Thursday, January 31, 2013

Happy Birthday to Me!

Yep, I'm now officially 26. Just typing that makes me feel old. It's hard to deny being an adult when you're 26.

Anyway, I had a very nice birthday. It was actually very similar to last year's. I took the day off from work and slept in [All birthdays should fall on a weekend, I'm just sayin']. Woke up to a huge breakfast my husband had left for me full of danishes, cinnamon rolls, mini muffins, and juice. Then, some lounging in pajamas until my mom picked me up for a movie.

We'd been talking about seeing the final Twilight movie for months and finally got to cross it off the list. It was funny, though. My mom looked up the move times and actually got the theater wrong. We thought it was really quiet, even though it was a Wednesday morning. We then dashed across town to the correct theater with time to spare.

What do you do when you're the only people at a Wednesday morning matinee? Why, take silly pictures, of course.

Actually, by this point, other people had come in, but why should I care?

I finished out the day with a long run, an even longer shower, a delicious dinner of pizza rolls and birthday cake, and a couple of small presents from Dan.

Most of my birthday celebrating was actually done over the weekend. On Saturday, Dan and I went to Target, a thrift store, lunch at Trail Dust Town with my parents and sister, Trader Joe's, Home Depot, saw "Silver Lining's Playbook", went to the mall, had dinner at Little Anthony's, bought a ceiling fan for the living room from Lowes, and stopped at Culver's for dessert. Busy, busy day.

Sunday, we celebrated with my family. I had control of the remote control (CABLE!!!!!!!) and got to pick where we went for dinner. We fattened up at a Chinese buffet. Then, presents! It was a good year for presents. My dad stopped by our house earlier that morning to take a portrait of us in front of our house and he had it framed. My mom knitted me a scarf and gave me a pretty pink crystal necklace. My sister actually got the artist of 'Cat vs Human' to draw a portrait of our little family (I neeeeeed to take some pictures of it, it's so cute!). I asked Dan for a bag of tools for work and he really came through. I have no reason not to be handy now. That and a copy of "Love Actually", which we watch every year at Christmas time. I actually walked down the aisle to a song from "Love Actually"...

Anyway, good way to start off hopefully another good year!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Best Disappointing Basketball Game

Way back in November, for Dan's birthday, he received a pair of University of Arizona basketball tickets. Since the season hadn't started yet, we waited over two months. We checked the date on the tickets over and over again, just to make sure we didn't space and miss it.

Last week, Dan and I took in a yummy Mexican meal in South Tucson before heading to the game. You know what made the game much more exciting? It was a white out!

Evrybody who's anybody wore white. Except the really cool people in the student section who wore costumes. Like watermelon man. And Gumby.

In spite of the exorbitant school spirit, it had to be almost the worst game I have ever seen. The only time we ever had the lead was in the first seconds of the game when the U of A was fouled and the score was 1-0. I think we were down 17 points at one time.

But we still managed to have fun. Dan can make anything fun. One of the things I love most about him. So, between his attitude and the mini-blimp, it was still a great way to spend an evening.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Cats with Hair

Sometimes, I wonder what my cats would look like with long hair. I don't know why. I just do. In spite of the fact that they're boys, I think my cats could pull off some flowing tresses.

Well, I finally got bored enough to actually see how it would look. No, I didn't purchase tiny wigs. I just put some of their pictures in one of those online hair stylers.

I always pictured Sam with a little bob, kind of like Uma Thurman in "Pulp Fiction". The closest I could come was Katie Holmes.

And for Rusty, I really pictured him some fabulously feathered 70's layers, like Donna from "That 70's show". I settled for some Julia Roberts long layers.

Am I the only one whose brain thinks about things like this?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Best. Prize. EVER!

At trivia last Thursday, I won the email bonus question!

Basically, they email out a question the day of trivia and you're allowed to look up the answer online. You write it down and it kind of becomes a big raffle. Mitch, being the nice guy he is, looks up the answer and shares it every week.

