Friday, December 31, 2010

I'm in ♥ with

my new phone!

I've finally crossed over to an Android phone and I'm never going back! I'm now the proud owner of a Samsung Vibrant:

I'm now fully immersed in finding apps, looking for a great inexpensive cover for it and figuring out just why the really nice screen protectors are 25 bucks!

I've downloaded a few apps, but it's funny to me to think about some of the crap people have made and that other people have downloaded (& in some cases actually paid for!) I don't know about anyone else, but I don't personally need my phone to be a graphing calculator, but my math impairments do appreciate a good tip calculator that divides also divides the bill between friends in a snap.

Oh! I have to mention that if you're new to Android phones like I am & you haven't texted very much, the Samsung Swype is AWESOME!!!!! I ♥ it! I hate trying to tap out words in a text & Swype lets me slide my finger across the screen from letter to letter and then it either knows what word I'm spelling, or it lists words that might have been what I was Swyping and I can pick- SO EASY!
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Friday, December 24, 2010

May your days be merry and bright!

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Saturday, December 11, 2010


It's a crazy blizzard outside, so I'm going to try to get some "stuff" done around the house. I might even write about it here!

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Thursday, November 25, 2010


Today I'm thankful for a day in my pj's and time spent doing whatever I please.

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Sunday, November 14, 2010

After: The Bathroom!

Although it's been finished for some time, I hadn't made it 'round to posting the "after" of the bathroom project. This week's CSI Project is Beautiful Bathrooms, so I thought that was the perfect chance to reveal the final product. There is a little bit of the process that I'll go back and mention later, but for now...

Remember the BEFORE?

Don't forget this is how it looked when we bought the house in 8+ years ago: (we painted before we moved in)

Well, here's the AFTER:

Big difference, huh? (long gone are the days of "The Fish Bowl")

For those who didn't follow the entire process, here's a quick run down of what we did.
Ripped out:
old vanity
all the old tile
old toilet
part of the wall down the studs around the tub
sub floor down the joists

& then we:
replaced the subfloor & put down cement board
replaced the removed portion of wall with cement board
replaced the vanity
replaced the toilet w/ a more efficient model
replaced all the tile
new countertop
new sink
new faucets
reused the towel bars
painted- Pittsburgh Paints Spring Rain
sewed a new shower curtain
purchased a couple of new accessories

Now for some fun photos:
Our beautiful Italian ceramic tile floor.

The new vanity with the Piedrafina marble countertop-it's a recycled product!

The hooks I stained to match the rest of the wood tones.

Ikea Limmaren bottles for lotion, face wash & soap, along with the back spash tile.Joe and I both have drawers now!
We love the new bathroom. It's calm and serene and the opposite of what it was before. It's a pleasure to end the day soaking in the tub. I think we achieved the spa feel we were going for. We also love not having to bathe in the wash tub- thank goodness we have a powder room or this project might have been the end of our marriage!

All totaled, I think we ended up spending around $1500 for the entire project, which considering we ran into unexpected problems, wasn't too bad. I'd budgeted $1400-$1600, so we did pretty well.

If you'd like to read more about how the whole project went down, please click on the "bathroom" label to the right and it will show you the whole process.

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I'm linking to :

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Saturday, November 6, 2010

Cleaning Green

For some time now, I've been thinking about making my own household cleaning products & the last few times I've used the chemical versions of these cleaners, I've noticed that I'm having a harder time staying in the bathroom while I use them thanks to the fumes-that's not healthy if you ask me! I've always had to be very careful of choosing products thanks to exceptionally sensitive skin, so, I guess there's no time like the present.

I'm starting off with the things I know I'll use on a weekly basis:

Toilet bowl cleaner
General Cleanser
Glass cleaner
Something to clean our ceramic cooktop
Something (different from the general cleanser?) for the marble countertop

I figure I'll need:

Spray bottles
Raw Ingredients
Recipes (lots of good ones on line)

I already have:


I'm thinking that if I find a really good recipe that works well, I'll make a spiffy label for the bottle and include the recipe on it, and offer it as a pdf if anyone wants to use it.

