All images courtesy of Yago Partal
Okay, so I know that the blog has been a bit serious this week; therefore, I think it's only appropriate that we have a little fun today. And what better way to let down our collective hair [online] than to look at some fashionable zoo animals, all gussied up to have their portraits taken?
Amazingly enough, these portraits are actually the creations of Barcelona-based graphic artist Yago Partal.
He uses photo manipulation to assemble these hysterically realistic images of animals, dressed to the nines in their Sunday best, staring right into the camera lens. My oh my, do they make me smile.
You can take a look at some of my favorites from this series below:
Oh my gosh, do you know what I think is craziest about this collection? That I started to make assumptions about the animals' personalities based on what they're wearing and their facial expressions. For instance, the Koala looks a bit dorky, the bull looks like a rough-around-the-edges tough guy, the lemur looks ready to go/get in a fight/cause some trouble, and the raccoon looks like a witty hipster (and therefore, I love him). Crazy, right? Clothes really do make the MANimal ;)
You can view all of Partal's Zoo Portraits and even purchase prints (so fun!) on his website, here
. I only wish he had a meerkat, and I'd be all over that for Ben's next present.
Ben (my husband) is 30 today. Yikes!
To think that when we started dating he was just a spry young 21....my, how time has run over us like a freight train! As a special gift and to celebrate this big birthday, I promised Ben weeks ago that I'd let him share his
SJOTW this week, as my very first SJOTW-guest-poster (!). To say he was excited is an understatement ;)
The sweet guy has been taking pictures and making little notes all week long (he got very into it, which I love), and has finally come up with the following list of simple, sensory pleasures. Take a look below to see what made Ben smile over the past 7 days...HEAR: Anthem Lights'
"Best of 2012 Pop Mash-up"
This musical gem magically appeared on my One Direction Pandora
station the other day (yes, I created a One Direction Pandora station). Apparently, Athem Lights is a Christian group from Nashville. Whatever the case may be, they combine three of my favorite musical elements: glee clubs, Top 40 music, and mash-ups. Mary Catherine thinks I have an affinity for Christian groups*, but I think I just like these guys because they sound like The Warblers from Glee
. Enjoy! [*Editor's note: Ben is not religious, which is why I poke fun at him for this]
Wife in the Kitchen Baking a Pound Cake
There is no image more beautiful than that of my Wife in the kitchen. If you didn't already know, Mary Catherine doesn't have a ton of free time between teaching, practicing, blogging, managing, painting, and doing all of the other things that she does on a daily basis. Seeing her in the kitchen is symbolic of her having some free time, which is nice to see. Plus, the pound cake is a family recipe and I can't wait to have some. In case you were wondering, the recipe is not for public disclosure. It's one of the perks of marrying a woman from the Manley lineage.TASTE:
French Fries with Malt Vinegar
I had been ordering sweet potato fries for a while, but have recently made the switch back to regular french fries, particularly when malt vinegar is available. I think that pouring malt vinegar on your fries is something traditionally done when eating "fish and chips." However, I find it to be tasty along side a cheeseburger.SMELL: Breathe Right Nasal Strips
This isn't really a "smell," per se, but these nasal strips have helped me breathe much better lately, particularly while sleeping. I have had a deviated septum since getting elbowed in the nose while playing basketball when I was 13 years old. I strongly recommend these if you have any trouble sleeping.[Editors note: As you can imagine, they're also really sexy...]TOUCH: Goat Tape
Goat Tape is a "premium" athletic tape that I use on my thumbs when working out. CrossFit and Olympic Weightlifting are brutal on the thumbs, thanks to lots of snatches, cleans, and pull-ups. Standard athletic tape tends to slide off the thumbs when you sweat. Goat tape is, as they advertise, "Scary Sticky." Plus, they donate a portion of their proceeds to Mercy Corps
, who uses the money to buy goats for families in need. Pretty cool, huh?
What brought you happiness this past week? My (Mary Catherine's) biggest simple joy? Reading Ben's SJOTW and celebrating his birthday with him ;) I heart birthdays.
If you want to give Ben a little birthday gift, follow him on Twitter
! He's pretty new and really wants some followers (again, SO sweet!).
