of plush and porcelain.

I’ve been saving up lots of pretty things for you, my dear readers.  Enjoy.

Porcelain-themed wallpaper via Poppytalk.

Garden at Versailles, via Apartment Therapy.

From a Design is Mine post about good lighting. Ahhh, good lighting. Even a modern room looks lovely in good lighting (and of course a little distressed look on the walls helps as well).

Because you know I can’t get enough of line drawings. From Wisteria, via Poppytalk.

Via Design is Mine. I think bright pink works when used sparingly. It even manages to look relaxing. I can definitely see myself curling up on that couch with a book for, oh, about a week.

I love this weird shade of purple like I love matte walls. Via Apartment Therapy.

Old charts from a German book, from Valeriana Solaris, via Pink of Perfection.

May Luk Ceramics via Decor8.

A beverage dispenser is definitely what my parties need. From Pottery Barn, via Apartment Therapy.

No big, just Historical Female Scientist Wallpaper (!!!!!!!). From Katie Deedy, via Switch.

Yeah, I need these. Via Shelterrific.

since then.

Hello and welcome to this millennium’s episode of Catching Up With Tess.  Things have been non-stop crazy since we got back, of course, so I’m only going to be able to remember a few things we’ve done.  But I will dress it up with some pretty things and some links, and we’ll be all caught up.  Mmmkay?

oh hello. richmond by milan, via brandi.

My gosh, I missed this town while I was gone.  In fact, I still feel like I miss it since I haven’t been away from my desk much since we’ve been back.  The quickly-thinning calendar plucked us out of the airplane and spun me right to work with:

  • Name-changing. Nothing says “I was supposed to rest these couple of days but I’m running errands instead” better than running errands.  Name-change errands, to be specific.  How I long for a day when errands will not need to be run in person, and everything can be done online in 5 minutes, freeing up the extra hour you would have spent in the DMV for activities such as croquet, video games, or learning Greek.  Anyway, henceforth I shall be known as “Mrs. Daniel Shebaylo,” or “Mrs. Shebaylo,” or “Tess Shebaylo.”  So far so good, though the signature is probably hard to get used to for any person getting a new name when they’re almost 30.  Luckily, for those of you who bristle at the first sign of change (I sympathize because I am one of you, usually cat-like in my hatred of a change to my routine), “Tess” still works too.  And “Dixon” still works if you’re Kathryn.
  • Halloween.

    oh mr. todd / i'm so happy / i could eat you up / i really could

    When we landed in Richmond we had less than three days to come up with this.  And of course, being the Halloween lover that I am, I was acutely aware of this fact and it was stressing me out.  Thankfully everything came together effortlessly, Sweeney Todd with his razor and Mrs. Lovett with her meat pie.  The usual Oregon Hill festivities took place, and we ended the evening with an amazing party at Dave and Kristin’s, where Phil owned everybody with his Robot E. Lee costume.

  • Work. They say that going on vacation doesn’t really help to make a person feel rested, because when they get back from vacation they have to work twice as hard to catch up.  This is true.  I have only just now gotten caught up with my responsibilities at work, but luckily the folks at the temple are sweethearts and the most gracious co-workers in the universe, and they probably figured it would take me a while to dig myself out of the confusion.  And now my desk is clear, I’m keeping up with things, and ready to take it all on again.
  • Thank-you notes. I addressed and stamped all the necessary envelopes, and then chipped away at the pile of thank-yous to be written.  It took a few days, and Dan did help out a lot, and it felt so good to be done with the last official wedding to-do.  Things look pretty good on the other side of the wedding…there are a lot of things I can’t wait to get back to…
  • Chores. You turn your back for five minutes, and things get gross.  I think our cats are determined to get little pieces of broken kibble into every crevice of our old, splintery house.  We have one of those old houses that never really looks clean, no matter how hard you scrub it.  So I settle for EXTREME ORGANIZATION.  Which always wins.  Still, it takes a lot of time.  When I’m doing chores, I’m stressing that I’m not writing or hot-gluing.
  • RVANews. It takes me forever to get the articles I write for RVANews done, but it’s because of being a slacker and a procrastinator…once I get rolling, of course, they come very quickly.  Anyway, since it’s hard to battle writer’s block at the last minute, I try to stay ahead on my articles.  I’ve been VERY behind lately, though, so I spent several days’ free-time on that stuff last week and now I’m at least caught up.  Look for more of the same Richmond Proper goodness, as well as an upcoming holiday Etsy guide!
  • Soup. I love fall vegetables and couldn’t wait to start cooking with them again.  And I also love making a big pot of soup and eating it for lunch for the next two weeks.  So I made a delicious acorn squash and pumpkin soup the other night and we all loved it, and now I’m armed for the cold with my containers full of soup.  Except that today it’s 70 degrees.  FAIL.
  • Metropolis.

