Monday, March 29, 2010

Funky Shoe Parade

First in the lineup of our funky shoe parade are Julie's Naughty Monkey heels. They are her funkiest shoes. She doesn't look like a funky shoes kind of girl in her everyday life, but she loves these shoes very much. One thing that gives her confidence is feeling tall. At 5'6", she is already two inches taller than the national average, but these give her nearly four more inches. These shoes make her feel tall and bold. They are her favorite!

Next are my Adidas running shoes. When I bought these, Julie told me they looked like clown shoes. I didn't mind. They were the most comfortable sneakers I could find. They're lightweight and cushion-y and don't hurt my feet at all. That's rare. I'm not crazy abour the hot pink/electric blue/gray color combination, but when comfort is at stake, style is the least of my worries.

Here we have Carina's Vibram Five Fingers shoes. I think these win the prize for the funkiest of all. These shoes are like gloves for your feet, with individual chambers for each toe. Someone told Carina that these shoes look like monkey feet, which kind of stuck, and that's what I call them now.

Carina bought these sandals for Vacation Bible School one summer when she was supposed to dress like a Roman. They turned out to be fairly comfortable, though, and now she keeps them behind her drum set at church and slips off her heels and puts these on to make playing more comfortable.

Finally, here are Nikki's floral clogs. She says they are definitely a conversation starter! She and I attended the same conference recently and these shoes are the first thing I noticed about her outfit. I think they're pretty cute, they look pretty comfortable, and they go with everything!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Shoe Spectrum

Do you remember my post on sensible shoes? My shoes tend to fall on the sensible end of the shoe spectrum. I bought a new pair of shoes recently and I thought they were pretty interesting. They're brown leather mary janes with orange stitching and a cute little owl embroidered on one side. However, they're quite tame compared to some of my sister's and friends' funky shoes.

Do you have a pair of really wild shoes that you would like to share? If so, email us a picture this weekend and we'll feature it on the blog on Monday!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Jolly Ranchers vs. Cough Drops


I prefer Jolly Ranchers to cough drops.

When you have Jolly Ranchers, it means you are healthy. Unhealthy people don’t get to eat Jolly Ranchers.

When you have cough drops, it means you aren’t healthy. It is a sure sign of a sore throat. Unhealthy people have to eat soup, drink lots of orange juice, and suck on cough drops so they will be healthy again.

Jolly Ranchers make me happy. It even has “jolly” in the name. How can that make you feel anything besides optimistic?

Cough Drops imply misery. The idea of cough drops makes me think of those horrible Sucrets in the white plastic box that Mom made me eat when I was little. Those were nasty. I would hold out as long as I could, pretending I didn’t have a sore throat so I wouldn’t have to eat one.

Jolly Ranchers make you popular. When you have Jolly Ranchers, everyone loves you because they are meant to be shared. I keep the green apple and watermelon. I share the grape and fire ones.

Cough drops make people avoid you like the plague. People don’t want to catch whatever nasty virus you are currently hosting.

Today has been a cough drop kind of day. However now that I’m the one buying the cough drops, I prefer Halls Breezers over Sucrets. I currently have a Cool Berry one in my mouth. These taste more like candy, even if they don’t work as well.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Curtain Solution!

This is the post where I will reveal my curtain creating handiwork. This started out as a simple project, wherein I would replace my tired old curtains with some spiffy new curtains in one afternoon and proudly tell everyone how easy it was and how good it looks. Well...that obviously didn't happen.

Let's take a look at the old curtains:

At this point, they're not looking so bad. There was nothing technically wrong with them. They look fine. They cover the windows. The color goes with the rest of my decor. Their main downfall was that they had been washed many times and the sheers behind them were starting to unravel. No problem. I just darned them right up and re-hung them. However, I knew that trick was only going to work a limited number of times. I knew it was only a matter of time before there was nothing left to mend. Which is why I bought this fabric:

It's pretty, isn't it? It was on sale at for $1.95 per yard. I thought it looked like it would make good curtains and the price was right. If I screwed it up, it wasn't a major investment, right? Well. That's a good thing, because I certainly did screw it up. I needed quite a bit of fabric to dress all of my windows, so it came on a bolt. I needed extra long pieces of fabric for my living room curtain panels, so it was impossible to wash the fabric before cutting it, so I risked it. I cut 90" pieces, expecting some shrinkage. However, I didn't predict a 10% loss! No worries. I just found some coordinating fabric and did this:

I actually purchased the brown fabric, in person, at a fabric store. I told the fabric lady about my plans, and explained that I was getting extra just in case of shrinkage to avoid re-creating the problem I was trying to fix. When I told her I was going to wash it before sewing, she looked at me like I had just yelled "Bomb!" in an airport. Apparently you're not supposed to wash acetate. Who knew? I didn't. Anyway, it didn't matter, because the acetate washed just fine. No shrinkage at all.

