I Win!

And by win, I mean I was given a Sunshine Award by my friend and fellow blogger Kelli of Ketchup and Pomegranates. As part of receiving this super-important blogging award I'm supposed to answer some questions to let you learn a bit more about me. Enjoy the peek into my brain...

Who is your favorite philosopher?
I'm not much of a philosophy reader but I would have to say Winnie the Pooh. Hear me out. In college I read The Tao of Pooh, which explains the concepts of Taoism in a simplistic and introductory way using the characters from the Winnie the Pooh books. It's fun, easy to read, and - most importantly - spoke to me in a way most religious or philosophical texts don't. I highly recommend it.

What is your favorite number?
My favorite number is 4 because it's the first square number. Weird, I know. I also like 16 and 64, which is 4 squared and 4 cubed, respectively.

What is your favorite animal?
Cats. If you've been a reader here for more than 5 minutes you know I'm a total cat lady.

What are your facebook and twitter URLs?
I don't have a non-personal facebook page - sorry, stalkers - but you can follow me on twitter and see what I see on Instagram @allisonharris.

What is your favorite time of day?
Late evening. If left to my own devices - not adhering to a work or toddler schedule - I like to stay up until midnight, working on craft projects or writing blog posts after the rest of the family has gone to bed.

What was your favorite vacation?
This is a hard one. I love to travel and each vacation has offered something unique. I would have to say top 4 are: New Orleans (for the food), New York (for the architecture), Caribbean Cruise (for the scenery), and Washington DC road trip (for the sheer fun of taking a road trip with 5 college students).

What is your favorite physical activity?
I love dancing of any kind. I took 12 years of dance lessons as a kid, with a focus on tap dance, and I was co-captain of the dance team in high school. In college I was a big fan of going clubbing with my girlfriends because if I'm going to go out and drink I need to be shaking those calories off! After college I discovered Zumba and I am IN LOVE. I quit going to my gym because it was a luxury my unemployed self couldn't justify but then I started leading (to use the word loosely) a free zumba class for my mom and mother-in-law. If you're in the Raleigh area I'd love to expand the class - assuming we can find a location big enough :)

What is your favorite non-alcoholic drink?
This is also a tough one. I go through phases, so I don't have 1 go-to favorite beverage. Sometimes it's Diet Dr Pepper. Sometimes it's orange soda. Sometimes it's chocolate milk. You can never tell. But, I keep a thermos on my desk at work and try to drink as much water as I can during the day.

What is your favorite flower?
Ever since we used them in our wedding decor I have been fond of blue hydrangeas.

What is your passion?
Making stuff? I would never describe myself as particularly passionate about any one thing, but if you consider what I do in my spare time, I tend to default to making things - jewelry, art/decorations for my home, coming up with better organizing solutions (usually using items in unconventional ways). I also have a big heart when it comes to stray/abandoned animals so if I ever have surplus money I plan to buy a farm and adopt (and spay/neuter) as many stray animals as I can. Every time I say this my husband rolls his eyes, but I'm totally serious.

Well, that's it. Thanks again to Kelli for the nomination!


What is a techaleidoscope? It's a kaleidoscope filled with technology. It's also a word I made up. 20 Internet points to me!

As I mentioned previously, whenever I have a little downtime at work I can get the creative juices flowing by making a graphic for open source. The concept behind this one had been stewing for a while and I finally found some time to commit it to paper pixels. It's easy enough: draw some techie stuff, crop it inside a triangle, mirror it around a few times and... BAM! Techaleidoscope!

The official open source template calls for a rectangular output, but I couldn't help making a round one as well to show off the full kaleidoscope effect.

Bonus for all the nerds in the house: the binary in the background translates to "open source is not limited to software." It's a true statement but it also just happens to be the title of an article that you can read on open source at this very moment. What are you waiting for? Go read! But then come back here and tell me how awesome I am.

The Beach, In Pictures

I've already told you about my coastal thrifting* adventure but now I'm back to show you the actual beach stuff, as told through pictures. The hubby, Luke and I stayed at my grandparents' condo with my mom and step-dad. Luke slept in a twin bed for the first time (and rocked it out) but preferred the pool to the ocean, we visited the aquarium, my step-sister's boyfriend took us out on his boat, and there was much lazing about taking place. It was wonderful. Now, to the photos...

