Friday, January 30, 2009

Diet Recap: Week 2- Willpower

Another week on my no extraneous spending diet and my "this is easy" enthusiasm from last week is waning. Mainly because I was put to the test A LOT.

The hubs has been looking to replace his black loafers so he came home Wednesday night to say, "Can we go to DSW tonight. I have a hole in my shoe". I gave him a look. Taking me to DSW is like giving meth to an addict. I tried bailing and putting it off, but i finally agreed and off we went.

While he was looking at men's shoes, I headed straight into the devil's lair: THE CLEARANCE SECTION. I tried some shoes on. I went to look at the purses. Nate pointed out an especially cute carry-on (what he calls my lug of a purse). But ladies and any random gentlemen that might be reading: We left without buying one thing.

Then he wanted to check out TJ Maxx and Marshalls. We went to both, he found shoes and a belt and I found a very cute pair of shoes on clearance for $15. I had the shoes on. Hubs even said, "Honey, they're $15. Just get them." BUT...again, I walked out of the store making no purchases!

Then came Target. Luckily, the Target closest to us is closing next week for remodeling and the shelves were empty. It was here that I broke down and purchased the new Bruce Springsteen album for $9.98. I might argue that this isn't extraneous, that Bruce is more of an essential, but we all know that this would me a major rationalization.


We went home after Target. Phew.

The next day, KG came into my office to announce that the Banana Republic outlet was having a fabulous sale and she showed of some uber cute cords she got for $4!! Now if pants are $4, does that count as extraneous??! Luckily, the outlet is a good 30-45 minutes away from our house. BUT...I would be lying if I stopped the story here. Yesterday I needed to travel for work...travel that put me driving by an outlet mall. "Hmm...I wonder if they have a Banana Republic outlet?" I wondered as I drove past. On the way home, I pulled into the outlet mall. No Banana Republic. I can't say that I wouldn't have bought anything if there HAD been one, but I was glad there wasn't!

PHEW. So in total, my extraneous spending since Jan 1 is $9.98. (I don't count my plane ticket to the ATL as extraneous). Not bad! Hubs even congratulated me on my January credit card bill!
Photo Source: onmilwaukee.com

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Closet Love

We have talked about someday remodeling our closets to have lots of organizational fun like California Closets. I think episodes of Newlyweds first sold me on the idea of the ultra closet. (Yes, I am admitting I did watch the show.)




I also love the idea of taking pictures of your shoes and putting them in a rubbermaid, featured in the photo below from Unpretentious Style:


And then there was Nicole's closet, that also is well organized and beautiful:


Ahhh. Sigh.

JG sent me this hilarious link to a Heinekin commercial relating to walk in closets. Hilarious.

Photo Sources: Google Images, Flickr, Unpretentious Style, and Making It Lovely

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Latest Magazine to go Under

No more Domino magazine.

Boo.

I hope their website survives. I was just getting into using the Deco File thing.

Kai and the Coyotes


I was retelling my coyote story from Phoenix to my MIL and her friend last night and lo and behold, a little while later, I was reading my February Runner's World and the I Am a Runner person was none other than Kai Ryssdal!

Apparently coyote sightings while running are all over the place - MD had hers and Kai shared this story:

"A couple of years ago, i was running in the hills near Dodger Stadium. I was on mile four of seven when nature called. I ducked into the bushes - and saw a pair of coyotes. They looked at me. I looked at them. Finally, I finished, backed out slowly and off I ran."

I will have to share this with my dad, who is still making fun of me for being scared!

Photo Source: Runner's World

The color makeover

Well, if you didn't think I was neurotic before, this might seal the deal.

For a while now, I have been admiring pictures on other blogs that arranged the books on their bookshelves by color. Apartment Therapy had several posts on the subject and Casa Sugar featured this lovely shelf:
. Heck, even Oprah does this with her library.

Here is what our shelves did look like, before I did the color makeover:


And post color makeover:


The bottom two shelves of the middle unit were left alone as those are our cookbooks and reference books. Although the majority were white or black, I was surprised at how many colors we actually have!