    o hai C-3PO!

    We finally watched the movie Metropolis, which is a silent film classic.  It was very good, and made us go “what the HECK?!” a million times, like all almost-a-century-old films should.

the REAL question

This weekend: New Moon and my 10-year high school reunion.  And maybe Megadeth (fingers SO crossed) if we get out of there early enough.  I am one happy girl.  Although I do live in fear that if we miss Megadeth, a certain redhead will show up at my door in the middle of the night, demanding my Biggest Fan card back.  The horror!

'ello guv'nah.

Some long-lost links…

  • Guys, really.  TIGHTS ARE NOT PANTS.
  • Zounds, I’ve been INTERVIEWED!
  • Spats: it seems wrong that I still don’t have them, doesn’t it?
  • Adoring these font-lovers’ note cards.
  • I’ve been watching a lot of Enter Kazoo Man.  No big deal.
  • I knew it.
  • I agree with Phil.  I like life’s simple pleasures.
  • Interesting to hear a different perspective on “fair trade.”
  • Hooray for personal style!  I don’t believe that everybody should dress like me, but that they should dress in a way that uniquely reflects their personality, or their story, as this article puts it.  Down with the mass-produced uniform!
  • Congrats to my girl Casey for making it into Style’s Top 40 Under 40.
  • LBH: some of these bachelor/bachelorette party ideas are lame, but most are cool, and you can at least save yourself the embarrassment with not being able to come up with something less trashy than the usual.  Plus, being productive and learning a new skill never hurt anyone.
  • Colonial Williamsburg’s photo collection: now online.  Go forth, and never be bored again, fellow historyphiles.  I’m sure I’ll be mentioning more about this later.
  • Oops, I just blogged about Star Wars twice in one go.  At least it was for a good cause.
  • I have a pack of unused doilies and am feeling inspired by Courtney’s post…


a stitch in time.

There are moments, of course, when the grave importance of what we are about to enter into resonates in me with a profound gratitude. Most of the time, unfortunately, the daily management of details wins out over the mystery of love forevermore.

This week has been full of a lot of Dr. Mario, cleaning, Wii Fit Plus, laughing ’til I cry at work, and kitten-wrangling.  And last-minute things, which touch even me.  Yes, even me.  Ice: something that needs to be present at the wedding, in mass quantity, but NOT melted.  Scary stuff.  That wasn’t on any of the wedding checklists I looked at.  But I guess most people can afford to hire someone to think of these things for them.

Tonight Dan’s parents and brother get into town and are staying with us for a few days, so the fun is officially beginning and the preparations are officially over.  I love when Dan’s parents visit.  Let the museum trips, porch hangouts, and beer cans piling up begin!

In other news, I think we’ve decided on the name of “Gozer” for our little white kitten.  Because she’s hot stuff, but she’s evil.


And finally, some amazing color combinations to make a bride second-guess her own choices…from Little White Book.

be nice to me.

Yesterday was a rather ridiculous day for several reasons: frustrations with getting itunes to recognize songs flagged as “Audiobooks” as such, early morning stomachache, forgetting to make a lunch for myself before leaving the house, wearing tights that were too loosely-woven to withstand the biting winter wind, and having a paper jam waiting for me as soon as I arrived at the office.  And this was all before 8:30am. 

