Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Lost Girl's Guide to Oslo

I love that my job sends me to amazing places. Latest to the list? Oslo, Norway! Apparently, our robots are really big in Norway. So, my boss and I headed out on a whirlwind five day repair job. I was exhausted the entire time, mainly due to long hours traveling, jet lag, a tiny hotel bed, and the like five hours of day light, but it was worth it. Oh, and it was really cold, so I was bundled up the whole time. Like, the coldest-day-in-Arizona-winter constantly cold.

I'll get to my pictures in a minute, but here's some of the things I learned that pictures can't explain.
  • If you ever fly into the Oslo airport and take the train into the city, Dramen is not a stop in the city. It's a town about an hour outside Oslo. And definitely don't make the young woman you travelled with drag her luggage around in the rain as she tries to check the map. No, the hotel is not just around the corner. Stop being a male stereotype and just take some directions.
  • Norway is not vegetarian-friendly at all. No, strike that, Norwegian food isn't vegetarian. If you are a vegetarian in Norway, there's plenty of things like pizza to eat, but nothing traditional Scandinavian.
  • If you bring a candle in a glass jar back as a souvenir, pull it out of your luggage at every security check. Security will automatically think it's a jar of honey or something and won't believe you until they see it. 
Our hotel was really nice and about a block from the heart of downtown. Since we didn't have a car, we didn't get to see a lot of sites, but we didn't have a lot of time, so it was ok.

Anyway, picture summary!

Parliament Building. Why don't we get to have gorgeous buildings like this in Tucson?
National Theater, at the opposite end of the park from the Parliament Building.
Cool tented buildings under construction at the university.
The Royal Palace
The Cathedral
Some portly dude immortalized in metal
Best named store ever
Random photo shoot taking place the harbor
Not our hotel, but so pretty and classy

I don't know what this was supposed to be, but I call it "Tin Foil: Uniting"
The Art Museum
Another view of the Art Museum with a Pegasus statue

The Scream
I'm on viking ship (in the history museum)
In the courtyard of the castle

Ordering the cannons to fire on the fools who attack our castle
Foggy view of the harbor from the castle wall
We stumbled onto a tank on the way back to the hotel

I would have never thought that I would have visited Norway in my lifetime, but I'm glad I did. It was an incredible trip and I'd go back in a second if offered the chance.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

This was actually a very busy Thanksgiving for me. Usually, they go like this: wake up late, head over the my parent's house, eat food, sit around and watch TV, and then go home and go to bed. Easy peasy.

This year was different. My mom and I started it bright and early at Reid Park by running the annual Turkey Trot. We'd never run it before, but it's a 5k run consisting of two loops through the park with "obstacles". And by "obstacles", I mean a couple of hay bales and two water hazards.

My mom's friend Rick jumping over the second water hazard
I run with style
The little cutie who distracted people from the fact that I don't actually run with style.
Sweaty post run pic
We finished in 39:05. Not that fast, but a good time for us!

I then returned home to a husband and mother-in-law who were already prepping for a ham lunch. That's what happens when you let your husband choose the menu. Ham on Thanksgiving. Doesn't really matter to me though, does it?

How did I contribute? Styling the main table and the kiddy table. The table cloth isn't wrinkly, it's rustic.

We rounded out the day with some football watching, cat cuddling, and an exciting 9PM trip to Target for some door busters for my sister. Good day.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

How to Pretend to be European

Surprise! I've been traveling again! While it will be a couple of days before I can detail my adventure, but I can say that I've been to Europe again!

I love Europe. And do you know what, to me, is a huge compliment? Someone thinking I'm a native. This time, people thought I was a native on three separate occasions! Three! That's a new record! With a previous record being zero...

The reason I find it to be such a huge compliment is because European women have such a classy, well-defined style, a goal I never seem to be able to achieve.

And since I've finally done it, I'm writing it all freakin' down so I don't forget!

