February 2011


This weekend was weird. It was the kind of weekend where I got to the gym for my second day back at running post-surgery, realized I didn’t have my Body-Glide (otherwise my fat sweaty thighs rub together and it HURTS), and I about had a Hulk moment right there in the locker room.

It was the kind of weekend where everything seemed to take me forever- I’ve been doing the same two loads of laundry since Friday night, I swear I spent 30 minutes unloading the dishwasher, and I didn’t remember to brush my teeth until like 2pm on Friday.

As I saw my weekend-end fast approaching, I just got more discouraged. (You know when you know you’re being a baby for no reason, and then that fact makes you even more sad and pathetic, so you’re even more of a baby?) It seemed like every item on my to-do list required two people, or one person + an electrician, or one person + a Stan + an electrician… and being the disorganized person I am, I hadn’t figured out a time when Stan the Man and his dad could come over to finish those projects, so I was at a stalemate.

But then I remembered that there was a project that needed doing, but was low on the list, but was the only one I could think of to start on all by myself! And was not weather dependent! Painting the second bedroom- aka the music/sewing/craft/bike/cat/dog room.

I knew that the color in the second bedroom was kind of a challenge, because it has only one tree-shaded north-facing window. That = dark. I knew that Maria Killam and other experts recommended not trying to fight a room’s natural lighting by going with too light a color, but I just hadn’t landed on which “dark” color to pick yet.

I’m nothing if not a shameless copycat, so I totally copycatted some of my favorite dark blue colors. Of all those linked, I chose Plumage by Martha Stewart, but only because I neglected to write down the formula for Reflecting Pool that Sara so awesomeley provided, and Home Depot doesn’t have Ralph Lauren colors. Yes, that really is how decisions are made around here.

On to the fun part. I moved all the crapola to the middle of the room…

And then I cut in around the edges instead of taping which took for-ev-er. However, by the end of it I was getting the hang of it and I think I may never tape again. Maybe.

Oh! And by the way I decided to give the Behr paint+primer a go, since it’s such a dark color and I’m lazy. It worked awesome! Really good coverage. I put on two full coats, but if I’d been more diligent with the first coat, I probably could have gotten away with just spot fill-ins the second time around. TWO COATS! For a color that dark! I’m sold.

Unfortunately, you guys don’t get to see an “after” yet, because I finished at 12:15am and the lighting just doesn’t do it justice at that hour, ya know?

In other news, I finally put the last coat of poly on that TV table I built forever ago.

I guess I should explain the title of the post- after so much laying around, and a vacation to Moab (which was awesome) I was feeling seriously behind and stagnant and grumpy. I needed a big project like this that I could tackle on my own while Stan was skiing. Since I managed to finish it in a day, I’d say I got a fair amount of self-esteem out of that can of paint!

PS- Does anyone have any suggestions for a cheap but cool light fixture? The boob has got to go.

You guys have seen glimpses of my guest/sewing/craft/dog/cat/bike/music room, but it is forever a work in progress. Back in December, the first order of business was getting rid of this monstrosity:

Be a friend and don’t judge me for that pile of crap in the corner. I’m working on it.

I’d like to issue a sincere public apology if you’ve ever stayed at my house and slept on this thing. It’s super uncomfortable. When I sit on it, my butt falls asleep after like three seconds. It tricks you, because when you first sit/lie on it it feels cushy and bouncy, but the reality is that if you weigh more than Keira Knightly, you sink down to an unpleasant layer of what I can only assume is concrete. Sorry guys (all two or three of you). So this thing got the craigslist boot (another apology to the poor sucker who bought this).

When I got the offer from CSN to do another review, I was pumped (such an awesome pun for this review). I resisted the urge to spend my money on something “fun” and instead invested in the Pure Comfort  Queen “Raised” Flock Top Air Bed. I’d seen displays of raised air beds in Costco (and been pushed onto them in the middle of the store by Stan- not in that way, just in a fun joking “I’m going to push you onto this bed and keep walking” sort of way). From those experiences, I had high hopes for the comfort of a raised air bed.

Raised = way better than not raised. Have you ever slept on a regular-sized air mattress that deflates halfway through the night? And your back and bum end up on the floor and your head and feet are up in the air? It sucks huh! Well my thinking with a raised one was that even if it partially deflates, you won’t end up with your bum on a hard floor- you’ll just end up generally a little lower (although admittedly probably still in the bum-down-limbs-up position). Was I right? Read on to find out!