Well, this week, I won! And as I ran through the restaurant like a crazy lady on the "Price is Right" to see what my prize was, I never expected it to be something this cool.

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It's a tote bag made from recycled Japanese grain bags! And it's covered in cartoon marshmallows! The big one is named "Marshall" and the little one on the left is a freaky, little cannibal, toasty a marshmallow on a stick, much to the chagrin of the puppy in the center.

I don't think I've ever been this excited about anything ever.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Project House Update: Guest Room

In a post that's been meaning to happen since before Thanksgiving, we painted the guest room! Actually it's been meaning to happen since roughly March 13th, 2012, when we painted samples on the wall. We actually finished painting the room the night before my in-laws came to stay with us for the holiday. It still smells like new paint, so I can't imagine how much it must have stunk while they slept in it months ago.

Here's what the room looked like before we moved in.

And here's the best before picture I could come up with (I swear I took a bunch of "before"s. How do I always forget?)

It wasn't too bad, but it was like every other room in the house: the walls were beat up and never cleaned up. Also, like the master bedroom, there was the problem of the fixed reading lights over the bed. Additionally, the ceiling fan with a chain was bugging the crap out of my husband.

My husband, being the smart man he is, ran the wire for the fan waaaay back in June when the roof was redone. Then, he patched over the holes where the reading lamps used to be. My one handy job was to spackle and sand because it is my one skill. I can make a patched piece of drywall look invisible. (Sidenote: I don't know if this is how it is all over the country, but in Tucson, ALL drywall is textured. It's not that noticable, but it is a huge pain in the ass when trying to fix up a house. Another step in the drywall process that most people just can't do by themselves.)

Finally, we sanded away the sides of the paint samples and began painting. We chose Behr's "Silver Drop" for the walls and the ceiling is "Polar Bear", like every other ceiling in the house. The results are subtle, but really gorgeous.

Still haven't found the right place to hand my ticket box.
Also, like every room we redo, we installed a new ceiling fan. We really liked this fan, but we couldn't decide if it should go in the guest room or the formal living room. We pulled the trigger and, if we didn't like in the guest room, we could always move it to the living room. While it's a lovely fan, it does not give out much light. Very little light at all. With the bulbs that you are supposed to use for the fan, it was basically pathetic. It barely lit the small bedroom, let alone the much larger living room. Dan was determined so he switched out the fuses for the large ones and then threw in some much brighter bulbs (Sidenote: I'm not recommending you try this at home. Dan is very good electrically, so I trust his judgment on this one. That and I am as determined as he is to make this fan work.) He broke one bulb in the process, but while waiting for the second bulb to arrive from Amazon, one bright bulb is better than the two small, dimmer ones.

While the paint and fan upgrade make the room much more livable, there still a bit to go. Here's what's left to do on this room:
  • Hang curtain rod, curtains, and new blind blades. I've mentioned before how much of a pain the curtains in the master bedroom are being. This room is no different, EXCEPT that we knew it would be before we painted. Dan came up with an alternative solution to cram in curtains: move the blinds down. Before painting the room, he removed the trim around the top of the window. 
  • Then, he notched out a couple of strategically placed groves in the back of the trim for the mounting brackets for the blinds. He left everything off the wall while we painted, then he mounted the blinds brackets lower, reinstalled the trim, and hung up the blinds. 
  • For the moment, we cut a bit off of the bottom of the existing blinds and hung them up. When the mood strikes, we'll go to Home Depot and buy some sparkly clean new ones. Once we're past all of that, we'll tackle curtain rod and curtains.
  • Refinish headboard. We inherited the bed frame and while it works well, it just looks like it belongs in a B & B from the 90's. But I have a plan! Some strategic cutting with a Dremel, some finials, and a good coat of paint.
  • Hang some art. Dan's got a big old world map that I think could work well over the bed. Only problem? It's second hand and the frame is broken. Been broken for 2+ years and has yet to be hung on a wall.
  • Finish turquoise night stand. Waaay back when, I found this end table for $15. I painted it turquoise and it looked great. But now, months later, it's starting to get a bit beat up. So, I've decided to give it a coat of sealer. I'll get to that...someday. That and put Christmas presents away...
  • Refinish half-moon night stand. Another inherited item that has seen better days. I need to figure out how to give it a new top or finish it or something. I like the look of it, but it's been my end table since I was about, oh, 6 years old, and it looks its age.
  • Figure out what to do with the pink love seat and furniture arranging. I will be the first to admit that the room isn't laid out very well. I'd like to find a new chair to replace the pink loveseat (as seen above), another inherited item. Some day, we'll have to figure out a better lay-out so we can fit in things like a dresser and some more storage, but we'll worry about that later. 
That being said, when this room is "finished" it'll feel something like this:

Monday, January 14, 2013

Christmas in Lake Havasu

Yes, it's another Christmas post in January. Suck it up people, my memory is terrible. I'd forgotten that I'd even taken pictures of our holiday in Havasu until I was looking through my pictures for a different post.

After spending Christmas Day at my parent's house, Dan and I packed up the car and headed up to Lake Havasu City, on the Arizona-California border, where Dan's parents' live.

Although this is kind of our yearly tradition, we added something new to the mix this year: a ferry trip across the lake for lunch!

We got on the boat at the bridge, headed across the lake on a very chilly day, and had a warm lunch on the other side at the casino on the reservation. It's actually only my third ride ever on a boat. That's what happens when you're a desert rat!

For those of you who don't know, Lake Havasu's is known for housing the London Bridge. As crazy as it sounds, in the 1970's, a very rich man disassembled the old London Bridge, brick by brick, had it sent across the Atlantic and the majority of the USA, and reassembled in the middle of nowhere. 

Even though I've been to Havasu at least a dozen times, the small town always finds a way to surprise me.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Fan of Friday: Week of 1/11/2013

I know it's January and I'm waaay behind the curve, but I am loving my Christmas presents, still. And because I now apparently have the memory rivaled by a goldfish, I wanted to document them so I may stand a chance of recalling them next year.
  • Orange Blue Dress - from my sister. It's very comfy and switch out the orange tie for a great belt and it looks very professional. Especially with a great pair of boots. Only downside? It's very unforgiving. Correct panties must be worn.
  • Umbrella Shoes - from my Mom. Soooo cute! I got compliments the first time I wore them!
  • Sheer Top - from my mom. I was hoping this would be a little more work appropriate, but everything is appropriate once you throw a cardigan over it, right?
  • Lunch Box - from my sister. It's a really cute thermal tote, not so much a lunch bag. Yellow, gray, and floral. It's nice to have a lunch bag that's not an old Safeway bag.
  • Lovely Earrings - from Dan. So classy and fancy. I really wish I could pull off big earrings better, but I will try damn hard for these.
  • Star Wars Prints - from my sister. Love art. Love these. Just need to find some frames worthy and the proper place in the house.
  • Hand Made Soaps - from my dad. A friend of his makes soap for her daughter and all the women in our family got them. They smell really good, but they're too big for our soap dishes! I'm making it work, but still...
  • "Lord of the Rings" Blueray Box Set and "TinTin" - from Dan. One day (or probably a couple of days), we'll sit down and power through these. I've been reading LOTR for the first time, and every time I finish one, we rewatch the movies and compare. And I just love TinTin.
  • Rachel Ray Casserole Dish - from my in-laws. It always seems like I would fall in love with a recipe, but be lacking the casserole dish. Now that I have one, I can't remember any of the recipes.
  • Bird hanger - from my in-laws. Maybe this will help me lose my keys less, finally!
  • Pearl necklace - from Dan. I looooove this necklace. Want to know my favorite part? The pearl is linked to the chain so it can't get annoyingly twisted.
  • Legos - from Dan. More Star Wars for Christmas because I'm just that awesome.
  • Apron - from my mom. Yes, I will now (hopefully) be cleaner when I cook. And clearly more stylish, too.
Yep, pretty good holiday season for me!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Project House Update: Front Room Colors

Now that we've painted the majority of the easy rooms in the house (One day I'll post pictures of the updated guest room! Promise!), we're starting on the more complicated rooms. The rooms that need more than just paint. The one we determined to be the next easy is our formal living room, also know as the future playroom (waaaaay in the future).