Of course I busied myself with repeating the “keep calm and carry on” mantra, which in a nutshell summarizes my desire not to be concerned with silly daily things that I won’t remember in two weeks.  It worked, and my day was not so awful as it could have been in the end. But one thing that made me really sad was that I tried to donate blood, and was rejected because my hemoglobin was too low.  I think this is the same reason I was rejected my senior year of high school.  I was looking forward to the positive energy, as the hippies call it, from giving something back to the – er – community, and reading an issue or two of ReadyMade, but I was foiled because of something called hemoglobin.  Drat.  I guess if it’s still too low after all these years, I’m just doomed not to donate blood.  The sad part is that I work my tail out at the gym way more and eat way more healthily than probably anybody else donating there yesterday.  Hopefully I’m not too terribly anemic, but I will say that I’m always way colder than everyone else, especially in my extremities.  The blood bank lady was rubbing my hands trying to warm them up and get the blood circulating.  Kind of depressing.  Wikipedia says that a symptom of anemia is pallor.  Quelle surprise!  Possible causes include malnutrition, but the bags and bags of steamed veggies we’ve been eating for dinner beg to differ.  Oh well.  At least it’s kind of a goth-y problem.  Points to me! 

So the blood bank ladies made me take a t-shirt anyway, but I didn’t get to wear one of those nice red heart-shaped stickers that say “Be nice to me.  I gave blood today.”  Mostly people were nice to me anyway, so that’s good.  Someone should make me a button that says “Be nice to me.  I’m too anemic to give blood.” 

Yesterday was also mine and Dan’s 6monthiversary, which we celebrated by dinner at Edo’s and then wine at home while showing each other new music on our ipods.  The perfect evening, which certainly made up for my off-kilter day.  We have such a blast doing the most mundane things.  It’s crazy to think that just six months ago we started dating, because it feels like years.  As of yet there are zero fights to report, and the proverbial “honeymoon period” seems to extend and extend into infinity, even though we keep saying “well the reality is that eventually we’re bound to find something we don’t like about each other, and that it’ll culminate in trouble.”  So far, no trouble.  I’m the most thankful person in the world for being given the kind of guy who doesn’t add drama, insecurity, doubt, manipulation, and difficulty to life.  Rather, he minimizes those things.  He is wonderful. 

Every relationship eventually has to suffer the slings and arrows of the world, and I guess it’s a combination of a lot of things that determines whether you’ll “make it” or not.  We’ve talked about this before; it drives me crazy that there’s no set formula for it.  But I think that some are just naturally resistant than others to changing tides, and a full six months with zero fights is a better start than most people get.  We have been very blessed. 

This weekend Dan got tattooed (a very sweet gift from his bf Fred), we did some hanging out in Petersburg and at my parents’, and went on an antique-riddled adventure ending up somewhere way north of the city.  If you ever have a full tank of gas and nothing else to do, seriously just go out and drive down some crazy country roads and see what you find.  I love Virginia.  Also this week I dressed up a bulletin board.  If you ever want to rid yourself of the color brown, fabric works very nicely at covering it the heck up. 


  • Richmond Craft Mafia points out that there’s a new “shop local” tool on Etsy.  Use it!  Also, anybody going to the craft social on Feb. 10?  Let me know; I might be down.
  • Extinct / weird.  Extinct = weird.
  • The Lady of the Manners nails it once again.  Precisely my reaction.
  • Another Star Wars-licious lolcat.  I couldn’t resist.
  • I love this girl’s blog, and even though it’s mostly about everyday stuff, I enjoy reading it a lot.  Anyway I was recently talking about purchasing a minivan being equal to effectively ruining your own life, arriving at the conclusion that station wagons are the only acceptable family-targeted vehicle.  I feel the same way she does about vintage ones.
  • Brandt, whom we met at Cornerstone this summer, was in Relevant!  Congrats, Brandt.
  • Bleak House is finally on Librivox!  READ IMMEDIATELY if you have not already.
  • Yikes!  Strangely reminiscent of my good friend the Scarecrow.
  • This about sums up how I feel about Maxim.
  • In case you hadn’t heard, the Braves are out.  Not that big of a deal, but I will miss my yearly trek to the Diamond, with all of its hot dogs and umpire harassment.
  • The possibility of light rail for Richmond is one that is way too exciting to let myself get too hyped about.  But holy smokes, that would rule!