I was pleased that it came with a pump. I’m a fainter (probably ’cause I’m so dainty) so me + repeatedly breathing large puffs of air into pressurized objects = faintage. So while I was pumped (tee hee) that it came with a pump, guys, that pump is LOUD. In-yo-face loud. Wear ear muffs loud.

But it beats the poop out of blowing it up by hand… er, by mouth.

That’s a lot of air in there! PS it inflates in about four minutes with the pump.

With sheets and blankets and pillows (is that what fancy people refer to as “linens”?), it looks pretty much like a normal bed.

Yes, that’s about the best I can do at making a bed- thanks for asking.

And it pretty much feels like a normal bed too! I’m happy to report that throughout the night, I never once ended up in bum-down-limbs-up position, and I slept really well! It held air like a champ. Although if I were going to sleep on it for multiple days, I would probably top off the air before bed every night (but don’t wait till people are sleeping or they will wonder why there is a shrieking tornado in the next room).

Since I keep my house cold at night, the air in the air bed got really cold too. I would recommend putting a blanket or two under the fitted sheet.

It has this extra border around the sides to keep you from rolling off, and it worked really well. I didn’t even have any of those dreams where you think you’re falling (okay, maybe that can’t quite be attributed to the air bed).

Since this room functions as a guest room about 1% of the time and a music/sewing/craft/dog/cat/bike room the rest of the time, I took a clue from Yellow Brick Home and ditched the piece of furniture devoted almost solely to guests (that sucked hardcore anyway). This air mattress is way better (come visit me guys!) and takes up way less space, and is really easy and fast to set up.

Overall I’m happy with the purchase. Maybe someday I’ll have a bona fide Guest Room with a real bed and an empty dresser and a carafe/glass set on the side table and empty wooden hangers in the closet but until then, my houseguests will get to enjoy this puppy. (Come visit me!)

http://www.stylishhome.com/Design/Style-Maker-Quiz#

Results: You most resemble a “Unmade Bed”.

Details…

Details of craftsmanship with natural materials surround you. Your kitchen is your prize. Decorative, finished… elegant. A fantasy, the bedroom combines an invigorating mix of styles. Musical lyrics bring to mind life’s extraordinary events. Your relaxed table atmosphere is enjoyed by everyone. “Beer is proof that God loves us” Pre-war, upper east side attitude. Stand tall in the saddle… it’s a short ride home..

Suspected “Unmade Bed”

– Woody Allen
– Bob Dylan
– Tina Fey

Tina Fey, huh? I definitely would have said Liz Lemon, but I’ll take Tina.

Workin' on my night cheese!

Anyhoo, you guys should take that quiz if you want to find out what your style is. I found it to be life-changing. (Almost. Not really.)

And you should also have a fantastic long weekend.

I’ll be doing a little of this…

And probably some sitting around due to the fact that my leetle scars aren’t fully healed yet. Peace out!

I’m not kidding. Nearly (pause) three (pause) years…(final pause).


I started this quilt for my friend Kristin the way I start most of my projects- full of enthusiasm and raring to go. Unfortunately –as with most of my projects– my enthusiasm dwindled a bit after a while. The quilt pieces moved houses with me, and lived in a box labeled “Butterfly quilt” for far too long. I have had a picture on my camera for two years of how I wanted the blocks arranged. Every time I turned on my camera, there was the picture of the disassembled quilt, reminding me of my failure as a human being.

<picture of disassembled quilt that I’m not really going to show you>

But two weeks ago, the weekend before Kristin’s birthday was approaching, I said to myself “Self! Get your butt in gear and finish this quilt this weekend in time for Kristin’s birthday!” And then I got appendicitis.

Never fear. When have I ever been too embarrassed to give a late birthday present? So the next weekend, feeling an appendix-worth lighter, I whipped that baby into shape.

I sent this picture to my mom, who had helped me start the quilt, as proof that it was finished.

I have to credit Erin and her beautiful baby quilt for giving me the idea of backing it with fleece. I guess I’d never thought to back a cotton quilt with fleece, but why not? The fleece is not too stretchy, and it’s warm and cozy, plus it eliminates the need for batting (if you want it for just a TV-watching throw, like I did). Hers is quilted and mine is tied, but it’s not a competition, right? 🙂

So anyway, Kristin, whether you believe me or not, I really did have the best of intentions as far as finishing it in time for Birthday 2011. (And yes, if I hadn’t procrastinated so much, getting appendicitis wouldn’t have mattered. But give me a break- you know how I am.) The amount of time it took me to finish this is directly disproportionate to how much I love you! Happy late Birthday and welcome to 26!

