemingly directionless life. Unfortunately she’s crippled with past regrets and can’t seem to move on from a line of endless mistakes that she’s made in her past. Even though she holds both an Undergrad degree and a Master’s in English she’s stuck in a dead end job, dating inappropriate men, all the while feeling like a complete failure. Erica just can’t catch a break.

The next part is going to make you have to get back in touch with your “suspension of disbelief” side. Erica begins seeing a therapist, Dr. Tom, who asks her to create an extensive list of everything that she regrets in her life. Then in each episode she’s given the chance to go back in time and attempt to alter her past. My description probably sounds a bit formulaic but the show is done incredibly well. Erica is played by the adorable and incredibly relatable Erin Karpluk. You may recognize her as “Alice” the radio station manager on the equally fabulous show Life Unexpected.

Other things I love about the show include:

The music. Every time Erica goes back in the past (especially during the college years) I have some sort of personal nostalgic break with reality complete with The Spin Doctors and Blind Melon. All I can say is that my life is pretty plain. I like watchin’ the puddles gather rain …

The clothes. Say hello again to flannel and all of the other accompanying accessories of the 90s. Plus, in the present, Erica is always sporting a sassy dress or outfit that makes me want to run out and go shopping immediately. She also has gorgeously styled long loosely curled hair that all women with straight hair (aka me) covet. Yes. I admit it. I have a total girl crush on Erin Karpluk.

So far there’s very little “happily ever after” occurring while Erica attempts to change her regrets. And that’s what I love and appreciate the most. Like many people I too tend to fixate on “what ifs” and “if onlys” but the lessons Erica learns from her jaunts into the past are rarely brought about by simply picking another path. Usually her new perspective is achieved via looking at the events as they unfold with an older and wiser set of eyes.

I find myself drawing a great deal of comfort in thinking that perhaps all of those “might have beens” that I think about so frequently probably wouldn’t have altered my life too terribly much. Perhaps what I really should focus on is moving forward with the choices I’ve made and learning more fully how that applies to who I am today. Who says you can’t learn anything from TV?!

And there you have it. Being Erica is the new love of my life. Check it out! Plus it just got picked up for a third season so I wont have to cry crocodile tears when I get to the end of season two. Thank you Canadian TV!

Watson Wednesday: They Say It’s Your Birthday

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It’s a special day in the Nichols-Kelly household. Today is Watson T. Kitty’s first birthday! This has been a crazy year for our “little orange alive thing.”

Some of the highlights included:

Meeting Baby Emily and prompting declaring her the enemy.

Suffering through his first bath and refusing to ever like it even though he gets one almost every month.

Meeting his adopted big brother Dexter and learning that he possessed mischievous super powers.

Surviving a very scary medical emergency that left him sporting the cat equivalent of Uggs.

Being forced to celebrate the holidays.

And finally moving into a new home that is essentially a gigantic cat playground. He seems to be adapting to his new surroundings without any problems though.

Tonight Watson (all 11.2 pounds of him) is going to enjoy a can of birthday tuna and receive lots of cuddles — if he deems me worthy of being allowed to take such “liberties” with the “royal person” of course.

Gone with the Wind Sticky Notes

We had a fire alarm go off at work this morning so I meandered over to Paper Source to kill some time with my co-worker Elisabeth until the building could sort itself out. I didn’t intend on buying anything but then I stumbled across these Gone with the Wind sticky notes and I “fiddle-dee-deed” myself right over to the register.

My favorite is, of course, the Rhett Butler notes that declare, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.” My only wish is that one set sported my absolute favorite Scarlett quote: “I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow.” Which is pretty much how I’ve been dealing with my entire life since the move, but I digress…

The New Loft

Very Tall Ceilings

It’s official! We have a lease, movers are booked, and (like the good little procrastinators that we are) not a single box is packed. The apartment we ended up renting is in Davis Square. The loft is 1600 square feet of beauty and for the last two weeks I have been envisioning CK and I living there like a couple from a romantic comedy. In case you’re wondering, CK will be played by his idol Ryan Reynolds and I envision myself as Princess Anne (aka Anne Hathaway).

Into the Kitchen

I know I said that I was devastated about losing my kitchen but I’m fickle and pretty much over that completely now. This new property has so many cool design elements like radiant heat flooring, rainwater recycling, and this really wild walkway system between units that makes you feel like you’re in an Ewok movie.

Cool Countertops

It’s so hard to tell what a furniture-less space is truly like in pictures so you’re probably looking at these images and maybe not feeling very into it, and that’s ok, but trust me when I say that when you see the apartment in person you’re going to love it!

Gigantic Closets

The floor plan is open, but the middle of the unit is broken up by several large closets. This is a bit of a miracle because CK and I looked at a number of typical city apartments that literally had one closet on the premises. That obviously made my head explode as did any apartment that plastered their kitchen layouts with laminate countertops and cheap white appliances. Our new home has these really cool butcher block countertops. Of course the one drawback in the kitchen (as you probably noticed) is that there aren’t any cupboards so a trip to IKEA for creative storage solutions will be in order.

The New Office/Place For You To Sleepover

Our Bedroom

Thankfully we will still have two bedrooms and two bathrooms. I’m not sure if I could ever share a bathroom with CK at this point. We also scored a coveted garage parking space again, a closer commute to work, and I’ve heard rumors of a community garden being in the works. Needless to say we’re both extremely excited to move in! Now if you’ll excuse me I have to try to find a million pairs of cute curtains that are at least 90 inches in length.

