Monday, February 28, 2011

A Journey's End. The Kitchen

The pictures of the kitchen side didn't come out great, just couldn't get the right lighting but you get the idea...

Island + Bar stools: Ikea $379 + $120

Mosaic Glass Back Splash: Home Depot

Double Oven: Whirlpool

This is probably the best upgrade we made. I was back and forth about splurging for the double oven. It was totally worth it! Compared to the price of a new single oven of the same brand it wasn't that much more and I use it all the time. When it's just Jim and I the smaller top oven works for almost everything. If I'm baking and cooking, no problem. If I'm cooking a large meal for friends, no problem. So, so worth it

Fridge with bottom freezer: Whirlpool

Things left on my To Do list:
Window treatment for over the sink
Paint door to to screen porch

Countertops: Quartz
Flooring: Allure in Dark Walnut

Dishwasher: Kenmore

View from Dining Room (on Jim's birthday)

Day One
Day Eight
Day Sixty
Day 93-188
Day 200


"It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade."

~Charles Dickens

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Mason Jennings

'Drinking As Religion'
***Listen here***

After all this useless fighting, after all our schemes
We could sense a final battle and started picking teams
Due to lack of good direction, I fell in with thieves
And took to drinking as religion and landed on my knees

Truth that starts as understanding finds you in the night
And circles all around the ceiling a frightened bird in flight
After spending hours beneath it, everything comes clear
Truth will pose no danger to you, what hunts you both is fear

Somewhere in our everafter telephones still ring
Somewhere in future journals, love still means something
I have learned a mighty lesson from this change of plans
Loss is brutal, I can't stand it, I wonder how you can

And all the while there's dogs a-barking
Streets are talking out my window
Out the light and the snow is flaking, hearts are breaking
Words are making a mess out of these
Thoughts i'm thinking, boats keep sinking
It's drown or keep drinking
And if this darkness came from light
Then light can come from darkness i guess

If this darkness came from light
Then light can come from darkness i guess

Friday, February 25, 2011


We agreed that a 'library' space was essential in the new house. After shopping around we acquired 3 nice tall bookshelves . I wanted three to balance out the window on the opposite wall in the living room. Plus we have a ton o' books and in true library fashion wanted to include all our reference and textbooks, along with the novels. Textbooks are big. They take up a lot of space. We definitely need 3 bookshelves. We overestimated. We didn't even fill two of them.

I remember digging through boxes in the basement insistent that there had to be some missing. Nope. It's just that it seemed like we were bursting at the seams with books in our old apartment. Which we probably were, but our new house is about 20x larger so that gives us a little more elbow room to start off with.

The good news is Jim's a read-a-holic. He's in the middle of completing the Modern Library Top 100 Novels and wants to own all of them as well, so it probably won't take too many years to fill up the remain shelves. I've also decided to start bargain hunting this week and have managed to purchase 12 books for less than $30. Not to shabby.

And because talking about bookshelves isn't enough fun, a video for your enjoyment...

A Journey's End. The Dining Room

I've been avoiding posting the "after" pictures for weeks now. I wanted to get some of the small details taken care of before the grand unveiling. I scratched a few things off my list, but there's still not a single thing hanging on the walls, the curtains aren't steamed, and I'm still hunting for a server/credenza type piece for the barren wall. Who knows when I'll get any of it done, so here you go. The dining room area as of today...

Nichols & Stone Dining room table and 5 chairs: Craigslist $125

The table top definitely needs to be refinished, but it's really solid furniture and the price was right. For the time being it's fine and when we have friends over for dinner I just cover it with a table cloth.
Table: West Elm $349

I originally bought it for the foyer, then moved it to the living room, but have decided that I like it most of all here.

Curtains: Ikea

I don't remember the exact price but Ikea is a great place for cheap curtains. I have 2 panels of the linen color on each side and one panel of lace. The lace are one of my favorite additions in the last week.
Rug: Home depot $197

It's a bit more modern than I had envisioned. The rug I actually wanted was from Pottery Barn, but it would have been almost $1200 for the large size I needed. On a whim we checked at Home Depot and both really liked this one. The colors match nicely and it's not too think for a dining room area.

Sofee is happiest of all.
She love hiding under the table, but hated that there was no rug/carpet there.

Blank Wall.

Searching Craigslist, clearance sales, and thrift stores for a long server/buffet piece and will transform this area to more of a bar area. Not much else to say about a blank wall.

Hutch: Craigslist $300 including delivery

Eventually I want to move all the glasses and bar items to the currently non-existing bar area and display something else here. What I don't know yet. I have way to much space and not enough crap.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I'm ready for Spring...

Tons of fun, colorful prints: Boden

Cute, casual everyday stuff: Lands' End Canvas

As always, really cute dresses: Anthropologie

Awesome orange wedges: Urban Outfitters

Tangerine and Peach : JCrew

Tangerine plaid perfect shirt

Featherweight cashmere short-sleeve cardigan

Now I just need sun and 60 degree temperatures.
Winter you are oh so long.