I was so impressed with myself on the sewing. I even pressed my seams open and used brown thread to hem the brown section and tan thread for the rest. Here is the finished product:

How do you like my curtain rod? Blondie hung that for me. It was a major hassle. If you ever hang a substantial curtain rod that has to support heavy drapes, don't use the screws that come with the rod. Use good screws. On the first bracket, we thought we could just screw directly into the sheetrock. Nope. It wiggled and wobbled like we had just stuck it up there with scotch tape. We resorted to using the plastic anchor thingys that come with everything you hang on the wall. That seemed to do the trick. We also found that we couldn't drill straight into the wall. The loop that holds the rod was in the way. Thus, we had to drill at an angle, which offended Blondie's mathematical sensibilities. It took all afternoon to get that curtain rod hung. I have decided that these are my favorite curtains of all time and I don't ever want to replace them. EVER.

Check out other DIY Show Offs here:

The DIY Show Off

And more Metamorphosis Monday projects here:

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Dinner and a Movie

Blondie and I had a pretty lame adventure on Thursday. We wanted to make the most of spring break week, so we went out on a school night! Julie's Taco Factory post had made me jealous and hungry for Taco Factory, so Blondie and I went there for supper.

It felt silly to drive all that way just for a fast-food dinner, but it was worth it. I love Taco Factory's nachos and queso. I even had some chips and queso left over for lunch the next day. I am not quite sure what the best thing is at Taco Factory: their queso or their Dr. Pepper. They're both pretty good.

After eating at Taco Factory, I had a surprise for Blondie. Last time I was in town, I noticed that their Movie Gallery was going out of business. All of their movies were 3 for $10, so Blondie picked out three. He got one western for his dad, one Academy Award winner for us, and one documentary for himself. We also made a long list of other movies we wanted to see, but not buy. Netflix, here we come!

I'm a big fan of movie rentals and book borrowing. It cuts down on clutter, and I rarely want to see/read something more than once anyway. Blondie, on the other hand, likes to own his media. He has boxes and boxes of books and quite a few DVDs as well.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

First Day of Spring?

We had a spring snow here last night, so this is what my house looked like this morning! Some first day of spring, huh? I'll definitely be staying inside on this vernal exuinox!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Spring Break

This spring break I accomplished a lot! University employees get two days off during spring break and I made the most of my vacation. I had an action packed and fun filled long weekend of visiting with friends, cleaning the house, and tackling home improvement projects.

On Friday evening I invited my friend Carina's family and Blondie over for my improvised variation of Mary's 7-Can Taco Soup for dinner. Mary uses ground beef and beef broth, but I was trying to make this diet friendly, so I used shredded chicken and chicken broth instead. I also didn't have any green chiles, but I did have pinto beans with jalapenos, so I figured that balanced out. My soup turned out to be extremely spicy, so we added lots of shredded cheese and sour cream to mellow the flavor a bit. I also made some spicy cheese dip and Carina brought some corn bread, fresh avocado, and pico de gallo.

After dinner we went to Carina's house and enjoyed several episodes of The Big Bang Theory, my favorite show, which Art and Carina had never seen. Then they introduced Blondie and me to The IT Crowd, which seems to have similar themes and painfully reminds us of people we actually know...or actually are.

On Saturday I did some spring cleaning. I had noticed that my glasses and silverware weren't quite as sparkling as they once were, so I decided to give them a good cleaning. I soaked all of my crystal and silver (glass and stainless steel) in a hot water and vinegar solution and then scrubbed them until they glistened. It was very rewarding for the neat freak in me.

Saturday was such a beautiful day that we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to introduce my dog, Roscoe to Blondie's puppy, Penny. However, my lawn had just been sprayed for weeds, which is supposed to be safe for pets, but we didn't want to take the risk of exposing the puppy the poison. We decided to take both dogs to my parents' farm to play. They had a great time. Here is a picture of Penny frolicking in the grass. Isn't she cute? She is named Penny because of the copper bands on her legs.

Blondie, Julie, C. and I had a cookout on Saturday evening. We had a campfire by a creek and roasted hot dogs and made s'mores. Blondie's parents even joined us. It was a very still and clear night, which is perfect for a campfire.