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Ghosties, Ghoulies and Long-Legged Beasties

I finally finished getting some Halloween decorating done!

Normally, I'd have had lots done for weeks, but although I knew I was leaning toward a glitzy holiday instead of our usual creepy one, I just couldn't find the motivation. I was very strict and stuck with only shades of Black, White, Silver & Orange as my colors.

I was trying to be frugal this year, but sometimes something calls to me and I can't leave it behind. Case in point: our university Homecoming was the first week in October & I found this super cool candle stick at TJ Maxx:

It holds a pillar candle and was a bit of a splurge for me at $16, but it was way too cool to leave all alone in the store. I really didn't know how I was going to use it until last night, but I knew it was way too good to pass up. To compare: the glittered skull above came from Dollar Tree for a buck, the boa I had on hand and the candles always stand in that silver tray, I just change out the items around them to make a new seasonal arrangement. So that whole arrangement was $15 less expensive than my one candle stick!

I also fell in love with a silhouette of witches dancing at Gordman's, but so far I haven't figure out where to use it. I don't feel so obligated to use it however, since it was only $6 & because they had only two and both were flawed, she gave me a discount.

I tried my hand at glittering my own tiny skulls this year:

What a mess! But the results are cool. I figured it couldn't hurt to try it out on a Dollar Tree skull or two. We had glitter in our food for days, but as they say "this too shall pass".

I really liked the glittered ball fill from Hobby Lobby, but overall, was not impressed with their Halloween selections for 2010. I did feel inspired by a few things, but nothing enough to bring home with me. I used more of the fill on our coffee table:

I was inspired by Jessica of Craftily Ever After's beautiful lace wreath to make my own version from things I had around the house:

I made it from an old wreath, some orange fabric that I ripped into strips and an old pair of stockings. Some hot-glue, some Halloween ribbon and a vintage button held in place with pearl buttons and voila! It's not nearly as classy as Jessica's, but I can make a lace one another year.

I also put out my usual collection of ceramic jack-o-lanterns, but there's nothing very interesting about that.

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Sunday, October 17, 2010

vintage pattern

While doing a tiny (as in I spent a total of under $2) thrifting, I found this great vintage pattern:

Here's the really fun part: It's marked with $1.50 as the original price and I paid 29¢! I'm pretty excited about it because it's *just* the style I was thinking of for some black dotted swiss I have. The pattern even has the little slip for underneath! PERFECT!

The not to good news: It's only a 32 inch bust! So, this is going to be a learning project for me. I'm going to learn how to grade a pattern-eek! Luckily, I only need to bring it up 2-3 inches in the bust. I haven't had a chance to measure the pattern pieces yet to see how much I might need to regrade the waist & the skirts should be pretty easy (although I have HIPS, so that will be a lot more added inches than anywhere else)

I figured for 29¢, I could risk it & try to learn something new.

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I'm Back!

I've been MIA lately, but for a really good reason. For the last 8 weekends, I've been busy playing/working at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival with a little business I share with my mom called Fest Friends.

This, along with my real job have been occupying so much of my time that I barely had time to do laundry, much less anything else.

This is going to change in October & I'll be back to more regular updates.

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Monday, August 30, 2010

Allergy Relief

I'm kinda an expert on allergy relief. Why? Oh, 4 and half years of allergy shots, a fair amount of research, questions at the doctor's office and LOTS of trial and error.

I have what's known as "year round" allergies. I have certain times of year that are really terrible, but even in the dead of winter, I'm allergic to dust mites. Late summer is the worst.

My eyes itch and water, my skin itches, the roof of my mouth and my throat itch. I sneeze and sneeze and blow my nose so much it become raw. I actually get so itchy my body starts to sweat & I feel like crying.