The red shelf:


The yellow/orange shelf:

Surprisingly, I didn't have any random leftovers, with the exception of White Teeth, which I tried to get rid of already!

I would definitely pass this along as one of the easiest makeovers that I have tackled.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Martha Martha

I have Apartment Therapy on my blog reader, but honestly do not read it that often b/c they have like 100 posts a day or something crazy. Today however, I happened to glance at a few posts and voila! A solution to a small problem was born!

We have the Valencia bed from Pottery Barn in our bedroom. This bed is NOT conducive to a bedskirt so you can see our ugly boxspring when the bed is not made (which is most often the case). Even if the bed is made, you have to pull down the blanket to cover the box spring, as shown in this pic:


One of today's AT posts suggests (via Martha Stewart) to use a fitted sheet to cover the box spring in lieu of a bed skirt. Genius and so simple that I'm ashamed I didn't think of it myself.

There are probably tons of people out there already doing this, but I am on the hunt for a fun patterned fitted sheet to complement our bedroom! And given that I'm on the no extraneous spending diet, the first place i'm going to "shop" is our linen closet!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Baby Quilt #2


I did nothing with the house this weekend, or nothing in WI for that matter as I traveled to the ATL for the baby shower of the year. I attempted to make the puffy quilt again for C&F's baby girl-to-be. The process went better the second time around, as I learned some things in creating #1 for Mee-layz.

Here are the changes I made with #2:
-I pinned all the squares in the middle to have the pleats exactly in the middle of all four sides. This made it much easier to sew, but took a little bit longer to pin all 35 squares.

-I sewed on all the front borders BEFORE I stuffed the middle squares. I did not do this the first time and my sis had to perform CPR on the quilt.

-Nate actually made sewing the backs of the little puffs much easier by his sewing technique of doubling the thread, tieing a knot and then making your first stitch go through the middle of the loop. This probably is sewing 101, but it made it much easier and quicker to sew the backs of the puffs closed.

I am happy with how it turned out, but maybe by #3 I will perfect the edging sewing.

The directions are from a family circle issue circa 1984 but are posted here if you want to attempt your own at home.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Diet Recap: Week 1 - THE PURGE

Simple Lovely has listed a group of bloggers that are on the no extraneous spending diet, including myself. So every Friday you will have the pleasure of reading how I am doing with my "diet".

My diet really grew out of the fact that i have more than enough shoes, clothes, accessories, makeup, hair products etc. In fact, I have things hanging in my closet with tags still on from YEARS ago. I totally get sucked into the mindset of "this is on clearance and I'll probably wear it someday". NOT GOOD. Add to it that our closets were bulging to the extreme with stuff that we, ahem, I, did not even know existed. I really hate throwing things away (ok, yes, i am a packrat), so Goodwill and family members have received more than a few donations in the past month! In fact, the majority of times we saw my brother in the month of December he was wearing one of Nate's old shirts! ha ha ha. I myself have yet to go through my shoes, handbags and clothes as I do not feel brave enough to do this!

As Sherry from This Young House posted, you begin to feel a lot lighter when you pare down!

Here are some things to do with any of your stuff, should you decide to do a purge:

1. One man's junk is another man's treasure. We usually put together a big bag of stuff for goodwill and let family members dig through it. The shampoo that I couldn't stand was my sister's favorite. Nate's old high school tshirts were "vintage cool" to his cousin. We rarely rarely rarely throw things away this way. I have also heard of people doing parties where each person comes with their bag of stuff and you can swap for others.

2. Same goes for magazines and books. A while ago, I emailed a list of magazines I get to some friends and had them sign up to which ones they would want after I was done with them. I then take those that no one wants to the Y when we go work out. Many libraries will also take old magazines and/or books. If I am traveling I will leave them on the chair or with the flight attendant. I LOVE finding old books and magazines that people have left behind.

3. Try selling it or giving it away on Craigslist! This is particularly nice if you have something rather large that you don't want to move (like our really old boxy tv).

4. Take old athletic shoes to a local running store that turns them into high school tracks. Or mail them to one of the organizations featured here.