*My iPad autocorrected this to thrusting. That would be the perfect adventure to share on the blog, don't you think?

date night for the hubby's birthday :: summer wheat, convertible time, birthday crab legs, The Campaign
North Carolina Aquarium :: turtle rodeo, swimming turtle, jellyfish, so tall!
kite store beauty, sleeping in a big boy bed, mother daughter drinking, moody storm clouds
kite flying, juice box break (booze optional), writing in the sand, wrinkly pool feet
on a boat, part 1 :: marina, sunset, sunset, underbelly of a draw bridge
on a boat, part 2 :: not sure about boating, obligatory self-portrait, hubby, glamorous mom
squatting is the only way to sit in a tree, home of the shrimp burger, you are what you eat, bye bye beach
What have you been up to this summer?

When In Rome, Go Thrifting?

Our family has escaped to the beach for a week and yesterday my mom and I had ourselves a thrifting adventure while the men-folk had their afternoon naps. I admit thrifting is not the first thing most people think of when they hear "beach trip" but when I get the urge to thrift, it must be satisfied. I grabbed a few gems, which you'll get to see in a later post, but today you get to see the lovely items I had to leave behind. *sniffle*

One of our stops was Deja Vu which had some quirky little knick knacks, but was mostly nice antique (i.e. out of my price range) furniture. Before I even walked in the door I spotted this chair and promptly fell in love.

Between the wicker body and the curvy tube legs I fell hard for this guy. The seat cushion was a little grungy but that's to be expected for old furniture. At $90 it wasn't exactly a steal, but doable for a vintage chair with character and in good condition. But, it failed my (husband's) major shopping test: where will we put it and do we actually need it? No on both counts - curse you tiny house with adequate seating! - but it didn't make it any easier to walk away from.

Just inside the door I found yet another chair that I was pretty sure I needed.

It doesn't immediately seem to match my style but it was just so sculptural and striking. Plus the stripes were way cute. It was even more impractical bigger than the first chair AND more expensive, costing an imposing $175, so yeah, it didn't make the cut either.

Buried in the middle of the showroom (thus the wonky photo angle) was the granddaddy of all mid-century furniture. I call it the granddaddy because it's freakin' huge! It's as tall as me and about 12 feet long. Yowza!

It was deliciously leggy and it would hold so much stuff! I really, really, REALLY wanted to justify buying it for our master bedroom (which is technically finished in terms of furniture) but A) it would dwarf the room and the other furniture, 2) there is no way we could get that home with a van full of beach-going cargo, and D) it was $650. Again, not outrageously expensive for what you're getting but still more than I happened to have in the change jar at the moment. Drat. The last treasure I left without buying (or photographing) was a set of mounted bull horns. Why do I want them? I'm not exactly sure. But I just might stop by the store again on my way out of town to make them mine.

After failing horribly at my 'No Chair Left Behind' program, we moved on to Seahorse Antiques. This was one of my favorite types of thrift stores - one big space with smaller booths stocked by individual vendors/consignors. I like this set up because the various sellers guarantee an assortment of items in term of style, price, age, etc. Once again I was struck with chair envy when I stepped through the door.

Maybe it's because a certain super-blogger was just on the hunt for an egg chair, but I was immediately smitten by this chair. What can I say? I'm easily influenced. As fun as this blue vintage chair is, it is the mayor of "I-have-no-room-for-this-ville" so it stayed put.

Like I said, I ended up bringing a few goodies home with me, but you won't get to see them until they're in their new habitat.

Do you like to go thrifting on vacation?

Score One For The Fluffy Girl

And by fluffy I don't mean I sprouted adorable, kitten fur. 
Sidebar: One of my best friends was at the doctor, discussing weight and BMI when her doc told her she wasn't fat but, rather, what she liked to call "fluffy." Not all the way fat, but definitely not skinny. That category has my name all over it.
not me
Anyway, not like you guys care but I totally ran - OK, jogged - for 22 minutes straight today. That might not sound that impressive to you, but in my world running for 22 minutes is a huge deal. And nothing was even chasing me!

