“Skippin’ Like a Stone” (Keuka Lake)

The houseboat roof was so small I couldn’t get my shadow out of the pic!

It never ceases to amaze me how being confined to a slightly claustrophobic floating cereal box in the middle of a body of water can make you feel more free than you’ve ever been. I just love the Finger Lakes and the time our family has spent on them over the years. I can think of nowhere better to celebrate Independence Day.

The only thing that could have made it better would have been if Josh had come with us 😦

Title is from “Independence” by The Band Perry

Some photos of mind-blowing aquatic acrobatics after the jump!!!

The Half-Submerged Pike Dive
The Cousin’s Splash Avoidance Maneuver
The Lady of Shalott
The Twisty Frog
The Happy Sea Otter
The 180 “Use Your Noodle”
I don’t know what to call this, but she’s obviously blasting fire out of her hair
The Urkel
The Cheerleader

Awkward and Awesome Thursday: Red, White, and Blue

I got the above adorable package from ModCloth in the mail on Tuesday. Several weeks ago, I had made a $15 purchase on ModCloth called “A Stylish Surprise.” I entered my size and my credit card information and his “Confirm Order.”

I had no idea what I was ordering.

That’s the whole point! ModCloth did this amazing “Stylish Surprise” promotion to get people more excited about their lesser-known products. Most people, including me, seemed to think they only sold (gorgeously unique) indie dresses. The clincher for me was, buyers were promised a surprise product valued anywhere between $30 and $700. Worst case scenario, I get $15 off a $30 item. Best case, I get a whole lot more bang for my buck!

And I did! This is the gorgeous plaid pea coat ModCloth sent me. The arms are actually the right length for me. That never happens!

So all that to say, definitely one of the more awesome things that happened this week.

  • Dangit, can’t wear my new coat until winter!
  • I still get nightmares and then can’t get back to sleep when I’m staying down in my grandparents’ basement.
  • There are no books to process here at work today. Internet surfing for six hours? Meh. Not so much.
  • Torrential rains on the highway. Four-ways on, everyone! I can’t see a flippin’ thing!
  • I still can’t believe I watch The Bachelorette . . .
  • First world problems: Found out we were out of sugar in the break room after I poured my coffee, lol.

  • Dude, I don’t think you understand how awesome this coat is. It’s red, white, and blue and everything! Just in time for the Fourth!
  • Speaking of the Fourth, a blissful afternoon spent on my uncle’s houseboat with beloved family.
  • It feels so good having my cousin back from Japan. Having him here for Independence Day was really meaningful.  Hopefully we can hang out again soon before he heads back.
  • Wegmans red, white, and blue bread. Try it! It makes breakfast taste like fireworks 😀
  • Mom and Dad finalized their house purchase! They have a house to move into up here! Yaaaayy!
  • Speaking of moving, got all of my crap in the basement sorted and into boxes for our move into our schmexy new apartment next Saturday. Like a boss!

"I Joined the Navy to See the World" (Okinawa, Japan)

Cody and his mom’s side of the family

This week’s Travel Tuesday is very special and a but odd since Josh and I are not the people doing the traveling these days. I’m sure you guessed that I’m not the one who joined the Navy, haha.

My cousin Cody, on the other hand (who I have not seen in over a year), has been on active duty for the US Navy in Okinawa, Japan. Talk about culture shock! I’m sure Europe was nothing compared to what Cody dealt with and will continue to deal with on a daily basis over in Japan. He doesn’t even really like sushi from what I remember . . .

Anyway, he is officially home with us for just over three weeks! And just in time for Independence Day!

I wrote about Cody and my other military family members in a post last Fourth of July explaining my feelings on the US military. I took the post down not because it was controversial, but because it wasn’t true to my “art and lifestyle” focus of the Nine to Phive blog. Anyway, my conclusion was that while I’ll never condone warfare, I genuinely believe it to be a necessary evil.

I am blessed beyond words that there are people in America like my cousin who can handle the pressure of carrying on their shoulders a nation of people who need protection but who so often either forget or refuse to say thank you.

Code, I know you didn’t want to go to Japan, but I’m so proud of you for doing your duty with a good attitude and making the best of this big adventure.

It’s so good to have you home.



My dad has an interesting relationship with all of my cousins

Live Well, Dress Well: Fourth Festivities

How to dress for Independence Day is probably never a big question in the minds of today’s fashionistas. Some charming but cliche combination of red, white, and blue is sure to do the trick.

But how can one really stand out fashion-wise in the same old shades of red, white, and blue? I mean, we all want to be patriotic, but we don’t all want to look like little clones of Uncle Sam. We want to be unique as well, and hopefully (I know I do) we want to be classy.As much as I love Katy Perry and her sense of style, this is not especially classy. Definitely unique, though!