Food. One of the BIG 3 in the trifecta of things that make your wedding budget skyrocket- along with venue and photographer. But it’s important, right? People are flying (and driving) in from miles and miles away to wish us well on our big day, so I feel like the least I can do is offer to fill their bellies with deliciousness.

However. The budget has already crept up higher than we’d originally planned (we’ll be okay, don’t worry), so we need to keep the cost minimal. Our wedding can’t start until 7pm since Cactus and Tropicals is first and foremost a store that doesn’t close until 6pm. So for a while I was thinking that by the time the reception started at 7:30 or 7:45 or so, that was late enough to just do hors d’oeuvres. And we’re still kind of going back and forth on this. They cost less than a full meal, of course (even with fancier ones from a few Italian import stores around here), but I really kinda really want to be able to feed people dinner.

So the other main option we’ve been considering is to get a local favorite, Cafe Rio, to do the catering for us. They offer a taco package (two tacos per person with handmade tortillas, rice, beans, chips and salsa, salad, and two different desserts) for $8.95 per person. You can add another $2 per person if you want them to come and serve the food (plus they do a little bit nicer setup- look at their photos to see how nice they can make food look!). That’s $11 per person. I’ve done enough corporate events to know that that is darn cheap as far as catering goes. Sure, it’s not gourmet, but I promise you that Cafe Rio is a restaurant that visiting out-of-towners make a point of hitting up, and people who have left Utah post dramatic facebook statuses about how much they miss it. It’s true, I’ve seen it (lookin’ at you, Becca :)).

So… $11 per person is pretty much our price limit. (Or if we can round up willing servers, it could be as low as $9 per person… I’m still not sure how I feel about that though.)

What do you guys think?

Option A- Hors d’oeuvres

Pros: Less expensive, might be a little fancier/gourmet

Cons: Not as filling

 

 

 

Option B- Taco bar

Pros: a local restaurant that most people I know love, more filling

Cons: More expensive, less fancy- a more low-key vibe (although that’s actually probably a Pro, since we’re having a greenhouse/garden wedding)

There are probably more pros and cons to each option, but I’m too lazy to think of them right now. I’m leaning toward Rio, because I want people to leave the wedding full and fighting over leftovers, if there are any. Plus it’s “fun”. Yeah, I referred to food as “fun”.

But as always, I’m more than willing to take your suggestions!

Oh and also, we’re currently in the process of stocking up on glass-bottled sodas to serve in a tub full of ice, a la Young House Love (and my cousin’s lovely backyard wedding last year). I think their tip to kick the cans and stick to glass only is an easy way to keep the class factor at a reasonably high level.

Click image for source

Cuuuuuute!

And now, to reward you for putting up with my wedding nonsense, here are some ridiculous pictures of Blanche.

(Click to enlarge- you won’t regret it.)

There’s an abandoned church about half a block away from my house.

It’s gorgeous. It has shopping carts in its parking lots and a pile of laundry on its steps. That’s sad.

Every time I walk by there, I think about how it’s my dad’s dream (one of many) to find an old church like this and turn it into a house. For some reason, he thinks that would be just about the coolest thing. One of his friends lives in an old church-turned-house, and I’m told it’s awesome.

It seemed weird to me at first, but I’m kind of warming up to the idea. A beautiful building is a beautiful building, right?

I mean, imagine this was your front door.

(Sadly for some reason those windows have been filled in.)

And imagine these were your living room windows. Or kitchen!

Won’t somebody help this church?

Or at least beef up the security against bums and vagrants?

There is a restaurant here in SLC that’s an old church. It’s called Ichiban. I love going there for a) their half-price sushi rolls Mon-Wed and b) this:

Church-turned-restaurant: nice.

Sorry, the restaurant was kind of a sidetrack. But what do you guys think about living in a church? Would it feel weird? Too grand and formal? Rad? I’m curious to see where people stand.

First of all, thank you all very very very much for reading my blog, and for commenting on my last post. I totally milked the internet for sympathy, and you guys totally indulged me- and I really, truly thank you for that. And I apologize that I’m behind on my blog reading- I know- how does that happen when you’re homebound for 4+ days? Well, Arrested Development streaming on Netflix is a pretty good time-sucker.

And I have to warn you that this post is pretty aimless… those 4+ days haven’t made for a whole lot of blogging material.

