Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Blog hoppin'.....

So....if you've checked out my sidebar lately, you'll see some buttons of some blogs I've come to love lately. Let me know if you want to swap buttons with me and I'll add you to my coveted list.

I came across this wonderful blog hop on a few of those lovely blogs.....check it out!


I've noticed the women who read my blog generally have between 25-75 or 200-400 followers... unless I comment on the
bloggers between 500-1500 who return the favor of commenting. So let's see if we can gain a significant following of
random people who genuinely take interest in your blog! I suggest a link-up like no other I've seen!

starting February 1, 2012
*I acknowledge that this name is NOT a good one. PLEASE suggest one below and we'll cast a vote!*

Let's take this link up thing a couple of steps farther, starting with Facebook.

Let's help some sista's out.

Take my pledge. I dare you.

I pledge for one week, every day, to post the link URL of a different blogger's website. 

There are bazillions of people on Facebook and just think of the potential exposure of one person posting your URL for their
500 friends to see.

Let's promote new bloggers and make some new friends in the mean time!

If you're interested, LINK UP! and DO IT NOW! That way, when we launch and all of my readers and your readers and so
on read about this link up you're name will already be on the list of people who want their blog shared!


1. Post a blog about this link up and link up, of course!

2. For the next 5 days pick a different blogger from this link up and post their url in your Blog Facebook Page's 'Status' box.

3. *optional* Leave that blogger a comment on their post about this link up letting them know you picked them that day!

This is a Blog Hop!

1. Chickadette

2. Little Mrs. Sunshine

3. Grace Loves Iggy

4. lo @ crazy ever after

5. The Blog Tap

6. Emily @ Hope Squared

7. The Bold Abode

8. Confessions of a Virgin

You are next... Click here to enter
This list will close in 7 days, 1 hrs, 19 min (2/8/2012 12:59 AM CST)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Project Runway All-Stars?

I must be honest....I have been in heaven since regular TV started up again. Not that I don't enjoy some good holiday programming, but I tell ya, I like having something to look forward to each week. And in the evenings once the kids are in bed and I am "off duty."

I've been watching Project Runway All-Stars a bit since it started. 

I'm not 100% sold on it. It's on my B list....it gets watched when all of my other shows have been taken care of. It's a bit like the poor man's Project Runway......Project Accessory was like that, too, but way worse than this go-'round. But for the All-Stars? No Heidi Klum and no Tim Gunn. Makes for a bit of a dry show. The only thing I do enjoy is some of the people they have brought back.

First of all, the host......Angela Lindvall--pretty and not bad. Better than the Accessory host (who was wooden, not exciting at all and I cannot remember her name) but how can you follow H.K. and be better? Not possible.

I think one of my main beefs with this show is that some of the people aren't....well, all-stars. It's almost like some of the people who truly qualified to be an all-star didn't want to do it, so they went to their B list. Here are my non-all star people:

  • Elisa--very weird. Anyone surprised she was eliminated first? I am surprised that she wasn't kept longer just for the entertainment value.
  • Jerell--I don't even remember you or what season you were on, so clearly you cannot be all-star material.
  • Sweet P--I think the name is a bit annoying and I don't recall her being that great the first time she was on.
  • Kara--annoying. I am incredulous that she was not eliminated this week. Another who was not really a standout the first time around. Her fashion style leaves something to be desired as well. Although I'm not a fashion designer....I don't think it's unreasonable to expect fashion designers to be....well, fashionable?
  • Kenley--also annoying to me. Always makes the same thing. Reincarnated from the '50s.
  • April--although I like her toughness and how buff she is, I can't get over her hair. It looks like Kelly Obsbourne's right now (did you see her on the Globes red carpet?)....a mix between purple and grey.
  • Gordana--very likable and nice, but her designs are not so memorable.
And....the mucho all-stars:
  • Austin Scarlett--love, love, LOVE. One of my favorites ever. Love the flamboyancy. But he needs to lose the porn 'stache.
  • Rami--although not much in the personality department, I like his clothes. One of the talented who never won.
  • Anthony--hilarious. Cracked me up before and now. Not that he's that great of a designer, but he's funny as hell.
  • Michael C.--love his clothes. I don't think he got the credit he deserved his first time...they got a lot of play off the drama between him and the other designers. I think he's kind of sweet and I root for him.
  • Mondo--one of my favorites ever. He always has a different perspective with his designs. I like how he and Michael C. are buddies.
So, we will see what happens....