Due to my allergies, I managed to have a private dorm room in college and also scored an air conditioner for my room all thanks to my doctor. (there are a few perks)

Anyway, here's my list of things that I find helpful in fighting the worst days. I hope they are helpful:

  • I try to avoid being outside during peek times for the pollens that are bothering me early-mid afternoon for ragweed, early in the day for grass, etc.)
  • I don't mow the lawn- it's just bad news for me.
  • I take my antihistamine religiously during peek times. I like Zyrtec. It works for me. I almost had a party when it went over the counter.
  • I try not to consume alcohol when my allergies at are their worst. Blowing my nose dries me out too much, so it's LOTS cold of water. The cold helps soothe my throat. Popsicles are good too!
  • When I get home, I always wash my hands, then my face, then I shower & wash my hair, all with cool water. All the allergens I've picked up during the day cling to my clothes and hair; that's icky.
  • I change my pillow case & sheets frequently & wash them in warm to hot water to help kill the dust mites. I also don't make the bed. Dust mites like the warm moist air that gets locked under your covers if you make the bed immediately upon rising.
  • I have intentionally not picked plants for our garden that are related to things I know I'm allergic to. i.e. Russian Sage is very pretty, but it's a member of the ragweed family!
  • I've become friends with my Neti pot.
I also have Oral Allergic Syndrome. This causes me to have mouth and throat reactions to fresh foods, such as peaches, that are somehow related to one of my allergens (in the case of peaches, birch trees). I just have to avoid those foods or opt for cooked versions of them instead because the enzymes are broken down.

What do you do for relief?

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Sunday, August 22, 2010


I think I can safely say that the end of the bathroom project is finally here.

Tonight I'm touching up the paint & "the great shower curtain impasse of 2010" came to a conclusion today when Joe found some great fabric.

If I'm on my game, I'll have photos later tonight.

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010


As if life wasn't interesting enough; my mom, who has been fighting pneumonia and asthma now has to have her gallbladder removed! OY!

And I wonder why I don't have energy to finish the bathroom!

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Another funeral

Joe's grandma past away while we were in the car on the way home. We spend the last few days with her in the hospital and we said goodbye this morning, but until the funeral it seems surreal.

In the stairwell of the hospital was this Maya Angelou quote:

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Grandma made everyone who ever ate a meal fixed in her kitchen feel like family.

This morning I thanked her for that and for being a big part of why Joe turned out so well. He's playing a concert tonight, which we know she wouldn't want him to miss.

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

nothing cool to report

We would be finished with the bathroom, but instead we are out of town. Joe's grandma is in the hospital after a stroke and we're with the family. We have spend 2 very long days in the car & the hospital. She isn't in pain, but her body is slowly shutting down. Very similar to my grandfather's passing.

I read a Daily Om post in the hospital meditation room and it really struck a chord. I may have to look into the site further someday...

If you are inclined to do so, please include our family in your thoughts & prayers. Thank you.
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Sunday, July 18, 2010

farmers market

Yesterday, Joe and I discovered the Bloomington Farmers Market. Well, maybe "discovered" is too dramatic. We knew about it and based on the number of cars and people, so did everyone else, but we hadn't been before.
Now, I've been to my fair share of farmers markets in my day, most notably the Minneapolis Farmers Market, which is very big and always makes me think of Barnardo's line in West Side Story, "under the highway" since it's underneath the freeway, but my most fond memories of farmers markets are those that I visited with my Great Grandma when I'd visit her over the summer. She and I would nearly always come home with a couple bunches of glads, honey still on the comb and tomatoes.

So, yesterday, in the stickin' hot weather, Joe and I trekked over to Bloomington. The band he plays in, Medalist Concert Band, was playing and I thought it would be nice to do some shopping before hand.

When it comes to produce, I really like to buy local if I can. This can be really tough in Minnesota since our growing season doesn't allow for things like bananas or oranges and forget about local broccoli in December!

We came home with:
2 pinks of raspberries (one's already gone)
2 bunches of rubarb
1 loaf of blueberry fritter bread (made the best french toast ever!)
a package of cheddar filled Polish sausage
a hamburger strudel (to bake some night when we don't feel like cooking)

While there we ate:
1 fresh made smoothie
2 cashew clusters
samples of bread, olives, corn

Took lots of pictures, helped local farmers/businesses, listened to a great concert and played with puppies!

We're SO going back.

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