6. Our church regularly collects things as well. We have donated gently used winter coats, hats, mittens and sample sized toiletries through collections at church.

In terms of new purchases, my diet has been going well (read: I haven't bought anything extraneous). I WAS tempted by the millions of JCrew emails I received screaming "20% off final sale" (especially when a coworker told me about the cute jacket she bought). Now I open my email and delete any store-related email without even looking at it. Then I open the trash and REALLY delete it.

My main weakness is Target. I know exactly where all of the clearance spots are in Target and my sister and I will regularly go shop the Clearance. After organizing the office closet, I came to the realization that I really do not need any more stationary, stickers, scrapbook supplies or anything along those lines. I do not need anymore clearance lipsticks or shampoos or nail polishes. The only time I have been to Target in the last month, Nate went with me and we strictly went to buy Rubbermaid to organize my fabric. No detours through clothes, cards, beauty products, etc.

Stay tuned for Week 2!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Dwight Schrute Approved

I think I made my husband the happiest man in the world last night - I cleaned and organized the mess we called the office!



So the office has a bed in it, which has been used twice. (When my goddaughter, Liz, comes to visit, she loves this bed). It ends up being a storage place for lots of things - cards, fabric, pictures, mail, you name it.

I actually didn't throw a lot of stuff away - rather organized it using the tubs we bought at Target last weekend.

The labelmaker my fairy godmother bought me years ago also came in handy when it came to the sewing/craft side of the closet:

And our room is back to its lovely self:


If you do not have one of those labelmakers, GET ONE. I use mine all of the time!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Book It: Goodreads



Ok - no book to give away here, but I did want to give a shout out to the website Goodreads. Goodreads allows you to maintain an online list of books you have read and books you want to read. You can then rate books from 1-5 stars and provide a written review if you want.

The other cool thing about this site is that you can link to your friends' profiles and see what they are reading and what books they rated highly, etc. I used to have a paper list of books to read and now am a convert!

Bathroom Remodel

Yes, I know we technically haven't finished our kitchen remodel. But I'm going to lay the groundwork for our ideas surrounding our upstairs bathroom remodel.

Using my fine architectural drafting skills that I used in the past to do floor plans for our house, I created this image of our current situation.


You can see "real" images of this bathroom here.

Upon moving in, all we did is paint and remove this awful curtain:


Functionally, the bathroom may look like a full bath, but as you can see in the above picture, the shower is not tiled or anything that would render it waterproof - it is just drywalled. And there is a window in the shower surrounded by untreated wood. Thus, we use the toilet in this bathroom and it serves as the hair and makeup area for me in the morning. We go downstairs to shower.

What we would like to do is take down the wall between the bathroom and the guest bedroom closet and enlarge this bathroom. Again, using those design skills, I made this image:


"But what about the guest room closet?"

The guest room closet is very large, indeed. Larger than any guest would ever need, and also larger than any child would ever need as well (which is who the room will eventually serve). There is an alcove area of the guest room that currently has a dresser in it that would be turned into a nice-sized closet if the above comes to fruition.

So those are our bathroom related thoughts. Now, we probably should finish up that kitchen!!

Book It: The Girls Guide to Hunting & Fishing

Ok, so there were no takers on White Teeth. Looks like our local Literacy Services will be getting a donation.

So...how about this one?



Another "oldie". The Girls Guide to Hunting & Fishing. Leave a comment if you would like me to send it to you!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

1.20.09

What a historic day! To celebrate, why not "Obama-i-con" yourself?


Those of you who get Daily Candy in your inboxes will know that this was the featured thing today, which is how I found out about it. I may be doing this all day long! ha ha ha.

Check it out here.

Today also is a little sad for me. It would have been my grandfather's 77th birthday, and is the one month anniversary of his death.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Recycle Me Pretty Big Mess

Take 1


Take 2


I rearranged some of the items on our shelves in the living room. They were getting a little overcrowded with photos, so I limited it to one photo per shelf and then put the bottles with the flowers on each end. I really like how it looks, but they are not really shining through via my crappy photography skillz.