Monday, February 21, 2011

No Bake cookies.

I've got a pretty good handle gluten free cooking at this point but baked goods and desserts are a different story. Instead of really learning how to use 'other' flours, I've just kind of avoided baked goods altogether. It's better for my waist line anyways. No Bake cookies just happen to be naturally gluten free so when I get the hankering to be in the kitchen I whip up a quick batch.

*** Just in case there's actually someone that cares about all my gluten free rambling, I should take a minute to mention that there is a bit of controversy consuming oats in a gluten free diet. Oats ARE a gluten free grain. The problem is there is typically a lot of contamination from wheat, rye, and barley in harvesting and processing. You can buy certified gluten free oats, which means they have undergone to assure there has been no contamination. I just usually regular oats. I don't eat oatmeal or oat ingredients everyday, so I don't worry about a wee bit of contamination. I also have a gluten intolerance not celiac disease, so I try to do my best but don't get crazy about it. If you have celiac disease your probably better off checking with you doctor about whether or not oats are suitable for your diet and buying certified gluten free products****

No Bake Cookies
2 C. sugar
1/2 C. milk
1 stick margarine/butter
1/3 C. cocoa
2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 C. quick oats
1/2 C. peanut butter

Mix oats & peanut butter in large bowl and set aside. Line several cookie sets (or just your countertops) with wax paper. Combine sugar, milk, butter, cocoa, & vanilla in medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir continuously so that you don't scorch the milk. Boil for 2 minutes (do not starting timing until you start to see bubbles form). Pour over oats and peanut butter, stir to combine. Move quickly. Drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper.


"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment."

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Photo Booth

When I was using PhotoBooth for my before/after haircut photos, I came across a bunch that my niece and nephew took when they were visiting last spring.
They thought it was the coolest thing.
Smart kids.

Friday, February 18, 2011

A Journey. Part VI

About this time Jim and I dropped the idea of divorce, deciding a better alternative would be to just head north to Canada and go into hiding. That never happened. Instead we just got drunk.

My thoughts at the time found here.

Day Two Hundred...

The Home Stretch
Day Two Hundred Twelve...

Day One
Day Eight
Day Sixty
Day 93-188

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A New Day

I didn't get up at 5am. I didn't go to the gym. I didn't even go to work. And I'm not even sick. It's a really long story, one that I probably won't ever share, but it results in my current state of unemployment. I guess it's more a transition to full-time self-employment. The blossoming of my entrepreneurial skills and the death of my long, dreaded commuting days.

I started this blog because of commuting. A place to store all the randomness that swims around in my head while I'm driving solo gulping down coffee. It's funny because Monday I spent my morning drive thinking of all the things I think about while I'm driving. I had this whole long list of things to rambling on about. Now I can't think of one thing. It's going to require me getting up at the break of dawn and driving around the back country roads every morning just to clear my head. That actually sounds nice. I love, love back country roads. Just endless open space and clear air. I think it's going to be time for a trip to Ohio soon, but I'll resist the urge a few more months just to make sure winter has cleared the midwest.

Since today was my first day 'off' I decided to just take a lazy day. Oddly though I still made a 'To Do' list (maybe I have a little misunderstanding about about laziness!). I got my haircut with all the old ladies, went to Ikea with all the moms and their kids, then had spin class with all the men who apparently have ugly secretaries and are there to stare at the hot teacher and not really to work out. Honestly, I thought the guy next to me was going to straight pass out, the guy to my left didn't even try to exert himself, and the guy in front of me was sweating Jack Daniels from Happy Hour. I think the instructor was well aware of the situation, she even left the lights on and made sure to do a lot of giggling. I can't blame her. I will admit to using my feminine qualities for job security. Overall, it was just weird being 'around' during the day.

I've been psyched for my haircut for weeks now because I set my mind to getting bangs. Thanks to having bad hair for over half my life, I'm not very daring with my hair styles. Bangs are a big deal. I think my hairstylists was more afraid of giving me bangs than I was to ask for them. I don't not like the new style but the 'bangs' are more of shorter layer and not so much full out bangs. I normally wouldn't, but I'm considering going back. What do think?



Monday, February 14, 2011


Sundays are my favorite day for cooking. I love working around the house, slow cooking or preparing food for hours, and having a big meal at the end of it. It's relaxing and oddly therapeutic for me. There's just something about all the smells and experimenting and creating new foods that can consume me.Last Sunday I decided on one last batch of chili before the warmer spring temps set in.

Which of course requires cornbread and honey butter glaze....

Although corn bread made sound gluten free, it actually contains wheat flour. I've been closely watching my wheat, barley, and rye intake after a gluten binge several weeks back. It all started when Jim couldn't say no to the little neighbor girl selling girl scout cookies. And who can resist them once they're actually in the house? Three boxes later we landed on birthday cake, cream chicken sandwiches, enchiladas, and tons of other crap that is stuffed full of gluten.

