A few weeks ago I was taking a look through the past year in posts and decided to put together a Top 40 collection for 2012. I had hoped to spread it out over a few days and organize everything a bit, but a family death and extended stay in Pennsylvania over the holidays set me back and I had to lump it all together. Thank you so much for continuing to help make this site such an amazing part of my daily life – here’s to 2013!
Hot Dog – my longest foster at 3 months – was adopted by the most lovely couple.
Roxy had surgery and recovered like a champ!
Piper and I finished buying + wrapping gifts right on schedule. PS: I like dogs.
Automobile Alley in OKC was all dressed up.
Volunteered at an amazing adoption event (again, I like dogs).
My mom adopted a new kitten, Noel!
I made an ass out of myself mid-Target. And was proud.
Received so many pretty cards this year.
Scored this Oklahoma pride tee from Shop Good in a Dirty Santa.
Gifted/own my first turntable since the age of 10.
My favorite part of O’Hare Airport.
Made bobiki for the first time entirely on my own. (Rolling needs work!)
Raided old photos at my Grandma’s house. My Grandpa was such a looker!
And she’s not such a Plain Jane either.
The essence of my childhood.
Three cats on a box and one inside. Because.
I voted! In and out in 10 minutes, I love my polling location.
Celebrated one year of CooperHouse!
Received the most thoughtful gift from Hank+Hunt.
Got crafty with Creature Comforts and Anthropologie.
Made cranberry curd (stay tuned for the recipe!).
Ate Thanksgiving leftovers for 5 days. It was awesome.
Put the fuzzy blanket on the bed, much to the cats’ delight.
Did a little holiday decoratin’.
I’ve been writing out and sending Christmas cards since my early teens. What can I say, I love sending mail! In all those years I’ve never once ordered pre-printed cards, but I thought this might be the perfect year for it with how busy I’ve been. I immediately knew that Minted was my destination, their extensive collection of holidays cards is always top notch.
I chose this clean, modern design by Kelli Hall, I love the sentiment. Minted also offers an amazing triple thick paper as an option, it makes your cards feel like a million bucks!
The address wrap and kraft paper envelope option gave my cards just the feeling I was looking for. My only regret was not ordering an extra 25, seems I completely underestimated my mailing list!
Alright, I’m about to go totally photo heavy on y’all! Remember last month when I was in Milan jurying the Electrolux Design Lab? Well, my mom came along with me and we took a few extra days to explore the city. I mean, I’m not about to fly halfway around the world for business and not check out the culture!
Milan isn’t a massive city, and the heart of it all is based around the Duomo Cathedral (sidenote: love the logo). The structure took hundred of years to complete, and once you see at the intricate design throughout it’s easy to understand why.
It was free to explore inside, but for a few Euro you could clime a couple hundred steps to the top which we of course did. It rained. A lot. But that didn’t stop us (or my mom from wielding her Pittsburgh Steelers umbrella!).
This isn’t the roof, but a terrace near the top. It was impossible to take a bad photo! And yes, still raining.
Directly across the north side of the plaza lies Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. It’s a covered open air shopping court with Prada, Gucci – you get the idea. Directly underneath this gorgeous dome is an inlaid bull, legend has it if you stomp on his testicles and spin around three times it will bring good luck!
Here it is from across the plaza. My mom talked to a local and was praising the architecture of the buildings, he mentioned how all of the Milanese take it for granted since it’s all around them.
La Rinascente is in the same building as Galleria Vitorio Emanuele II and is nothing short of seven levels of of heaven. Name after name of top level fashion designers that I could never hope to afford. But heaven lies on Level 0 in the form of Design Super Market.
Aisle upon aisle of everything I’ve ever seen on a design blog ever. I was head over heels and my mom was staring at me like I was a lunatic for the entire hour I shopped.
And then we went tot he 7th floor. Food paradise. Including a mozzarella bar and chocolate shoes.
The lighting was kind of all over the place, so my photos are as well. That honey on the top shelf? So went home with me.
The packaging was incredible. I mean, come on. I think my eyes were bugging out of my head.
While we were riding high on food, we walked over to Peck. I’d heard great things about this two-level gourmet market, but was only mildly impressed. I was only able to snap a few photos before they yelled at me. Italy is interesting.
And of course we visited our share of gelaterias. Duh.
Our last night we had to switch to a different hotel, this was our view from the balcony. Definitely a lovely way to say goodbye to Milano.
Started the month off right, with the most comfortable costume shoes ever!