Here’s an idea!

How about dressing for what you’ll be doing on this day rather than dressing for the day itself?

Here are three sample outfits based on your Fourth of July Festivities.

1. BBQ Cutie

If your plans include a nice family event or any type of get-together where you want to feel a little more feminine and put-together (or want to catch the eye of a certain someone who looks juts great in his board shorts), pairing a high-waisted skirt with nautical stripes is a great way to give off a fun-loving, flirty, and slightly more formal vibe.

Add some girly and glamorous details like a sleek watch, a flower headband, and golden glads. Best to keep the shoes flat to avoid looking a little too dressy. It is a barbecue, after all 😉

2. All Night Long

No matter how hot the day may be, you’ll wish you were layered up if you’re planning any type of late-night fireworks-watching escapade followed by partying into the early morning. For one thing, temperatures can plummet in the hours past midnight regardless of daytime highs. For another, bugs can’t bite skin that they can’t find! So cover up!

Starting with blue jeans and then adding red and white accents such as a quirky printed t-shirt and red heels (I would go with wedges since you’ll be on your feet for awhile) is the key to looking party-ready without overdoing the Independence-Day pride. These star earrings are also a subtle and sexy rockstar nod to the American flag. Instead of a hoodie or sweater, bring along a jacket that looks fierce enough to amp up your night-out look.

Pro Tip: Embrace neutral accessories to keep from looking too costumey.

3. I’m On a Boat

My family members are lake people, and we are spending Wednesday afternoon and evening on my uncle’s new houseboat!

If your Fourth looks anything like mine, there’s bound to be a lot of swimming involved, so try working a retro bathing suit into your boating-day outfit. Layering a fun pattern like polka dots (I would probably avoid stars and stripes) under a drapey tank (or crop top) and distressed shorts is an easy recipe for a fun summer holiday look.

If you’re craving a little star-spangled banner, why not just add a cool star bangle like this one? You might want to skip the earrings to avoid losing them in the water! As for shoes, they don’t call ’em boat shoes for nothing! Shy away from heels and other non-sturdy numbers if you plan on being on a boat.

P.S. If you’re more of a bikini girl, you can make that work, too. Just don’t wear a white shirt over that soon-to-be-sopping-wet swimsuit!

What are your plans for the Independence Day? I hope I’ve given you some inspiration for ways to dress for your Fourth festivities.

‘The Thing About Computers,’ A Poem

This poem is a work in progress that came to me rather fluidly, stream-of-consciousness style. It sounds very “rantish,” but still very artistic and eloquent. It might make a nice spoken word poem.

The Thing About Computers

The thing about computers
Is that they make it too easy
It being art, of course, and art being life
The miscommunication occurred between cursors and paintbrushes,

Servers and stereos, search engines and hard-bound books
Someone decided that internet access equals ingenuity
And you and I genuinely believe
Because we want to be that genius
The thing about computers
Is that clattering sonatas and lexical symphonies
Can spill from sadly unskilled fingertips
Onto unsuspecting keyboards kissed by amateur prints
Pinkies and thumbs transformed into instruments fine-tuned for use
On the most unwieldy of weapons
Perhaps it’s this knowledge that without our touch
Not a character dares shows its face on the digital page
That makes us feel like typing virtuosos in spite of our
Oafish hen-pecking at x, c, and the left-pointing caret keys
But in the deluge of tap-dancing digits
Pit-patting on the space bar and tabbing to a five-point indent
We lose the intent to type something worth saying at all
Will they “follow?” Will they “like” it?
Will you lead them into battle with your lion’s heart
So strong they know they’ll never be the same?
Skip that last part
At least they know your name
The thing about computers
Is that this information superhighway
Moves faster than a galactic hitchhiker
Reaching for the stars like you are every time
You sit across the table from Google and YouTube
Grasping at their plates with grubby fingers
For scraps of facts you never even knew you needed to know
But too fast to smell the fresh-cut grass of that pasture you passed
On the left a while back
Too fast to keep your eye on the horizon
Knowing that every mile on the speedometer
Brings you one step closer to capturing that distant sun
With your camera phone and abruptly Instagramming it
Into a dingy existence in the presence of a vintage photo filter
Forget about the comforting crackle that keeps you company
On the acre-long hunts for FM radio stations between gas stationsThe thing about computers
Is that they can do more than we ever could
But the basic good which we assume
Perfumes the perceptions of engineers and authors
Who father the codes and man the programs
Is missing from the motherboards 
Populating worlds of data
With method instead of morality
Efficiency, not faith
Not heart enough to stave off hate

The thing about computers
Is they are only as good as the hand that guides them
And the hand guiding them
Is mine