It has made for a lot of good bonding time with Blanche, though. Oh Blanche. Why are you such a weirdo?

She nudges her food bowl over with her nose, and lately I’ve been finding it completely upside down.

With food still in it.

In other news, I joined Pinterest! Jeannine has a nice tutorial for using it, and if you do, you should be my friend! Or follow me, or whatever. I just barely started, so so far it’s just filled with wedding ideas.

Also, I’m pretty sure I’ve said it before, but please have an emergency fund! Seriously- one day, I’m a healthy, half-marathon-training 26 year-old walking down the street, and the next day, I’m in the hospital having a $X,XXX (or $XX,XXX? anyone know?) procedure done. Sure, I am fortunate enough to have insurance, but I’m still not looking forward to seeing what I have to pay out of my pocket.

And speaking of spending money, we booked a wedding photographer! She is Terra Cooper with Magnifique Photography and I’m super excited. For our budget wedding, she is a bit of a splurge, but photography is one of my top three priorities (the other two are location and food). When else is the whole family going to be together, dressed up, and having a wonderful time? I think it’s worth it.

Also: Rocket-powered Trike:

It really works! As long as he keeps pedaling.

Also, I’ve been looking for some more bedroom inspiration pictures for when Stan the Man moves in. He has a deep cherry (?) headboard and an Amber dresser- I figure we’ll just work with the differing wood tones. I’ll also probably paint the two side tables.

Here’s some of what I like:

I’m still digging these deep toned bedrooms, too.

Happy Thursday Friday Wednesday!

This weekend, my appendix said “Screw you guys, I’m out.” And within two days, it was out. Needless to say, I didn’t get anything done around the house.

My appendix decided to let me know it wanted out by torturing my insides all day on Thursday. By Friday, the pain had moved down to my lower right side, which is a classic sign of appendicitis, so my Doc called and reserved a spot for me at the ER and told me to get my butt up there. I let Blanche out, thinking “Well, I’ll be back in time to let her out tonight.” Such a laughable thought now.

I picked Stan up from school on the way there, and the two of us waited in the ER. I wimpily winced at getting my IV put in, then they sent me for a CT scan. Weird experience. Have any of you ever had one? When they put the iodine through your IV (for contrast so they can see what’s going on) it feels so weird. It feels like steamy hot chocolate running through your body.

While waiting for the CT results, a couple of medical students came and asked me if they could do an ultrasound on me just for practice. I told them that I guessed I could take a break from twiddling my thumbs. They showed me my heart, kidneys, and bladder. Stan held my hand as we watched my heart beat, and I laughed inside that we were holding hands looking at my heart, and not a baby. It just seemed funny for some reason. Anyway, we asked them how long a recovery is for an appendectomy, and one of them said “I dunno, you can probably be running again on Monday.” It was Friday. Well it’s Sunday now, and that guy was full of crap! I ain’t running nowhere tomorrow.

Anyway, the doc came back with the CT results and said “You have acute appendicitis.” Even though it wasn’t surprising, I started bawling because I’m a big baby. Surgery is surgery, and it’s always a little scary. Plus it’s hard to poop afterward- who wants to deal with that? But I pulled myself together, the doctors answered all my questions, and then we were left to wait some more while they prepped a room for my surgery. When they left us alone, Stan and I actually started laughing, because… seriously? We don’t have enough going on? I have to get an appendectomy? But we agreed that if I had to have something go wrong, this is probably one of the better things, and at least it didn’t happen closer to the wedding.

They wheeled me up to the surgery ward (it was all very dramatic) where the surgeons told me some of the risks and possible complications, including “We might cut your lip, because we use a metal blade to put the breathing tube in”. I laughed- um, really? Can you just kinda pull my lips out of the way first? “Metal blade”, huh? I think they were a little taken aback to see me laughing and chiding them for their clumsy breathing tube insertion methods. Then they put some “liquid courage” into my IV and wheeled me into the operating room. I watched them arrange things around me, and then the next thing I knew I was waking up with a scratchy throat. The nurse or whoever welcomed me back, and I told her I liked their snowflakes (they had paper snowflakes hanging from the ceiling- at least I think they did). Everything remained blurry for about 40 minutes (I know, because I kept squinting to look at the clock) and then they wheeled me into my recovery room where Stan was waiting- truly a sight for sore eyes.

