Jul 29, 2010

My Oldest Sibling Complex


So I'm Tara, and for fourteen years I was the creative director of an advertising agency in Oklahoma City, but now, Kathleen and I run our own business, Braid Creative & Consulting, together. You can read about how we decided to finally take the jump and go out on our own, here.

It's sort of a big deal. Well, a big deal for living a very normal life in the middle of the kind-of-south-kind-of-midwest (Oklahoma weirdly doesn't really fit in one description or the other), while still getting paid to be creative.


My thirty-five years of being a perfect, precocious (if not a bit pissy) first-born child prepared me well for this role. Yes, I like extra credit. Yes, I could read at age two. Yes, I like winning science fairs and drawing contests and solo & ensemble competitions (that's a band thing). And, yes... I like being the boss. Basically, if Tara ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

I get to write, and concept all sorts of cool stuff. I get to produce television commercials. Basically my preteen advertising career fantasy, sparked by the late eighties yuppie-angsty television series, thirtysomething (da-da, da, da... da-da, da, da... remember that theme song?) has come true.

My job aside, I've always dreamed about being thirty-something. I know, I know, I am also really influenced by television shows. Come to think of it, I also fantasize about being a chic old lady with flowing, layered Bea Arthur style outfits like on Golden Girls.


Part of the package are my own kids. (Not the Golden Girls package... that involves moving to a split-level house with palm tree wallpaper and white lacquered wicker furniture and hooking up with a string of random guest-star widowers.)

However, Charlie and Sam are part of the reason I am definitely still my parents' favorite.

Hello? Can anyone say first grandchildren in the entire family? Ahh, the cycle of precociousness continues. Although reading at age two is apparently not just magically, genetically passed down... dang.


Second reason I'm still my parents' favorite? I still win stuff every once in a while, for achieving, like... achievement.


I mean, don't I just look like a total Pollyanna? I call these photos, "evolution of a goody two shoes."


But as much as I may seem like the center of my own world, my brother and sister are even bigger centers of theirs. You'd think we'd send each other careening off into space, our self-absorbed gravities completely at odds with each other, like magnets that repel instead of attract.


But "oldest, middle, youngest" we just, well... stick.

More Tara stories:


- My love of beanies and fake food in Brownie Points. Bacon Badges.
- My other half in My Husband Works For The Empire.
- My mommy/homemade side in Cookie Robot. Closet Robot.

Jul 26, 2010

My Sister Is A Hipster


This is my sister Kathleen. She's either incredibly ahead of the curve, or just eternally impatient for the next thing. I think it's a mix of both that makes her do things like, oh, I don't know... paint giant black and white stripes in her hallway.


And then everyone goes bonkers and just has to have giant black and white stripes in their hallways.


She's an art director turned freelance vintage/modern invitation designer and an on-her-way-to-being-sort-of-a-big-deal blogger.

The Kathleen List:

But in the twenty-eight years I've known her she's also been:

1. a constantly topless crazy-hair tomboy (age 3)

2. a blonde side ponytail, bow head, track suit preppy (age 7)

3. a grungy Doc Marten, plaid shirt, thrift-store urchin (age 11)

4. a dreadlocked (okay, half-assed, failed dreadlocked) hippie wannabe (age 14)

5. an indie, red-hair, artsy, knitting, 60's yellow VW bug-driving, earth-muffiny waif (age 20)

6. a straight-ironed, raven-hair, vespa-riding, rock-n-roll rollergirl (age 25)

7. and now a wavy-hair, local-sustainable-square-foot-gardening foodie, with a lacy-layeredy-boyfriend-jean aesthetic and a style perspective that pervades everything from her clothes, to her home, to her food, to her... well, her hair products (which, as you may have noticed, her hair could have it's very own independent chronology).


Her blog, Jeremy & Kathleen (oh right, there's a hubby in this picture, I just didn't have room to list him with all the hair descriptions and what not), is where you can see what she's wearing today.


And you can also see what she's cooking, growing and designing. It truly is impossibly cool.

And though I play the grounded, grain-of-salt older sister to her eternal wild child...


... I "impossibly" couldn't love her more.

More Kathleen stories:


- Kathleen Meets (drools on) Alan Cumming in Kathleen Crush
- Kathleen dresses up for an afternoon in Kathleen Gets "Carried" Away
- Kathleen doesn't like a cold bed in The Girl Who Never Slept Alone

Jul 24, 2010

My Brother Is A Blockhead


A "Human Blockhead" to be precise.


That means he hammers nails into his nose. And people clap and stuff. (Or throw up.)


But he's still a sweet boy.

He just goes by Donny Vomit now, is all.
(You know, because of the throwing up thing.)


The Donny List:

1. Donny wants you to think his favorite movie is all edgy, like Pi or Requiem For A Dream.

2. But it's really The Three Amigos.

3. His go-to karaoke song is Suspicious Minds by Elvis.

4. But if you get him on a happy day he'll do Madonna's Like A Prayer (..."let the choir sing.")

5. When we were kids he'd cry and scream and beg beneath the crack under my (locked) bedroom door to play He-Man with him. I would finally agree if I could control the bad guys in Skeletor's camp (who had the Skull Mountain home base which was kick ass.) Whereas the only somewhat interesting thing in He-Man's crew was a mossy-skinned guy that smelled like Pine-Sol.

6. I always thought Donny looked like Elliot in E.T. or Kevin in the Wonder Years, and should have been a puppy dog-eyed, heart-throb child star.

7. But he just wanted to be Steve Martin.

8. When he was twenty-five he moved to New York City to become an honest-to-goodness sideshow performer.

9. Since then his handlebar mustache and fast-talking boardwalk voice have become mainstays at Brooklyn's world-famous Coney Island Sideshow By The Seashore where he performs side-by-side with snake charmers, fire eaters and human oddities. He has appeared on television's Cake Boss and Samantha Brown Weekend. He has taught journalists and Ivy Leaguers how to swallow swords at "sideshow school." He's toured the country with a burlesque troupe (three pinup girls and Donny crammed in a tin-box trailer). And he's even had a beer label named after him.

10. Eight-year old Donny would have been deliriously happy to hear that his future persona involved the word "vomit." And while it may have not fit my nostalgic vision of a boy-next-door brother complete with a gravely Joe Cocker cover of "Get By With A Little Help From My Friends," it would, and has, served our family's affinity for the dramatic.


Kevin from The Wonder Years? Eat your heart out.

More Donny stories:


- what happens when Donny babysits in Uncle Donny
- when a Donny Vomit stunt goes wrong in our
Family's First Trip To The Sideshow
- an outing is anything but boring with Kathleen & Donny in
A Simple Outing