I hope you have a fabulous weekend full of lots
of simple pleasures!
Nothing says Easter like a bunny doing yoga, am I right?
I'm obsessed with these images--especially the one of the bunny in savasana ;)
All if these amazing drawings were created by the artist Brian Russo
. You can check out more of his work on his website, here.
All images courtesy of Henry Hargreaves
Here's the thing about today's featured artist: the guy is witty, funny, and really, really smart. His work makes me smile and
gets me thinking, which are two of the things that I look for in an artist--and more specifically, in art that I share here on Starr Struck
Before we jump in, let me say that it was very
hard to decide which pieces of Henry Hargreaves'
work to feature. Do I go with his "Food of the Rainbow"
series, or his "Jello Presidents"
series? Or maybe his "Bacon Alphabet"
(yuck) or "Deep Fried Gadgets"
series? You've got to give it to him, he definitely thinks outside of the box.
So with that, lets take a look at Hargreaves' "Toasted Icons" series. These pieces are exactly what they sound like--portraits of icons made out of pieces of toast and then photographed. Pretty fantastic and funny, right?
Thank you, Henry Hargreaves, for having a mind that produces portraits made out of burnt toast. This is why I love artists.
You can view all of Hargreaves' work on his website, here.
To all my readers: I hope this inspires you to think outside the box today. Look what you could find!
All images courtesy of Ursus Wehrli.
As a person with a somewhat OCD
, type-A personality, the work of Swiss artist and comedian, Ursus Wehrli
, is right up my alley. I'm extremely interested in how he came up with such a fabulous/wild idea for this series of photographs, and love it that he not only came up with the idea, but that he actually followed through and created an entire book
around the concept.
The gist--which I'm sure you've already picked up on from the images above--is that he takes objects and scenes from everyday life and rearranges them into organized, orderly stacks, rows, or groups. It's satisfying, in a way, to look at his work, but also very humorous, clever, and crazy--especially when you see the large-scale images like the one above ;)
I'm dying to see the entire collection, but you can take a look at a small selection from the book below...
Aren't they fabulous!?
I love it.
I think I may need to pick up his book, The Art of Clean Up: Life Made Neat and Tidy
, so that I can see all of the images he came up with.
You can read more about Ursus Wehrli on his website, here
, and can hear his TED talk (which I'm excted to listen to and will do tomorrow!), here
I hope you have a neat and tidy day! Makes you want to clean something, doesn't it!?
CrossFit couples counseling: Sledgehammer Strikes. Ben on the left, me on the right.
In our household (er, apartmenthold), the term "CrossFit Widow" is thrown around a lot. Mostly by me. Well, only by me. But, I've found that this term perfectly describes what I've gone through in the 4+ years since my husband, Ben, has been doing CrossFit
--and especially in the 2+ years that he's been doing it more competitively.
Here's the thing: I love CrossFit.
I really do! I think it is super fun and it's an amazing
workout and a perfect yang to yoga's yin and all of that (read more about why I do it here
)--but my love for CrossFit has NOTHING on Ben's love for it. I go to class, workout, come home, and I'm done. Ben goes to class early to do an extra-long "mobility session," then he does class, then he stays after class for 30-40 minutes doing something extra or working on a specific skill, then he comes home, and proceeds to watch CrossFit videos on the iPad all night. Or if he's not watching a video, he's reading a CrossFit blog, or the CrossFit journal, or checking out other CrossFit gyms and what workouts they're doing, or writing down workout plans for the next 6-weeks, or recording what he did that day.
Our apartment is covered in little scraps of paper with weekly workout schedules on them. We have a set of kettlebells in our dining room (no joke! picture below!), we have a rowing machine in our bedroom (no joke, picture below!), and the corner of our living room is filled with an abmat, "slamball," medicine ball, foam roller, etc. (again, picture below). He also recently asked if I thought we could fit a squat rack and a few weights in our 975 sq. ft. apartment. Ha!
So yeah, I call myself a CrossFit Widow. At times, it feels like I've lost him completely to his love for CrossFit. Maybe I'm being a *bit* dramatic, but CrossFit IS
the other woman in his life, and I know that I'm not the only person out there who feels this way.