The bottles did contain the 365 Whole Foods Blueberry Pomegranite knock offs of Izze sodas. We washed them and then put flowers from the H-Clan that we dried. I would like to put fancy paper around the bottles to cover up where the previous labels were. But first, I would have to locate said paper in this mess:



Yes, the husband DROVE ME TO TARGET to buy rubbermaid tubs to get a handle on this room. That is when you know it is bad!

And there you have it...a story about "recycle me pretty" and then a "pretty big mess" a la Wheel of Fortune style.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

SPAAAAHHHHH



AHHHH. I just got back from the spa. You may recall that I won a gift card in December only to be used on spa services. Well I decided to blow the whole thing on the spa's signature treatment since I would NEVER spend my own money on something like this. But now I'm starting to wonder if maybe I should?!

First I had to change into a plush white robe and slippers. Then I sat in this comfy chair while my feet soaked in some Caribbean Therapy bath soak. The therapist then exfoliated my feet using the Caribben Therapy scrub.

After that I had to smell a bunch of essential oils that would complement the CT scent and pick my favorite. Then I moved into the massage room where I laid on my stomach and she exfoliated/massaged the back part of my entire body with this mitten things. Following that she put a seaweed masque on and covered me with warm towels. She used the warm towels to wipe the masque off and then massaged me with warm CT lotion.

FLIP!

She repeated this on my front side, BUT after applying the masque and warm towels she zipped this steam canopy over my whole body (except my head) and i laid in this warm yummy smelling steam for about 20 minutes while she put ice cold compresses on my face and did a pressure point massage on my face.

After the steam canopy, she wiped the masque off and followed with a massage with the warm CT lotion.

THEN...she used the essential oil to give me a scalp massage. Stretched out all of my limbs and I was set.

WHAT?! You want me to move now?! It was heavenly and perfect thing to warm up after the bout of extreme cold weather we have had.

Imagine That


So this is me and my niece, Toni. If you have been reading my blog for a long time, you will recognize her since she makes appearances every now and then.

Occasionally we take Toni for a weekend. Call it practicing for the real thing or free babysitting, but we do love having her. It is more fun now that she is fast approaching 3 and she can talk, and express interest in things (particularly dogs and cooking).

She will be spending my birthday weekend with us in about a month. One thing her mom "warned" me about is that she now has an imaginary friend. I was PUMPED b/c I too had imaginary friends. My sister is convinced that maybe I still do, ha ha ha.

My mom found this interesting article. Apparently all the cool kids have imaginary friends - did you?

Friday, January 16, 2009

I'm Not an Addict

Last week Chasing Imperfection tagged me to list 5 addictions/obsessions. While you might think from this blog that stoves and cars are addictions, i would beg to differ.

1. Coffee. YUM. I have thought of possibly patenting the Coffee IV drip system but that would not include one of my favorite parts about coffee: the taste. The bolder the better.

2. Planners/Lists. I love them. I love writing things down and crossing them off but I also love all the different kinds of pretty paper and planners. My sister got me this fun one for Christmas.

3. Cookbooks. I have tons of them, and I love reading them. I know, who READS cookbooks. Currently I am reading a Christmas gift, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. It's a good one!

4. Magazines. I probably have mentioned this one before. I was really working on getting my number of subscriptions down. You know you have a problem when your maid of honor brings up the number of magazine subscriptions you have in her speech at your wedding. It saddens me that so many magazines have gone/are going under. I mean, I love blogs, but they do not compare to magazines.

5. My new Sigg water bottle. For shiz, I have probably tripled my daily water intake since getting one of these. Why? I have no idea, but I love it.

Ok, that was sort of a random list. Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Book It: White Teeth by Zadie Smith



It's about time I got around to reading this. It's only been on my shelf for about 2years.

If you would like to read this book, leave a comment. If there is more than one person, i'll use the random number generator to choose who I will send it to.

Click here to read the amazon synopsis and reader reviews. I gave this 3.5-4 stars out of 5, although I liked her second book, On Beauty, much better.