Did a little decoratin’.
Made yummy pumpkin whoopie pies with cream cheese filling.
Instated Wednesday Night Pizza.
Spent lots of time with these goobers.
Got to visit my Grandma and my favorite bathroom face, thanks to Sandy.
Did some cat loungin’.
So proud of my web developers, way to go Cooper House!
Flew business class for the first time, don’t want to go back to economy!
A rainbow of Repettos.
A long day of business in Milan.
Gorgeous balcony room near the Duomo.
I love this photograph of Pete from sometime in the early ’80s. It’s how I remember him best, with no confused look in his eyes and a shock of wavy (though receding) hair. These were the days he spent teaching me how to hit a ball and appreciate underducks on the swings in the park behind our homes. The good ‘ol days, for sure.
Once again, three months has brought lots of change.
First and foremost, at the end of August we hired a daytime caregiver. Her name is Crystal and she’s 25 and contagiously bubbly, which puts Pete in a good mood of his own most days. She’s with him a little longer each day than I was, allowing all of us (me, my mom, and my stepdad) to go back to our full work routines. I spent the first three days of her employment with the two of them, hoping for a smooth adjustment. And on the third day when I explained to Pete that I would see him the next week instead of tomorrow he said, “If you gotta go, you gotta go!” A good sign if there ever was one.
Secondly, my mom closed up Pete’s Pennsylvania home early last month. After several trips back spent weeding out twenty year old receipts and other junk, it was time. Plenty of furniture was given away and his car was sold. Everything else was boxed up, loaded onto a moving truck, and sent into a storage unit here until we can root through it all. Of course Pete has no idea all of this has happened, though the only houses he asks about these days are boyhood homes.
I’ve gone back to freelance graphic design and blogging on my own time, instead of hurriedly in the evening hours. It’s good. And though I thought there would be a modicum of guilt attached to this moment, there really isn’t. I know that I did my best job helping Pete for as long as I could. And now it’s nice to visit for Sunday dinners instead of being the one telling him he can’t do something he wants.
So for now this will be the last Pete update. I cannot even begin to thank you all for your kind comments and emails and shared stories and words of wisdom. They mean more to me than you’ll even know. This site was never meant to be a story of the trials and tribulations of my life, but I’m so happy that when it took a tiny turn in that direction you were there as always.
Bought my first fall bouquet.
Started fostering a chiweenie named HOT DOG!
Spotted the first pumpkins and gourds.
Read a lot of books.
Saw redwoods for the first time.
Did a lot of traveling and earned some serious dark circles (and maybe one crossed eye).
Made the first pumpkin bread of the year.
A few weeks ago I flew from NYC – and the HP Designer Matchup reveal – to San Francisco for Mighty Summit. Midway across the country I had an allergic reaction to something in the plane’s air system and spent most of the time gathering tissues from the restroom and hoarding them like a small squirrel. I showed up at SFO to meet a few of my fellow summit goers with rubbed off makeup, a runny nose, and red eyes. HI, I’M KELLY.
Me showing up in dire need of antihistamines and the four of them immediately jumping into action let me know what an incredible group of carefully selected women I was about to spend the next few days with. Go-getters, helpers, doers, sympathizers. We stopped in downtown San Francisco at a Walgreens for tissues, allergy meds, and snacks and drove two hours north to a small town in the Russian River Valley called Guerneville and made our way to Boon Hotel + Spa.
We were the last car to arrive (thanks in part to me) and showed up to a bawdy group of ladies enjoying margaritas and a taco truck that had driven right up into the middle of the resort. Fiesta! Sombreros, handmade piñatas, and Mexican food is now in my Top 10 Welcomes for sure. We were even highly encouraged to grab a “room burrito” for a midnight snack. My kind of people.
Boon itself is gorgeous, tucked into the bottom of a hillside climbing with redwoods and palm trees. All of the rooms surround a common area with a pool, hot tub, and cabana. This is where the majority of time was spent talking, making plans, and wining. Tough to beat considering the always clean orange beach towels and stacks of magazines.
We were paired up in our rooms with someone who was most likely a stranger on Friday and a good friend come Monday. My roommate was Kristin Appenbrink of Real Simple, a girl with a plan that one.
Besides the hotel and spa, the owners of Boon are also proprietors of Boon Eat + Drink and Big Bottom Market. They provided almost all of our food and it was incredible. For real. As in there wasn’t one thing I shoved into my pie hole that wasn’t an A+++. Ask me about the yogurt that was more like custard some time. Or the curry chicken salad sandwich. Or the polenta lasagna. Or just visit and try it all yourself.