On Sunday I went to church as usual, then that afternoon I finally finished sewing my living room curtains. Check back for a complete curtain post on Monday! They look great. And even if they didn't, I would pretend they did because after that experience, I don't ever want to make curtains again!

My brother-in-law C. is a volunteer firefighter and he and the other firefighters get together occasionally to play basketball in the evenings. He has invited Blondie to participate on occasion and they always have a great time. The rule is that you have to come in pairs so there is an even number of players...and that there are enough players. Sometimes that works, and sometimes it doesn't. They played this Sunday, and this time Blondie invited his cousin and brother-in-law to come along. They had 8 guys this time, which C. says is the perfect number for a pick-up game.

On Monday I did some more spring cleaning. I did a ton of laundry, dusted, swept, vacuumed, cleaned ceiling fans, washed windows, and lots of other little chores. After lunch, Blondie and I hung my new curtains. That was an ordeal all by itself!

Blondie wasn't feeling well at all on Tuesday, so he went to the doctor in the morning and came home with an antibiotic and a bruise from the steriod shot he received. That steriod shot perked him right up, though, and he was in the mood to clean. He and I spend the afternoon and evening cleaning his room and purging his closet of things that probably never should have been there in the first place. You should have seen some of the ties: Winnie the Pooh, basset hounds, lions, basketballs (I at least understand that one), Garfield, music, flames, dragons, and all around ugly. I couldn't get him to part with one awful geometric tie. He said that he got lots of compliments on it when he wore it to the math convention. No doubt.

I didn't want to get out of bed on Wednesday morning. I was really in the mood to sleep in, but I went back to work and all was quiet at the office. Spring break is a good time to get lots of work done because people think the whole university is closed all week and no one is there.

"Tie" Dye Easter Eggs

Our Best Bites is one of my favorite blogs. They post tons of yummy recipes. This was their post today. These are adorable! You must make them if you have kids...then again, I so plan to make them and I don't have any kids!

Our Best Bites: Easter Eggs

Go there now!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Photo Fail

Yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day! Did you get pinched? I didn’t! I nearly put on regular ole’ non-green clothes before C. reminded me what day it was. He saved me from pinches from random customers at work! And since I have a fairly large personal space bubble, pinches are NOT welcome.

I thought we were an awfully cute-lookin’ couple in our matching green, so I wanted a photo of us! (okok, so mostly I wanted to use my new Gorillapod) I was never successful, but I tried really hard! C. is really good at evading the camera.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Burrito Six-Pack

There is a delightful town down the interstate that is home to lots of wonderful things. My granny lives nearby, one of the coolest cousins you’ve ever met lives there, it has great shopping, and, best of all (sorry, G), it has my favorite restaurant of all time. This little taco joint is worth the trip even if my family didn’t live nearby. Family is just a good excuse to make the trip.

Yesterday I got to go there to help plan G’s wedding shower. While the shower planning was fun, the highlight of my trip was driving through the taco joint to get a week’s supply of burritos, also known as a Burrito Six-Pack. I thought I would post photos of my bountiful supply of burritos to make Lisa (as well as numerous other people) jealous.

My delicious burrito six-pack.

Hungry yet? I am. Now I need some of their fantastic chips and queso.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Magical Scissors

I just got home from getting my hair trimmed. My hair stylist is better than yours. Well, maybe not, but she is awesome. She actually listens to what I say, and cuts it the way I want it. She understands that I am low maintenance, and doesn’t give me more layers than my little 10-minute hair routine can handle. However I know she is capable of doing cute, fluffy hair, because hers is adorable. And she does all of this for a very reasonable price. If anyone around here is in need of a good hair stylist, let me know, because I have an excellent recommendation for you!

I love haircuts. I’m not sure why they are so fun. I enjoy sitting in the chair while someone plays with my hair. And this girl is excellent at the girl-talk that is required of all hair stylists. A good haircut can make you feel like you’re about ten times hotter than reality, and we all need that little confidence boost sometimes! I suppose getting a haircut is like hanging out with friends, except I don’t think I would trust any of my friends to take a pair of scissors to my head. Or maybe there is something magic about hair cutting scissors that makes you feel pretty and confident. Whatever it is, I enjoyed it today!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Fake Chinese

There are two fake Chinese restaurants in the town where I work. You know what I'm talking about: the ambiguous buffet that claims to be Chinese and always consists of some type of rice, noodles, vegetables in unidentifiable sauces, and meats on sticks. The grades of authenticity vary, but they are certainly not real Chinese. Hence, the designation of fake Chinese.