Thanks!

Thank you to everyone for your comments about the stove/oven. It confirmed my thoughts all along until that HD woman made me second guess everything.

Unfortunately MD, we will not be going with the separate range and ovens. This would have had to have been thought about LONG before we were at this stage of the kitchen remodel b/c the countertops are already in. Maybe in house #2 though!

It looks like we will be holding off on the oven purchase until around March or April, as we will need to build up our savings account a little more after Monday evening's big purchase! (Which, by the way, I am LOVING!)I guess I have lived with the crappy glass top stove for this long, i can suck it up for a few more months.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Home on the Range

Along with car shopping last weekend, we also went shopping for a stove/oven. We went to Home Depot with our gift cards and Christmas cash, thinking we knew the exact one to buy. Turns out that we should have invested much more research into a stove/oven as we did the car.

Us: "Hi, We're here to buy this stove"

HD Woman: "Ok, well why don't you tell me why you picked this particular one."

Us: "Well, this is the same line of the rest of appliances we (slowly but surely) have purchased for the kitchen and I want a gas range."

HD: "Ok, well do you have the gas line and valve hookup".

Us: "We have a pipe coming out of the ground with a cap on it."

HD: "You will need to install a valve and a hose for the range. Our guys will not do that".

{Transfers us to HD Man in Plumbing, who is great and tells us what is needed in stepwise instructions.}

Back to the stove:

HD Woman: "So, I know you want a gas range but gas is terrible for baking. Have you considered the glass top electric?"

Us (or rather, me): "No. We currently have the glass top electric and I hate it. Are there stoves with gas ranges and electric ovens"?

HD Woman: Yes but they are millions of dollars and do not come in the faux stainless stuff you picked out.

ARGH! So now what? The range with faux stainless steel comes in 3 models, the most expensive of which you can get the gas range and something called a Tru Temp oven which helps to regulate the temperature that gas apparently is so bad for in an oven. Most people I have surveyed have said to definitely go with the gas range and that it doesn't make that much difference for the oven.

Anyone who cares to weigh in on this subject, please comment!

Unfortunately we do not have a large enough kitchen to have the countertop range and separate oven (which CLEARLY this is why people have these, other than the fact that they look cool). And we need to go with one of these three options:

All gas, All electric or the gas range with the true temp oven. I am heavily favoring #3.

Also, I am thinking that we definitely want the self cleaning oven...true?

Needless to say, we left Home Depot without making a purchase. And now, it will likely be a few months until we make this purchase because of the big car deal.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

RIP '98 VW Golf

First let me say that the surprise is not a baby. Sorry MD and mom! The surprise is that last night we bought a car, which some of you, including MD, did guess. It doesn't help that if you saw me or emailed with me yesterday, you already knew the surprise because I was too excited.

So this is our new ride: The Nissan Murano


As I posted last week, we had thought that the Rogue was going to be it. Then we test drove and checked out this Murano and that was it! SOLD! Ok, not really. We still had to go back and forth all weekend as to whether we were going to seal the deal.

We get to pick it up tonight and turn over a year and a half of saving. Sigh.

Although we are excited about our new ride, I think the hubs is slightly sad to be getting rid of his Golf. I wish I had the picture of him when he first got the Golf, his first car, junior year of college. He was reminiscing that this was the car that took us on our first date, took him to his first real job, moved him to the ATL, moved him back to WI, drove him back and forth to Chicago several times to visit me, took him to our wedding, etc. So I took his picture with it this morning:


Goodbye V-dubs. You've been good to us!

P.S. Notice how the salt and snow makes your car look - GROSS!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Organize Surprise

What a weekend. Because I don't want to jinx ourselves, I can't tell you about the most exciting part of the weekend until tomorrow. So I'll placate you with discussion on organization, ha!

It all started with a craigslist TV. We had an old tv that was really clunky and we didn't use it. It has been in our basement since we moved in a year and a half ago. Sitting. Rotting. Taking up space. All because we were too lazy to move it from the basement to a car to take it to goodwill. I put a FREE TV ad on Craigslist and within 5 minutes had 3 takers. The tv was gone Friday night.