Here are a couple of pictures the room, especially the most difficult feature of the room: the fireplace.

Each wall is a different shade of ugly brown and the fireplace is soooo stereotypical Southwestern that it makes me sad.

Dan and I both agreed that resurfacing the fireplace needed to be priority number one for this room. And in a miracle, we agreed on the type of stone we wanted to cover it in. It's a great blue/gray slate-y tiny rectangular tile that should be easy to wrap around the curvy fireplace (just below the mantel, above the mantel would be painted).

Additionally, with the color of the wood in the room (which we also want to cover the mantel in), I made a color board to see what color we should paint it. I pulled a bunch of colors from Design Seeds and made this! (It's in Paint, but I love Paint, so shut up!)

We decided that our favorites were the peachy tone (bottom center) and the green gray (top rightish). I went to Home Depot with my sister and we picked out five samples that we thought covered the spectrum of possible good colors.

Here they are on two different walls in the room to test it in different light.

Dan and I both agreed that we liked the color of "Silver Sage", the green gray color on the very left. However, it's just a bit too dark. We like "Winter Glaze", the barely-there light green second from the left, but it's just too subtle. And annoyingly, Behr doesn't really offer a color in between the two. Our plan going forward is to mix the two colors until we find a shade we like, paint it on a board, and get Home Depot to match it.

So we now know roughly what color we want the walls and ceiling (the ceiling will be painted white like every ceiling in the house, makes them look taller) and the stone on the fireplace. Now all we need to do is prep the electrical work for the changes we'll need to make to the lighting and we should be good to begin.

Hopefully the room will look something like this, with the sofa we now have in the great room, a new, bright ceiling fan, and the Star Wars prints my sister gave me for Christmas.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Goals for 2013

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Rather than make resolutions for next year, I'm calling them goals. If anything, my one "resolution" for next year will be to get more done. To plan more things that I want to do and actually do them!

After observing the past year, there were a lot of things I wished to do, but either I chickened out, failed to plan ahead, or just didn't prepare properly.

Here's the things I want to do!
  • Complete a 5K Color Run
  • Renovate something in our house, like a bathroom or one of the fireplaces
  • Complete a 10K run
  • Take a vacation, one of the sit-on-the-beach-all-day kind
  • Complete the Saguaro National Park 8 Mile Labor Day Run
  • Attend the Nutcracker Ballet
  • Buy tickets to a cocktail New Year's Eve party
  • Make some more friends
  • Get out of the house more
  • Communicate better
And now for a recap of how I did on my resolutions for 2012:
  1. Be better at communication. Well, since this one's still on my list, I can't claim to have done that great. However, I am better than I was in 2011. C-
  2. Be more positive. While I'm still as positive as I'd like to be, I am better at identifying when I'm being negative and judgmental and I can keep it to myself. B
  3. Shave my legs once a week. Haha, no. D-
  4. Incorporate more vegetables into my diet. Now, in almost everything I cook from scratch, there is at least one serving of vegetables. However, I do need to put more of an effort into cooking more often, choosing the side salad instead of french fries at restaurants, and including more produce in my work lunches. B
  5. Hang out with someone once a week. If you count trivia, then A! Otherwise, I still need to get better at making friends and cultivating my existing friendships. B-
  6. Work out before work once a week. This one was never going to happen. F
  7. Put some effort into every outfit I wear. This one I've probably come the farthest on. I'm much better at dressing myself and looking put together. Simple and classic is better than cheap and "individual". A-
  8. Finish painting the house. We almost finished painting all the "easy" rooms this year. There are still the bathrooms, the front living rooms, the den, and the closets. The difference is that these rooms need more work than just paint. One of my goals for next year is to really start making progress on the more difficult portions of the house.  C
Another year full of small steps in the right direction.