Friday, January 27, 2012

Conversation hearts.....impostor!

I have a bit of an obsession with seasonal candy.

Halloween? Candy corn hits the spot! I also like those little pumpkins.

For Easter, I love me some Peeps, although I'm not adverse to jelly beans. I prefer my Peeps stale. As soon as I bring them home, I poke a hole in the wrapping and let them go. Once stale, they get a bit crunchy. Yum! If you've never tried it, you should.....

And for Valentine's Day? It's gotta be conversation hearts.

I have long loved these candies. My favorite flavors? Yellow and purple. Then pink and white. I like to eat them one color at a time, starting with green or orange. Then, in reverse order of my favorites.

For our first ever Valentine's Day, my now-husband invited me over to his apartment, which was a bachelor pad that he called "the penthouse" since it was on the top floor of the building.  This was about six weeks after we started dating. He cooked dinner for me......and......bought some conversation hearts and sorted out all of the yellows into a bowl for me. True love? It sure turned out to be.

I am upset, though, since Necco changed their conversation hearts in 2010. They are now called "Sweethearts." I would call these the poor man's conversation hearts. The flavors are horrible! The colors are different. I walk through the store and I see all of these bags of these awful Sweethearts and it makes me a little angry.

Why would you mess with a good thing? It's good to know, however, you can still buy the "classic" conversation hearts online. It's like Classic Coke! Why would you do that?

Now, if Peeps are next, heads are gonna roll.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The great iPod debacle

We got our first iPod by winning a raffle.  

No joke. This was about eight years ago. My husband--with his English/journalism background--subscribes to TIME magazine. Sidenote...I  got told by someone a while ago that since we read TIME,  I wouldn't enjoy humor like Forty Year-Old Virgin. Really?

But I digress. So, after we subscribed, I got a note in the mail saying I had won an iPod in a raffle. Keep in mind, this is about a year after the first iPod came out. I thought it was complete bull. I was skeptical at best. Never did I believe that an iPod would come through the mail.

But....then a little package came on the doorstep and there was our little iPod mini. It is crazy....compared to the iPods now, it is so heavy for its size!!! Well, we didn't have a computer that was sophisticated enough to run the iPod, so we upgraded to a new desktop computer and retired the computer that had put my husband through grad school.

And.....now, a few iPods later, we have come to a crossroads. You see, we have shared a library for quite some time now. Isn't that what nice, married couples do??? Share? Yeah, not so much anymore.

We didn't used to have so much stuff in there, but it's getting so large that it takes forever to check and uncheck all of the things I want to have loaded on my iPod from when he updated his. I started to do this on Saturday morning. I worked on it for about 25 minutes and gave up after I had gone through just the Gs.

Also, my dear husband had uploaded many of his CDs onto the iTunes library. Um, I really don't want Queensryche on my iPod. Have you ever heard any of their songs? They are so weird. No offense, of course, to any Queensryche fans out there.

This required a bit of online research. Home sharing? Transfer the library? I finally made the decision to back up the iTunes library on our external hard drive, which was purchased once our desktop went on the fritz and we nearly lost all of the stuff on our computer. Here is my little workspace.....with the hard drive in the middle of both computers. I chose this option because it would have the side benefit of backing up the iTunes in case of computer failure.

Here's my cup of joe......the cup is from Matt's Hamburgers, in South Minneapolis. If you're ever in the area, you must go. It's home of the Jucy Lucy. Fear the cheese! (this one's for you, Lauren!)

My mom and sister were just in MPLS this weekend and got me two more mugs. Score!

Once the iTunes library was backed up, I attached the hard drive to my laptop...it then went to town copying the files.

All that was left to do was to delete anything I didn't want! Then, I checked the songs I wanted to add to my iPod, hooked it up and declared victory. I'm not the most tech-savvy girl in the world.