Wow. What else do we have lurking around our house that we could get rid of? We had a goodwill box going so we loaded that into the car and took it away. I went through my makeup caboodles (yes, I did say caboodle and pluralized it) and got rid of 95% of it! ME! Ms. Packrat USA and product/makeup whore!

Well, Nate-O capitalized on me in this strange mood and we tackled the filing cabinet, half of the office closet and the linen closet. More bags for goodwill and makeup for dress up for my little cousins!

We have yet to tackle the clothes closets and my fabric/crafting half of the office closet. I don't know if I will be as good with getting rid of the clothes and shoes, although I did get rid of 3 pairs of shoes yesterday. "Hurry - take them away and put them in the goodwill box before I change my mind" was my exact sentence. Check out a lovely closet organization here.

Along with tomorrow's surprise and all of this organization is a pledge for NO NEW STUFF. I have been reading about a lot of other people that are doing this for a certain amount of time. My MIL is doing it for 3 months. Along with no clothes, shoes, etc, we are trying not to buy any products until the ones in our closet and the free samples are gone. Phew. Here's hoping...

Friday, January 9, 2009

Simple Home Makeovers You Can Accomplish in One Day


This was the title of the Martha Stewart Living email newsletter I received earlier this week.

In the list of "simple home makeovers" was "paint cabinets to give your kitchen a whole new look".

Apparently Martha did not read our blog in which this "simple task" took us oh, four months. But who is counting...

Kitchen picture from A Life's Design

Rogue



The Nissan Rogue is our front runner, folks. In the dark slate/grey color you see pictured above. We may have come across a used one, in great condition, low mileage for a great price...in the color we want! I will have more details after this weekend, but the new car purchase may be moved up higher on the list!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

City Girl Meets Coyote

I am back home to WI. Although my father is still making fun of me for this story that I emailed him yesterday, I felt it may be good to share the laugh.

I had wanted to experience one of Phoenix's parks before I left so yesterday morning, I got up at 5:45 and caught a bus to South Mountain park, the nation's largest urban park, mainly b/c it was the closest one accessible to public transportation. I had to ride a bus as far south as the route went and then walk 1/2mile to the park's entrance.

Admittedly it was pretty early but from the website reviews that I had read, the park gets pretty busy, even though it is HUGE.

As i walked along the road to get to the park, the smell of horses in the air, I did not see a single person. In addition to complaints that the park sometimes got too busy, the website stated to watch out for coyotes and rattlesnakes. Yeah. The nation's largest urban park. Like i'm going to have a problem with that. We had the same warning in Austin, Texas at the wildflower center and saw nothing.


I began walking one of the trails. Still no people. Not even attendants at the park's entrance. Although this is an "urban park" it is ENORMOUS and you really feel like you are in the middle of this beautiful mountainous desert region. I was walking along the trail, watching the sun come up and taking some pictures when I kid you not a coyote walked across the trail in front of me. HOLY SH*#. My adrenaline kicked in and I was thinking "now what? do coyote's eat people? is it going to come after me? should i try to stay quiet or make a lot of noise?" to my knowledge, Baer Gryls did not cover this in his man vs wild show! And really to be honest, the most i had heard of coyote's were from my 2 1/2 year old niece, who wanted to eat one at dairy queen.

I turned around and BOOKED it back toward where I came from. STILL no people! I turned around and there was my coyote..watching me walk away.

Obviously i made it out of the park fine without a coyote attack, but i was happy to return to the urban portion of the city! Turns out, I really had nothing to worry about, although I'm sure my family will be making funny of me for years to come with this one.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Away From Her

The conference/meeting I am at here in Phoenix is very overwhelming and long. It gets to be the end of the day and I am zonked, wanting my big, white linen-ed bed and the tv remote. I watched this movie the other day, based in part on this story by Alice Munro. I have wanted to see it for awhile, given that I have been a Julie Christie fan since her Dr. Zhivago days. The movie was fantastic, and a tear jerker. It made me miss my hubby even more!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Live from Phoenix

Hello from Phoenix! I am here for a work meeting. I had hoped to get to some hiking on Sunday, but of course the one day that I am here and not consumed with work-related things it rained. ARGH.