Therefore, today I've compiled a list of 10 tips for others who may be in the same--or a similar--boat. I hope that by sharing the things I've learned over the past 5 years, I'll be able to save some of you from the many disagreements that we've had over our CrossFit love triangle...
A How-To Guide for CrossFit Widows/Widowers: 10 Tips for a Better Relationship
1. If your partner does CrossFit (or starts doing CrossFit) and you don't already do it, start. Even if you just go every once in a while, understanding CrossFit and being able to talk about it with them will do major things for your relationship. I can't imagine what would happen if I didn't do CrossFit (no conversation at the dinner table?). This will save your relationship! And I'm only half-kidding when I say this...2.
Every once in a while, watch a CrossFit video with your partner. It makes them really happy when you do this.3.
If your partner wants to buy equipment that isn't *too* expensive and fits in your home, let them. Honestly, it's one more reason for them to stick around/workout nearby, and it can be a really fun way to do workouts together. 4.
Learn the names of the previous CrossFit Games
winners. If you don't, you'll often feel very left out of conversations with friends (or, won't understand when your partner names his/her equipment after people...).5.
Cheer them on when they're doing really well, but when they're not doing well or are frustrated, don't cheer them on. I learned this the hard way.6.
Always "ooh" and "ahh" at all of their tales of PRs, amazing newly-acquired skills, pictures on blogs, and big muscles (hehe!). They love it and it brings you closer if they can constantly talk about CrossFit around the house. 7.
Take lots of pictures of them doing CrossFit. Post them in a public place. CrossFitters LOVE seeing pictures of themselves lifting weights or jumping on boxes. 8.
From the beginning, set up parameters re: how long a workout can last on the weekends. Say, "please be back in 2 hours so that we can spend time with each other." Trust me on this one--if you don't do this, their weekend workouts will often take up the entire day. This is not a joke, it has happened to me many, many times. 9.
Buy them CrossFit Reebok
gear. It makes them really happy and reminds them that you're around, and that you'd love to hang out with them whenever they're done CrossFitting ;)10.
Whatever you do, don't out-CrossFit them. I've never done this, so don't know what would happen, but if I became even more into CrossFit than Ben, I think the world would explode. I wouldn't dare try it (and honestly, really don't want to).
So there you have it! hope my fellow-CrossFit Widows/Widowers find this helpful!
If you're looking for more CrossFit relationship advice, check out my past post, "10 Ways to Prepare Yourself for Dating/Marrying/Becoming a CrossFitter."
On Christmas Day, Ben and I went to my old high school track for an outdoor workout. Since we didn't have any weights and Ben is seriously training for an upcoming competition, he decided to use me as his weight--something he's wanted to do ever since one of his good friends took pictures of himself doing "Wife Squats" on his honeymoon last year. So, Ben designed the following CrossFit-esque workout:3 rounds of:
10 strict chin-ups
10 wife squats
10 wife lunges
40 meter wife piggy-back shuttle run
Everything with the word "wife" in front of it was done with me, his up-for-anything spouse, on his back (in the manner of the image above). Needless to say, this workout was crazy. We alternated rounds, so I would go from being on his back for much of his round, to doing it on my own, to getting back onto his back--which is much harder than it looks in the picture. As you can see from the image above, the entire experience was story-worthy, and Ben demonstrated his "wife squats" for the family later in the day on Christmas. Of course my Dad, never one to be left out of a crazy experience, jumped on for the second round, allowing Ben the chance to show off with some "Father-in-Law" squats, as well. It was quite the show!
So anyways, after posting the above image on Facebook
, one of my clever friends shared the following video with me, offering it up as a new "sport" for Ben--The North American Wife Carrying Championship
Can you believe it? This is real!
It's like a Tough Mudder
with your wife on your back! And they've figured out an amazing method of "wife-carrying." I think this is utterly hysterical and hope that Ben and I will get a chance to compete some day ;)
Image via www.dailymail.co.uk
I hope your day is full of laughter and support--literally and figuratively...