  • Start with a good coat. Classic, warm, and well fitting. This will be the majority of your cold-weather appearance so invest in one great coat that you can style many ways. One of my go-to colors is deep red because it can work with just about any other rich tone. 
  • Same goes for shoes. Classic, warm, comfortable, and water resistant. As much as I love my converse, they aren't warm and they soak up any bit of water like a sponge. Invest in a good pair you can wear just about anywhere.
  • That being said, invest in your clothes. Having one great coat that costs the same as four cheap ones will always be a better decision. The same goes for shoes, especially when it comes to the material. Contemplate styles, colors, materials, etc. long before making any purchases. Do your research and take your time. Split second decisions for crucial pieces can ruin a wardrobe and your wallet.   
  • Skinny jeans in boots can't be beaten.
  • Don't play with too much color or pattern. Know what colors work for you, work well together, and don't be afraid to play it safe. It's better to look classic and boring than hip and bad. Stick with two or three tones (maroon, navy, and chocolate) and keep trends to interchangeable pieces like blouses and scarves, not coats and shoes. 
  • Keep your hair and make up simple. Low buns and messy down styles look better than pony tails and pig tails (my former go-to travel styles). Clean, natural make up with just a thin liquid cat-eye and a great lipstick work wonders.
  • Things missing from this look that I haven't seen many Europeans wear: glasses, graphic tee's and logos, oversized clothing, undersized clothing, backpacks.
That's all I've figured out this time, but it's been a big eye opening experience. It's the first time my wardrobe hasn't been "do as I say, not as I do". I finally feel like I'm starting to get some things right after all the work I've put into it. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

My Concert History

After my post about the Pat Benatar concert, I started thinking about all the concerts I've attended. It hasn't been many, but I've gone to a few. Since I had to strain a few braincells to remember them all, I figured I better write them down before I forget again. 
  • "The Big One": I'll count this one as "my first concert" because it's the first concert I wanted to go to. I was no longer the tag-along to the festivals my parents attended. It was 2001 and I was 14 and now had musical "tastes" of my own, but let's be real, if a 14 year old likes it, it obviously sucks. This concert was a big radio festival, chock full of one-hit wonders. I remembered Smash Mouth, Mandy Moore, Michelle Branch, Tyrese, Five for Fighting, and LFO, but the rest of them I actually had to search out. The rest of the line-up included (and don't worry, I linked their one song to make your life easier so you don't injure your brain, too) Christina Milan, Jennifer Paige, Blu Cantrell, City High, Willa Ford, the K.G.B., Trickside, and Svala. I highly suggest clicking a couple for a flashback. 2001 doesn't seem that long ago for all this music to be this bad. The day was full of drama as most of it was full of freshmen girls following around their naive crushes and everyone trying to seem cool. The concert went on way too long with all of the set changes and most of my memories involve the throbbing pain in my feet, smushed between my two crushes in a sea of people, watching the last two sets of the night: Mandy Moore and Smashmouth.
  • The Go-Go's: My dad got my mom tickets for her birthday a couple of years ago. Wow, I was probably a senior in high school, so more than a few years ago now. Anyway, they were performing at the casino out on the reservation. First of all, it's a hella long drive to get out there. Secondly, almost everyone there had been a fan in the 80's. These women had grown up with the Go-Go's. It was nice to see them so enthusiastic, but my thought at the time was how lame they all looked. No offense to these women, but they couldn't dance and they couldn't see and they couldn't fit into the clothes they wore when they first saw the Go-Go's. Their spirit was great, but it was a good wake-up call to me that it's not healthy to get stuck in the past.
  • Dashboard Confessional: This one is probably my first actual concert. I was a junior in college, I had just gotten out of my first relationship that had lasted way too long, and I wanted to define myself. One of my friends from my summer in Michigan had been a fan and I had always liked their song "Vindicated", so when they came to Phoenix, I bought tickets. I grabbed one of my other newly single friends (Roommate #1 from this story) and we headed up to Phoenix. It was a night of adventure and errors. It was my first time driving myself up to Phoenix, the GPS (the 2007 GPS) kept getting us lost in ASU, which was crazy from a football game and a Ron Paul parade, we didn't have time to grab dinner, it wasn't actually the full band, just the lead singer, and we stood for hours in a cramped club on sticky floors, surrounded by drunk people. On the way back to Tucson, I ended up on the wrong highway (we just have one in Tucson!) and when we finally made it out of town, we stopped at a gas station for the best microwavable burrito I have ever had. But it was a defining moment for me. I tried something on my own and although it went a little wack-a-doo, I survived and it was fun.
  • Swell Season: After seeing "Once", I was really excited when they came to town. Dan and I went and it was a great show. Romantic and very energetic at the same time, but I declared it the last time I will stand for a concert. Maybe it's because I'm secretly really old, but my feet just can't handle standing for hours at concerts. I just can't enjoy the music when all I'm thinking about are my poor feet.
  • Weird Al: This one's a long story, but most of it can be explained by this: my dad became obsessed with getting front row tickets. He doesn't like to go anymore unless he knows he's got a really good view. So, Dan, myself, and my parent went and saw Weird Al. And this happened. 