Before I departed, we got some house things crossed off the list. Nate focused on cutting, staining and installing a quarterround at the bottom of our staircase and replaced a heating vent cover in our bedroom. I have pictures, but alas, I did not bring the camera cord with me to AZ.

We also had to take down the Christmas tree as this week was the week slated by our department of public works to collect them. It is always a bit sad taking down all of the decorations, although we do have a clear view of the television now that our behemouth of a tree is gone.

We continued shopping for a smaller sectional for our living room. Why is it that all furniture seems to be made for huge houses? Basically our two options are still too big for the room that we have so I think we will be shopping for a loveseat and a sofa rather than one big sectional. I am actually excited about this, because there are many more options with this combo than there are in the "small sectional" category. So back to the drawing board with new living room furniture.

AND...to top off a Saturday of house-related fun, we test drove a car! We had to laugh because we test drove a base model which still had way more features than either of our cars. I guess anything is an upgrade for us at this point! No purchases were made, but I'll keep you "posted". Ha. Pardon the pun...I am cracking myself up after a day of meetings.

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Year's Resolutions Part 2: The House

MD pointed out that my list does not include any house related items. True. This is mostly b/c we sort of let the house and how we are feeling dictate what we do to it. This is probably why things take us so long, but I like working on the house when I feel like it and taking breaks when i can't even look at paintbrushes or tools. HOWEVER, I would be thrilled if the following happens in 2009 with the house:

1. The kitchen gets finished...see previous posts in the "Kitchen label".

2. We replace all of the heat vent covers. I think we have five or less left.

3. We figure out what the bathroom upstairs will become. I think it may be ambitious for us to think the entire bathroom would be finished by the end of the year, but I would like to come up with a finalized plan and START the bathroom remodel by the end of the year. Oh, and figure how how much that is going to cost us!

4. Do a better job landscaping. There is a lot with the landscaping that I would love to do, but perhaps actually planting some flowers this year would be a good start!

5. Get the piano moved from my in-laws to our house. We have been talking about this for a while. Time to take action!

And there you have it...our mediocre house goals 2009!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

As promised, here is my list of things I would like to accomplish in 2009, in no particular order:

1. Start logging my running miles. WHAT?! I don't already do this?! It is surprising to my own neurotic self that I am not already doing this. I log miles when I train for marathons, but don't carry that over to non-marathon training. I was inspired by the 2009 running log I got for renewing my Runner's World subscription and am going to try to log them this year.

2. Do a triathlon. Nate & I talked about doing this after my fall 2008 marathon and it seems like something I would like to try, even though my swimming is still subpar.

3. Clean and organize our closets and get rid of at least a quarter of my clothes and shoes. I may be calling people to help me with this as I am notorious for thinking, "I'll wear that again" and then never do.

4. Read 30 books. Although I probably wasn't religious about tracking this in 2008, by my Good Reads list I read 25 books in 2008. This seems like a dismal amount to me although I am getting much better at carving out time to read - it was much easier for me to zip through books while living in Chicago as i could read several hours a day on the train.

5. Retry making the Lemon Meringue Pie. I also would like to try making more meat selections and perfect a couple of recipes from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, which I received for Christmas.

6. Send 52 letters/cards to friends/family instead of email. I used to do this a lot and LOVE when I get these in my own mailbox. I will admit that I didn't come up with this on my own - I recall AH's mom, Anne, doing this at one time.

7. Learn to knit. I tried learning this from my sis a few years ago and it didn't stick. My mother in law and I may take a class from Hartford's new knitting shop.

8. Make the skirt on the cover of Stitch magazine (pictured below).

I really would like to branch out and continue making clothes...but my hideous bathrobe scared me!

9. VACATION! Each year we have managed to go on a fabulous vacation and I hope the same will continue for 2009 - Europe perhaps?