Proof that I really did have an appendectomy

 

Seriously, that man proved himself a million times over the next couple days (and continues to do so). He did everything right- staying with me, leaving only to take care of the dog and cat and sleep at his own house, bringing me flowers, spoon feeding me soup when I didn’t want to bend my IV arm, asking if I needed anything, helping me go for walks, making me feel pretty despite my hospital head hairdo, helping me brush my teeth, making me smile but not expecting me to laugh… I am truly blessed. Now that I’m home he continues to baby me, making me soup for dinner, picking up goodies, taking care of Blanche and Jesse… but the thing I appreciate the most is that he truly makes me feel beautiful. I feel so pathetic, having to shuffle around the house and barely able to pull myself upright (I had no idea how much I use my abs in everyday life until they were cut open!) but I can see it in his face that he has nothing but love and compassion for me, and not pity. I am sorry for the incoherent sap-fest (this Percocet is strong stuff!) but it’s true. I keep looking at him and tearing up because I’m overwhelmed. I feel like I might burst from love.

Anyway, now it’s Monday, and I’m still on the Percocet, which is making me feel like I might burst from something else (vomit). I’m still taking it easy, but I was able to take Blanche on a short walk today and I’ll probably be able to go back to work tomorrow or Wednesday.

An appendectomy is considered a “major surgery”. (I think basically anything where they put you under is.) However, this ordeal is nothing compared to what others go through, and the other feeling I’ve been overwhelmed with this weekend is gratitude. I complain so much about running, cleaning the house, my to-do list… but you never know how wonderful it is to be able to do all that stuff until you can’t. I have three small incisions in my belly, and those are enough to make laughing, sitting up, walking, and coughing painful. I can’t imagine having a more serious surgery with a longer recovery time- I’m simply too wimpy. I’m so thankful for my normal health. I have so much respect for anyone who has to go through more serious and chronic medical problems. I’m so thankful for Stan, and for the support I’ve gotten from my wonderful family and friends.

And I do apologize that this is not very well written- I really am pretty doped up on pain meds (which, by the way, are not as fun as everyone says they are). Thanks for reading!

I heart Ikea usually. We have one less than 30 minutes away, and I pity you fools who drive 4 hours to go to one (you’re not fools- I would probably do the same thing). Sure, some of the crap is, well, crap, but a lot of the time you can get decent essentials for el cheapo.

A couple weekends ago, we totally went through the second bedroom. This happened:

That’s right, Stan transformed into Niecy Nash and kicked my butt until I got rid of stuff. Then we went to Ikea to buy more stuff to hold the stuff I kept. Ah, stuff.

Anyway, I was delighted to find these inexpensive but sturdy Kasset boxes, which the Ikea employees assured us were for holding hanging files. I didn’t want to spring for an actual file cabinet, and these are cute, so it was the perfect solution.

Or so we thought.

Look at it there, looking so innocent.

“Yes, I’m here to hold your files! See, I have cutouts for hanging file holders and everything! Yay! Love me!”

I don’t love you, Ikea box. You are a major disappointment.

How do you explain this???

We even bought the stupid hanging file holders from Ikea (which was a dumb move in and of itself- they are way cheaper at Office Depot!). And don’t tell me that the box is for legal size- it’s not! Legal is 14″, and letter is 11″. This box is the uglier sister of a letter size box at an awkward 11.75″ or so.

I’m glad Ikea is only 25 minutes away and that Stan and I enjoy spending lots of extra time in the car together, because I put these sorry excuses for file boxes right back in the car and demanded a refund (and by “demanded” I mean “shyly placed the huge embarrassing failure box onto the returns counter and waited patiently while the guy inspected, re-inspected, suggested it may be for Legal size, offered to give me store credit, then changed his mind and gave me cash because he was embarrassed to work at an establishment that engineered such an asinine product”). So yeah, I got my refund, bought a few more magazine boxes (which are actually useful for holding magazines and magazine-sized objects), and proudly skipped the cinnamon rolls. Ikea victory!

As for the final solution for file holding, I broke down and bought a cute little file box from Office Depot for all of my 2011 papers, and stashed the old ones in some old plastic file boxes I had and hid them away in the closet because they’re not too attractive.

This is how the room was looking after we de-Hoardersed it, but before we got some new boxes to hold the stuff that’s just stuffed on those bottom shelves. I think I have a hard time with “styling” bookshelves, because I have too much stuff that I want the bookshelf to hold. Styled bookshelves are awesome, but a vase/picture frame/other trinket takes up the space of lots of books! Maybe that just means I need two bookshelves…

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