apis mellifera


Busy.  Why is that the word that describes my life right now?  So perfectly, so correctly.  Even epic events and delightful parties are reduced to items on a checklist of doom.  This checklist is so long that it stretches way up into the heavens, disappearing into the clouds with a glint of finality.  Where does the time go?  This week a feeling of hopelessness set in, at being perpetually buried under my to-do list without ever making any progress.  And after hopelessness follows depression and irritability.  Not in my perfect life, dangit.  So we go to the drawing board, and we evaluate.  This is a simple human survival skill that I think not enough people possess, and thank goodness I do.

I think it boils down to two major factors:

  1. It’s Christmastime.  Last year around this time I was hyperventilating over the number of Christmas parties I had to go to, freaking out over my gift list, and just losing my mind in general.  This year is no exception, and I need to remember that every time my mind starts to scramble around December 10th.  There is too much going on.  You need to stop, breathe, and just separate things into two piles: things you can say “no” to, and things you have to do.  For the things you have to do that remain, you have to put your head down and plow through them like a good American princess.  K thx bai.
  2. Boyfriend a-go-go.   The boyfriend has proven to be an excellent helper, and together we plow through to-do lists and events way better than solo Tess.  But no matter how much you love a person, you still need several hours of pure, unadulterated alone time per week.  I’ve been neglecting this lately due to sheer love for this amazing person and inability to turn my gaze elsewhere, but total silence and solitude for a few hours (I’m accomplishing this right now, even as we speak) is therapeutic.  It’s amazing how much I’ve grown to love being alone during the past several years, when I used to hate it so much.  Aloneness is the voice of reason.  It gives you back your sanity.  I shall cherish it and give it its proper time now and forevermore, amen.

In short, things have been insane.  I guess some of the major contributors have been work, Christmas shopping, and planning an amazing New Year’s Eve party.  I have had to sanction this lovely Wednesday night just for the purpose of catching up on the normal things I would do during a given week, if it weren’t for all of this stuff that’s been going on.

Mostly though, it’s hard to complain when you’ve been busy having FUN times one million this whole time.  I have posted many pictures depicting all this fun, of course.

I <3 jaime

  • I finally uploaded some videos that have been hanging around on my camera of Megadeth, as well as new ones of Action Patrol.  Check it out.
  • Daron was in town last week, and as usual did not disappoint.  I only got to see him a little bit, but of course I should have known there was a hidden bender in there somewhere.  Life doesn’t get any better than talking about life over wine, dinner, and whiskey with your two favorite males in the universe.
  • Last weekend was amazing.  I blogged in way more detail about my fun doing Williamsburg holiday stuff, and Court End Christmas, over at the Midnight Society blog.  History and Christmas, and history and Christmas.  I am the luckiest history geek in the universe, living here in the sweet sweet capital city.  On my tombstone I want the following inscription: “Wife of Thomas Jefferson.  Secret lover of George Washington.  Crushed on the Marquis de Lafayette for a hot sec, too.”  For some reason, I’m into powdered wigs right now.
  • Last night: Rad indoor bbq at Kelsey / Noel / Liana’s house.  I love WELC.  Afterwards, Silent Music Revival!  I adore Jameson Price and his harebrained ideas.
  • Today Dan and I walked over to the Library of Virginia to see the “Myth and Memory” exhibit, which I also blogged about over at the Midnight Society blog.  Awesome.

I am seriously racing against time, here.  Tonight is a microcosm of my life.  After getting home a little after 5pm, I knew I only had a few hours to be productive before I would have to go to bed in order to be coherent at work tomorrow.  This didn’t give me long to finish addressing some party invites, answering some emails, reading some feeds, editing photos, uploading photos, hurriedly eating some soup, blogging twice for Midnight Society, and finally blogging once here.  I shall pray for serenity and continue with the ever-expected links.

Aiight, that is all.  Squeaking in at just before 9pm, I am reading to paint some fingernails and call it a night.  Dear Wednesday, I love you.  Love, me.  Off to the delicious calm of having a diminished to-do list.