        Yep, I was harassed by Weird Al in the front row. My mom was, too. Fortunately, I got to
        harass some Star Wars characters from his show afterward and got these pictures. I was
        so happy. For the record, Darth suggested we pose like we were at the prom. 

  • Pat Benatar: You can read all about that one here.
Given how cheap and old I am, there are no new concerts on the horizon. But using history to predict the future, sadly, odds are my parents will be there. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Project House Update: Curtain Plotting

When I debuted our master bedroom revamp, I mentioned how we still needed to find away to fix our window treatments.

It's kind of hard to see in this before picture (I need to get better at 'before' pics), but check out the right-hand side.

The biggest problem we're having is the functionality. Because the window is large and is actually a sliding glass door, we need vertical blinds. While we may need vertical blinds, it doesn't mean they need to be so ugly or that we need to see them.

To pretty them up, we removed the old bisque slats and replaced them with some crisp white ones. Fortunately, Home Depot will cut them to length for you free of charge. Then, we removed all the hardware, taped up the moving pieces, and gave it a good coat of white spray paint. {Sidenote: my best home tip would be to always have a couple of cans of white spray paint around. It's so handy to have.}

See how much prettier they are now?

Even though they are better, they aren't good enough. Our plan has always been to cover the blinds with curtains. Here's where things get tricky. With the height of the ceiling and the height of the window, the vertical blinds basically take up the entire wall. This means that the curtains either need to mount from the ceiling or wider than the blinds. However, with the windows being over 100 inches wide, they'll need support in the middle. This limits our options to ceiling mounts or slim mounts above the blinds.

Secondly, as I mentioned, the window is over 100 inches wide. If I want to actually cover the entire window with curtains (and for full coverage, it'll be closer to 150+ inches), it could easily be over $200. Ouch.

My original plan was to hang non-functional curtains. They would basically be two panels that would always frame the window and simply hide the blinds when they are open. They wouldn't need to cover the full span of the window and would save on cost.

Apparently functioning curtains are really important to my husband. Instead of the full-coverage expensive option, he proposed hanging a double rod. The inner rod would house full, cheap, simple white curtains for privacy purposes and the second rod would hold the decorative panels. The only flaw in this plan is the mounting. Double rod brackets take up much more space than we have to work with.

We haven't made up our minds yet, so any input or ideas would be appreciated.

Almost has tricky as how to mount our curtains is what material I should use to make them. Here are some of my favorites. Simple colors, geometric patterns, nothing too girly. Any stand-outs?

Image Source
Image Source

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Official Trailer

If someone would please PLEASE tell me when I can buy my midnight premiere tickets, I'll be forever grateful.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

It was the best night ever...

...sung to the tune of this.

On Thursday, November 8th, 2012, we finally won trivia night!

Not only won, dominated! We won by 8 points! And were in first the ENTIRE time. Woot! We were perfect in round about household cleaners, prehistoric elements, and TV theme songs.

Been waiting five years for Mitch and me to finally win trivia. And it was the one time my sister actually came along, so she now has to come every time. 

Yay for "Dragons are Dinosaurs that Fly".

Friday, November 9, 2012

Fan of Friday: Week of 11/9/2012

This week, I'm a fan of art.

I know it's kind of an odd thing to be a fan of, but I'm on an art kick.

It's actually kind of an odd way this obsession came around. I was watching a lot of TV and trying to figure out why some of these house sets feel more homey and cozy than my own home. Look at some of these screen shots.

"Mike and Molly"
Interior from "Grimm"
"Big Bang Theory"
My theory? Look how full those walls are! They have so much personality. Why can't my walls have personality, too?

I think my brain is still stuck in teenage mode of "You better not put holes in those walls!" Well, they're my walls now and I want to cover them with stuff.

Now, since I've been collecting for a bit, stuff is starting to pile up. I get indecisive about what should go where until I just snap and hang a bunch of stuff at once. Like the shadowbox that has yet to find a home.

And like this mirror I'd been hunting at Target (this isn't my picture but you can see how they changed it here).

Or this gorgeous James Bond print (you know I love me some Bond) that should be arriving any day now from Joss and Main.

And some that I'm eye-ing.

Just a little jelly
This picture is happiness
The cat looks like Rusty!