The aftermath was worth the indulgence.

So I've been really, really good about eliminating it from my diet since. I started feeling guilty about the wheat laced corn bread and decided to try a batch of hush puppies. Easy, delicious especially when hot, and recommended.

Hush Puppies
1 C. Yellow Corn Meal
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 Tbsp minced onion
1/4 C. Milk
1 egg

Sift dry ingredients
Beat milk, egg, and onion.
Add liquid ingredients to dry and blend well.
Form into small balls.
Deep fry in hot oil (370degrees) until golden brown.
Drain on paper towel and serve hot.

*I'm not sure who in my age category has a flour sifter but I'm not one of them...I just used a fork and made sure to break up any chunks and blend any white into the yellow
*I also don't have a tool for mincing onion. I used the Magic Bullet until it was sorta liquidy
*I only had soy milk which I think was the cause of slightly runny batter. I added more corn meal until it was thick enough to form into balls.
*I don't have a deep fry or thermometer. I just heated up enough oil to cover the bottom half of the hush puppy and used a slotted spoon to turn.
*I am not a professional chef


"Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy."

~Anne Frank, Diary of a Young Girl

Sunday, February 13, 2011


I don't personally celebrate Valentine's Day. I think it's kind of stupid, plus I don't really wear a lot of fancy jewelry so there's really no point. Just because I don't need a reason to celebrate love doesn't mean it's not a good reason to remind the kiddos who their favorite aunt is....

Jim was most jealous of the dinosaur flashcards I found in the dollar bin at Target for my nephew Jevin. He requested his own set, along with insects and space.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Preparation is key.

For just less than a year, I have been dragging my sleepyhead out of bed at 5am every weekday to go to the gym before work. I have always desired to be that person that got up and worked out before the rest of the day started. I attempted on multiple occasions in college, chiro school, and the early days of my professional life. I'd go for a few days here and there or maybe a few weeks straight if I was really on a roll, but nothing that ever became habit. I came had come to accept that I was just not that person. So what changed? I got tired of wasting minutes upon hours of my life sitting in stupid freakin god forsaken traffic commuting to work.

Last spring we were on the verge of buying this house, which would only prolong my commute until my employer granted me a transfer to the office 20 minutes from the house (which never happened by the way). One day I decided that the best solution was to start working out at the gym near my office before work, which would mean missing at least half of the traffic for even given day. The first day I ventured out in the 5 o'clock hour I felt like someone had granted me wings over night.

Aside from actually getting out of bed, the worst thing about it is dragging all my stuff with me to get ready for work. After 11 months I've become quite the expert...

The first and most important step is preparing the night before. Early morning is no time to be thinking, at all. It's a time for sucking down coffee until your brain catches up with your body and actually wakes up. The night before I iron my clothes, pack my gym bag, and prepare my lunch. Before the Keurig I would also get the coffee pot set up and ready to go.

When it comes to packing the gym bag I recommend doubling up. Just suck it up and buy two of anything that you use on a daily basis for showering or hygiene (shampoo, soap/body wash, lotions, hair products, comb/brush). I even have 2 hair dryers. Although I shower at the gym Monday-Friday, I don't want to be scrambling around finding shampoo if I end up taking a second shower at home or forgetting to repack an item for Monday after a weekend at home. The only thing I don't double up on is my makeup, which I keep separate and swap between home use and the gym bag often.

I have my stuff separated into 3 different bags within my gym bag. Bags within the bag are essential. No one wants to deal with a messy spill. Smaller bags are easier to clean out or just throw away if you have that misfortune. Plus, it protects whatever clothing items may be sharing the space. Bag #1 is my makeup bag (far left). In the second bag I keep all my non showering, non cosmetic products (hair gel, lotion, deodorant, etc). Which leaves us with bag #3, the shower bag.

I use a bag that is actually intended for track shoes, but serves its purpose here very well. It's waterproof, so no problem if my shampoo or conditioner spills; and has straps to hang it from the hook outside the shower stalls at the gym. Also included in bag #3 are the all important shower shoes. I use an old pair of flip flops from Old Navy. They also never leave the shower bag.

So, we've got three smaller bags and my hair dryer so far. I also pack a small, lightweight robe that I got at Marshalls, my towel, work shoes, the unmentionables, and any accessories. My work clothes stay on hangers to avoid wrinkles.

**Don't forget to double check that you have everything before you zip up. Worse case scenario here.**

All packed and ready to go the night before. In the summer I put the bag and my clothes right into the car when it was packed and ready to go, but it's just too dang cold these days for that. I keep my work out clothes and gym bag in our spare bedroom. This avoid me waking up the Mister fumbling around and searching for socks in the dark.

So there you have it. In case you get some insane urge to keep up when there is no sun and drive over an hour to go to the gym to avoid traffic you're all set to go.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Journey. Part V

You are now entering the time frame when Jim and Rachelle almost get a divorce.

Day Ninety Three...

Day One Hundred Eighty Eight....

Day One
Day Eight
Day Sixty