The food is pretty comparable at both places, but the customer service and atmosphere at the small fake Chinese place is better. The staff is friendly and the restaurant is cozy. However, the fortunes in the fortune cookies are better at the big fake Chinese place. How can the small fake Chinese place compete with better fortunes!?

Thursday, March 4, 2010


How do you feel about pants with drawstrings? I am not a fan. I have found the drawstrings to be mostly annoying and rarely useful.

These are my favorite relaxy pants. They feel like a very thick t-shirt. They're not flimsy or overly stretchy. They feel durable, while still being soft and comfortable. My only problem is the thick drawstring. It's bulky. If I tie the drawstring in a bow and wear a shirt that is any more fitted than a regular old t-shirt, there's a weird looking bulge right below my belly button. No thanks. If I tie the drawstring in a knot to avoid the unsightly bow-bulge, the strings are too long and hang down between my legs. Not a desirable alternative.

You might ask why I care what it looks like since I normally only wear these pants when I'm just hanging out at home where no one sees me. The answer: I don't know. It's just annoying.

My favorite pair of athletic shorts has a completely different drawstring related problem. They had a drawstring on the inside, which was a little better, but still unnecessary. About the second time I washed these shorts, the drawstring got caught in the dryer door and the tumbling action of the dryer twisted the drawstring so much that the end broke off. This was an excellent opportunity to just remove it altogether.

Another question: do the two empty drawstring holes look any better than lumpy drawstring bows? Probably not. But they bother me less.

That's what I usually end up doing with drawstrings. Almost every pair of pants that has a drawstring also has an elastic waistband. I think the back up plan is overkill. I am the rebel shopper who brings home new pants and immediately removes the drawstring. I choose to live dangerously, relying only on the power of elastic to hold my pants up.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Pancake Cake

One of the ladies at work pointed out that I forgot to show off my cake last week. She is super encouraging of Kelsie and me in this class. Everyone at work is. But we both know it’s only because we bring our cakes to work after we are finished and they get to sample them. At this point, I think they are sick of cake.

Last week, we learned how to make a basket weave. This technique made me feel extremely stupid. I just could not figure it. I finally just decided to do it the way I thought looked good. It seemed to work. We made cute little Easter basket cakes. Kelsie and I were kind of disappointed with it. We both thought we were going to do the basket weave around the edges, make some kind of handle, then fill our “baskets” with candy. We didn’t know they were going to be flat. Our idea was much cuter. My next Easter basket cake will be 3-D.

This week we got to come up with our own creation. C. is a volunteer on the local fire department. They do a pancake supper every year. I had to miss it this year because of my cake decorating class, so I decided to make him a pancake cake to make up for it. I’m pretty proud of it! I think it turned out to be really cute. I was extremely skeptical at first. It looked awful when I started, but it eventually came together. I have new ideas for next time I try this one, like I definitely need to mix more “bacon” icing. I was really stretching it just to get those three little pieces.

Next week we are learning about fondant. I’m really excited about that. We will be able to make such cute shapes once we know how to use it!

Curtain Conundrum

Due to my inability to estimate fabric shrinkage percentages, I am in a bit of a conundrum regarding my living room curtains. I had planned to make simple panels that I would hem on each side and clip to a regular drapery rod with ring clips.

I measured my living room picture window and need no less than 84" of fabric to cover it. I would like to hang my rod slightly higher than the window frame and would need to allow for a 1/2" hem on each end. Thus, I rounded up and cut four 90" pieces of fabric.

This was no easy task because, while my dining room table is large enough to accommodate 10 eaters, it is neither wide nor long enough to spread out a 54" wide bolt of fabric and roll out a 90" length. I chose to do this in one of my empty bedrooms. I swept the floor to ensure that the fabric I planned to wash immediately after cutting it would not get dirty. Then I rolled out the fabric, measured, and cut. Perfect!

Remembering the sewing rules I learned in home ec, I knew I should launder the fabric before sewing it. I set my washing machine on gentle cycle and washed my precious curtains-to-be in cold water. My fabric is 100% cotton, so I expected some shrinkage, but not quite this much. My 90" fabric is now approximately 80."

Now what? I could make do with 85" panels; I would just hang the curtain rod right at the top of the window. But with 80" fabric, my window is going to be wearing high waters!

I have decided that I'm going to have to improvise...which is what I thought I was doing by making my own curtains. Apparently I'm going to have to super improvise. I'm going to try to find a coordinating fabric and maybe some fringe to sew a border onto one end of the panel, which will enhance the fanciness of the curtains and prevent me from wasting 320" of good fabric!