The Living Room

Saying Goodbye to Your Kitchen

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The kitchen the day we moved in: crisp, clean & empty

As you’re probably aware, via my incessant lamentations via Facebook and twitter, Chris and I have to move this spring as our home has been sold. Our pretty apartment that we’ve lived in for almost 3 years has always technically been a condo, but we were fortunately able to rent it (at what I’ve come to realize was a spectacular price) when they came on the market.

I originally chose our particular model because it featured an enormous eat-in kitchen with a large island. The floor-plan was pretty screwy otherwise. The master bedroom is ridiculously large and has the unfortunate distinction of having teeny tiny closets while the guest bedroom boasts a pair of more functional closets as well as a connected bathroom. But this seemingly mismatched room situation didn’t bother me. I only had eyes for my kitchen. I seriously miss it already.

We’ve looked at several places so far, all very very expensive and none really met my expectations entirely. If I could pick my current place up, clone it, and drop it off in Davis or Porter I’d be happy. Obviously that isn’t going to happen. So I need to come to terms with our impending separation. Goodbye fabulous and functional island! Goodbye oodles of cupboards! Goodbye gas stove that bakes perfect chocolate chip cookies! Goodbye shiny refrigerator!

Chris and I do have our hearts set on one place. We’ve applied for it and are waiting to hear back. I don’t want to say too much because this will inevitably cause some sort of jinx to occur. Time will tell. In the meantime I need to begin parting with a large amount of accumulated things for the inevitable home downsizing that is about to occur and also attempt to curb my book buying addiction for a few weeks. The great moving purge must go on even if we don’t technically have a new home yet. Farewell pretty kitchen. You served me well.

On occasion the kitchen was used very strenuously. Especially during high stress times of pre-dinner party prep, but we always took care of her afterward.

30 Things I Want To Do Before I Turn 30

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A little honesty for you.

In six very short months I’m going to be 30. Needless to say I’m in complete denial about it. Having spent the latter half of my twenties essentially in a fog of anxiety and angst, mostly due to the fact that I flitted about aimlessly from one horribly demoralizing assistant job to another, it was a huge relief to end the decade on an upswing. Thanks to a friend’s confidence in me I was finally allowed the chance to prove that I can do more in the workplace than photocopy and order catering.

Since beginning this new position, heavy on the web 2.0 decadence that I adore, the world has become a decidedly more shiny and happy place. I’m not sure what would have happened if things hadn’t worked out so wonderfully (for once). Honestly I doubt if CK could have stood my “down and out mood” for much longer. One can only hear someone loudly declare intense hatred for their job, usually followed by a flurry of tears and a bottle of wine so many times, right?

So back to this whole turning 30 thing…now that my personal and professional life is essentially in order I thought it would be appropriate to take this time to work on becoming the best damn 30-year-old I can. I wasted a big part of my twenties being miserable so my overarching goal for the next decade is to be as entertained, happy, and healthy as possible. The following is a list of goals (some serious and some on the more frivolous side) that I’d like to attempt to complete before the clock tolls on June 3rd. It will certainly be interesting to see which items I actually manage to accomplish.

Note: This post is inspired by Georgia; one-half of the fabulous duo behind the Alie & Georgia cocktail videos.

1. Lose 30 pounds. (This will NEVER happen but a girl can dream, right?)
2. Learn how to cook a steak properly so that poor CK doesn’t have to eat my horribly rare or overdone entrees anymore.
3. Find a way to actually enjoy blogging again because right now it feels like a HUGE chore to keep up three sites.
4. Wear red lipstick with confidence.
5. Level my World of Warcraft Human Warlock up to 50. (See I told you they wouldn’t all be serious).
6. Save $3000 (again…another reach goal).
7. Read Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens.
8. Run 3 miles without dying.
9. Learn how to back-up my MacBook so CK doesn’t have to do it for me.
10. Visit friends in Portland, Maine.
11. Book a fabulous getaway for the Fall. Preferably somewhere in Europe.
12. Enroll in Grad School again…or at least find a class to take.
13. Buy the new Apple Tablet (I suppose that will cut into the above goal of saving $3000 but priorities are priorities…).
14. Organize ALL of the closets in the apartment.
15. Figure out what to do with the overabundance of books I own and donate the ones I don’t want to keep.
16. Actually read the magazines I subscribe to.
17. Clean up my Google Reader. Do I really need to subscribe to 333 feeds? Probably not.
18. Try to get in at least one session of Yoga each week.
19. Finally eat at Hungry Mother.
20. Try my hand at canning something. Bread and Butter Pickles perhaps?
21. Stop freaking out so much about the cats shedding on the furniture.
22. Re-watch all of the Anne of Green Gables movies.
23. Purchase more organic foods.
24. Find another little crafty project to complete.
25. Write ten-pages of something (anything) that doesn’t go on a blog.
26. Finally buy some Truffle oil since I love it so much.
27. Take another cooking class.
28. Meet Jennifer Garner (ha ha … it could happen. She comes to Boston pretty often).
29. Wear more color. Less black.
30. Learn how to properly use my fancy camera.