Me + some of my bridesmaids flashing our mustache temporary tattoos at the wedding.
Although I'm not a huge fan of real
mustaches on people under the age of, oh, 45-50 or so, I am a big
fan of fake mustaches, Movember
, and almost all types of mustache paraphernalia. Because there's just something fun about wearing a mustache--especially when you're a girl--isn't there? Maybe that's why guys (read: Ben) think they're such an amazing thing to grow...who knows? But anyways, in celebration of the last week of Movember
(a month where men all over the country grow mustaches to raise awareness of men's health issues, specifically prostate and testicular cancer initiatives), today I thought I would share my mustache chronicles from the past 5 months or so.
If you remember, it all started at my girl's weekend/bridal shower/bachelorette party
back in June. Our "big night out" began with adhesive mustaches, and only got better from there:
A band playing music on the pier changed the words of "brown-eyed girl" to "mustache girls" and we LOVED it.
To commemorate this magical evening and the sheer joy that our faux-mustaches brought us (and everyone who we encountered that night), I decided to bring the mustache theme back for the wedding, primarily through our wedding party gifts. I stamped each card, gift box, and gift bag with this amazing mustache stamp that I bought on Etsy
I also purchased these fabulous pink mustache knee-socks, and these adorable stamped pink mustache bags (handmade and also available on Etsy
) that I filled with my bridesmaids' jewelry for the wedding:
Surprisingly enough, I wasn't the only one wanting to bring back the mustaches. The day before the wedding, my bridesmaids gifted me with these amazing mustache finds (and a few more that aren't pictured below!):
Set of mustache chip clips.
Handmade mustache mug.
So you see? The mustaches live on...
Oh, and here's my all-time favorite mustache pic from the wedding, featuring my Maid of Honor, Kelly:
No idea what's happening here, but whatever it was, it must have been absolutely amazing. Every conversation gets better when an unexpected faux-mustache is flashed ;)
You can read more about my thoughts on facial hair, here
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Image via knowyourmeme.com
For the next 11 days, I'm taking a cue from the now famous British WWII-era public safety posters (pictured on the right, above), and am working to "Keep Calm and Carry On."
You know this catchphrase, right? It's been everywhere over the past decade or so, and I believe that's because it's a pretty great slogan. After doing a quick google search, I learned that it resurfaced in early 2000, after one of the original posters was found and placed in a British bookshop. Once the message was posted online, it spread like wildfire, inspiring tons of "Keep Calm and _____" images to be created and shared. Kind of cool, right?
So anyways, I'm sure you've come across a bunch of spinoff images that you like, and today, I wanted to share the ones that speak to me (or just make me laugh). What I also have to say, though, is that I LOVE that the British government created these simple posters and hung them all over the country. What a wonderful public safety message, you know?! Obviously, times were very different then and there were very specific reasons that they felt the need to remind their citizens to "keep calm," but I think we can all use this simple reminder when life get a little crazy--no matter what the circumstances (whether something life-changing, or just #firstworldproblems
So, lets take a look at some fun spinoffs inspired by this poster...
As I'm sure you would guess, the yoga ones (including the "OM" one above) are my favorites:
I think it's also obvious why I like the following two parodies (very appropriate for my life right now!):
And these just make me smile:
I love the colors and themes used in the following two:
Also appropriate for this blog and some of my favorite subjects to write about:
And, although it's TOTALLY non-yogic, I get a BIG kick out of the following one (probably my favorite, although I don't truly feel this way--at least, not in this extreme manner...):
People are so clever, aren't they? And don't worry, I would never really get this mad during a yoga class ;)
How can you keep calm this week? What brings you peace and allows you to carry on when you get worried, upset, or anxious? I hope you can invite more of whatever this may be into your life today.
Image via holyyogafoundation.com
You know what I love about yoga? The second that you start to get over-confident, or start to think, wow, look at me rocking this pose out!, you fall over. Or stumble. Or do something stupid.
And it's usually embarrassing--especially if you're a teacher and you're in the front of the studio, so that everyone can see you (i.e. me in class last night).
I love yoga because it keeps you humble and reminds you to laugh at yourself.