So, yeah, I'm stoked about my work-out progress.

Going to Best Buy on Tax Free Weekend Will Test Your Faith in Humanity

Several weeks ago the hubby and I decided we should replace my aging, decrepit laptop with an iPad. First it was slated to be a birthday gift (meaning not until October) but when we remembered Tax Free Weekend was only a week away we decided I could get my present early.

Of course everyone else in the world was on the same page as me. Who DOESN'T want to fight crowds just for the chance to save 7%?

As soon as we arrived we discovered I would have to stand in line if I wanted my precious iPad. Yes, it's kind of lame but as someone who was worked in retail, more than once, I get it. It's not in anyone's best interests to flood the sales floor with a bunch of customers with not enough sales people to answer their questions. Better to pair each customer with a sales person to make sure everyone gets fast, efficient service.

Yeah, tell that to the jerk in line behind me.

He was complaining to his mother, very loudly, that this was crap. "I don't want the tour, I don't want the song and dance. I've already picked the damn thing out. I know what I want! I just want to go to the shelf, grab the box and pay for it." I wish I could says I was exaggerating for effect but he really did whine that much.

A woman with a clipboard came over and asked everyone what they planning to purchase, presumably to make sure we were in the right line. Everyone else just murmurred what they were getting but jerk wad started in again "I don't want the tour..." "Sir, your associate will take you right to the item." "I just want to go to the shelf, grab the box..." "Sir, there's nothing on the shelf. We get it out of inventory for you." Etcetera, etcetera. Then he starts complaining that this is a terrible way to treat customers and I'm thinking "You're a terrible way to treat people." After clipboard lady leaves he starts venting to his mother again, "This is ridiculous, I'm never shopping here again."

Sir, let me tell you a secret. When a difficult customers plays the "I'll take my business elsewhere" card the staff have to act disappointed because you're still a customer, but as soon as you leave they "Good! Glad I never have to see THAT asshole again."

When it was my turn I was a good little sheep. iPad. Yes, I want a case. No, I don't want an extra warranty. Done and done. The process was painless, and if the guy had just shut up long enough to look around he would have seen that.

Also, if you want to browse at your own pace and not be herded like cattle, DON'T SHOP ON A BUSY SALES DAY. Duh. If you want to save your hard-earned money you have to get in line with everyone else, but please be quiet about it.

[end of rant]

Did you shop during the Tax Free Weekend? Get anything good?

Seriously, My Job is Amazing

You're probably tired of hearing about my job but until it stops being amazing I'm going to keep being in awe of my amazing fortune.

Last week we had a company-wide quarterly meeting/party where all the employees gather to watch "The Show" an internal video series that highlights the goings on in the company. It's a bit of a party because snacks and drinks are provided. This Show we had ice cream and a keg, so I was pretty ecstatic.

After The Show was over I got my first bit of company swag. Now I'm bonafide.

Testing 1... 2... 3...

I am trying out a new mobile blogging app that will allow me to blog from my phone or my iPad.* So far so good, but I haven't done anything complicated yet.

test photo of my little rock star
OK I spoke too soon. It took me a little bit of effort to learn how to add photos but it was pretty painless. I'll keep you posted.

*PS I got an iPad!


Another Year, Another Fantasy Team

Don't get me wrong, I legitimately love playing fantasy football. But, just as much, I love that it gives me an excuse to make ridiculous stuff in Photoshop. Several years ago I helped create logos for all the teams of the hubby's very serious, very competitive league. This included my team the Bloomer Crickets.
Last year I played in a (mostly) ladies-only league, but I stuck with my original name and logo. This year I'm playing in a league that the hubby started with his work friends. For those keeping track he's playing in 2 leagues yet again. Since the other team owners are people that don't know me very well (or at all) he strongly suggested I retire my old team name and pick a new one. I was a little disappointed - that name still cracks me up for reasons even I don't understand - but I got over it when I realized I had the chance to come up with another name and logo.

The new team is named Bait 'N Tackle because, well, I love puns. My logo is a football player tackling a giant trout because I still love puns.

What do you think?
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