After a pajama-filled breakfast around the pool Saturday morning, we headed to Moshin Vineyards to get a little insight into winemaking and tasting. We saw the sorting process, tried the grapes (SUPER sweet), and witnessed some bottling in the works.
Then we stood outside on a gorgeous day trying about six different wines for ourselves. All before noon.
But everyone knows that one winery isn’t nearly enough, so we headed down the road to VML. To say the grounds were well manicured would be an understatement, there were flowers literally everywhere you turned. And lawn Jenga. We settled in at picnic tables mere feet from a lilypad-covered pond for lunch. And a little more wine tasting, naturally.
This is what I look like while listening. And this is what I look like with Rena Tom.
After some down time (or work time or nap time, depending on who you might ask), we gathered for a relaxed dinner.
Nights and mornings were downright cold, and a well-stoked fire was welcome. There were even s’mores, but I think everyone was too stuffed with food and alcohol to enjoy any.
Boon was actually named after the owners’ dog, a nine year old boxer/lab/pit bull mix who made his rounds daily to say hello to all of the ladies before retiring to the chaise of his choosing. A rough life by any standards.
Sunday was the big day, the punctuation mark on the trip. After walking the trails through Armstrong Redwoods we gathered for lunch and Life Lists. Before we ever made our way to Mighty Summit we were all tasked with creating our own list of goals, everything from the easily attainable (plant a lilac bush) to the extreme (hug Oprah). Now we were asked to choose five items off our list that we wanted to accomplish in the next 12 months, asking the group for help achieving one of them.
There’s a reason this is one of the last activities, after having a few days to get to know one another. I’d liken it to a verbal trust fall. You’re putting a lot on the table and it can get emotional. And afterwards? You feel drained and exhausted and awesome.
And a lot like you just entered the best club ever. And then you risk your lives climbing on a fallen centuries old redwood tree and you do evil laughs for the sake of photography.
Sunday night we all gathered for our celebratory farewell dinner in downtown Guerneville at Big Bottom Market. Our hosts, Maggie Mason and Laura Mayes , said a few words about Mighty Summit and why they put it on every year and then we each received a necklace with five small gold rings on it. One for each of our goals.
I left Might Summit with a better sense of self than I’ve had in quite some time. Goals clearly outlined, plans written down, proposals in the works. All thanks to Maggie and Laura who thought it would be a great idea to start an annual retreat for women in media, who might combine their awesome powers when together and create something bigger.
If all of this sounds amazing, you should definitely consider attending the on steroids version – Camp Mighty – that’s taking place November 15-17 in Palm Springs, CA.
Also? We took lots of good free stuff home, you can try your hand at winning a bag full of it too!
Attendees: Amber Doty – The Daily Doty | Anne Sage – The City Sage | Catie Nienaber – Cuffington | Christine Koh – Boston Mamas | Dana LaRue – The Broke-Ass Bride | Elizabeth Stark – Brooklyn Supper | Fiona Tang | Jessica Zollman | Jessie Char – Char* | Jordan Ferney – Oh Happy Day! | Kate Nicholson – Modern Baby | Katherine Stone – Postpartum Progress | Kathleen Shannon – Jeremy and Kathleen | Kristin Appenbrink – Real Simple | Lily Stockman – bigBANG Studio | Maggie Shipstead – author | Maile Wilson – Epiphanie Bags | Meg Biram – MIMI + MEG | Meredith Sinclair – HOO-DEE-HOO | Rena Tom | Sarah Bryden-Brown – blogstar | Sarah Lane | Sarah Urquhart - Alt Summit | Stephanie Brubaker – stephmodo | Tiffani Jones Brown
Photos by Kelly Beall: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20,
Photos by Maile Wilson: 10, 13, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26
It seems like I blinked and August was in my rearview mirror. For real, it seems like I can barely remember much of it outside of foster dogs and lots of mornings spent on the patio with Pete.
Clockwise from top left:
Celebrated this girl’s 13th birthday – I have a teenager!
Received a most epic bruise breaking up a dog scuffle. (Anyone else see the skull face? Okay.)
Made this White Peach Cardamom Crumble. So good.
Started fostering a chiweenie. Named Hot Dog.
Helped Rusty find a home! (Miss him sooo much.)
Bit the inevitable bullet and adopted Bebe as my own.