I'm really glad I was able to do this, especially since I just bought the first season of Downton Abbey on iTunes and I wanted to make sure I could get it on my computer. Yee haw! You can read all about my Downton obsession here.

I guess I'm really a big girl....now that I have my own iTunes on my own computer for my very own iPod. : )

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A new Sunday night treat

As of late, I have become slightly obsessed with the show Downton Abbey

Have you heard of it? It is a series from Britain about a titled family, their comings-and-goings and their household staff. It is set in the 1910s...right now, they are in the midst of World War I.

I watched the first episode of the second season and I am hooked. My new objective is to get caught up on season 1. Thank you, thankyouverymuch, iTunes gift card. : )

It shows here on Sunday nights at 9pm on PBS....check your local listings. It is one show I watch that my husband does not ridicule quite as much, since it has gotten excellent reviews

If you DO like the show, you should know that it reminds me very much of another British series called Monarch of the Glen.

Kind of the same premise, but set in Scotland...very funny, a little off-the-wall and very addicting! My sister turned me on to it. : )

It's enough to turn you into a bona fide Anglophile.....

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Cold? Just put on a sweater...

I've posted before about how....empty....the house looks after you take down the Christmas deco. But...lately, I've been loving the "winter" look, as opposed to "holiday." 

Here is a shot of our mantel...post-holiday, pre-spring.

I've had this wine bottle with lights inside for a long time....I used to have more, but they burned out. I've been saving wine bottles to make some more, but my cordless drill is not working. Grr.

As much as I don't enjoy the break the growing season takes this time of year, I've been trying to appreciate what it does have to offer.....like this dried flowerhead from my oakleaf hydrangea.

These seedheads were somewhat unexpected....as I was cutting back some of my perennials, I noticed these neat seedheads on my caryopteris, so I cut them off and saved them for a vase.

These dried grass seedheads I just love.

My mom gave this branch to us...well, actually, to my son. It's from a tree in their yard and I thought it would look great on my mantel. : ) So, when he forgot about it, I decided to cut it up and put it in a vase.

To make the sweater vases, I bought an old, off-white sweater at Goodwill and cut it up.

Here's hoping my natural elements will tide me through to spring! It's going to take something.....; )

Party Time......
Time Travel Thursday at The Brambleberry Cottage
Fridays Unfolded at Stuff and Nonsense
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
Show and Share Day at Just a Girl
Simply Creations Link Party at Simple Home Life
Addicts (not so) Anonymous Addicted to Decorating
Sunday Showcase Party at Under the Table and Dreaming
Project Parade at The DIY Showoff
Creative Bloggers' Party and Hop at Homemaker on a Dime
Tip-Toe Thru Tuesday at Crayon Freckles
Sunday Shake-up at Jacque's Soda Parlor
Fabulous Friday at Ohh Baby
Pinspirational Thursday at The Artsy Girl Connection
Make the Scene Monday at Alderberry Hill
Sunday Salvation at Sassafras Salvation
Tuesday Talent Show at Chef n Training
Flaunt Your Flowers  at Tootsie Time
What I Wore/What's Up Wednesday at Rae Gun Ramblings

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

If the shoe fits.....

I was super excited last weekend to go out and spend some of the sweet gift cards I received for Christmas. You can take one of two approaches to gift cards, in my opinion. You can spend what you would spend--but get MORE--since you have a gift card to put toward the total. Or you can use the amount of the gift card and walk out, not having spent anything. Or at least, very little.

I like it when I can successfully do #2. I had a gift card to DSW and I had some fun. All of the shoes I bought were 70 or 80% off. Yessss!

One things about shoes is that since having my two kids, my feet have gotten a bit bigger. I always had biggish feet, but now I sometimes wear a 9 1/2 or even a 10. Eeek. Although, when you get up to those sizes, you have better selection, you know what I'm sayin'???

I first picked up these gold wedges. They are from the Jessica Simpson line. She skeeves me out a bit lately, but I thought the shoes were too good to pass up, especially at $8. They are a bit over the top, I know. I'll put them away for a few months. Gold shoes and snow don't go so well together.

These shoes I can wear to school. I liked the fabric on them and the little flower is cute, too.

These would be more spring shoes. I liked the yellow stripe....they will look great paired with some fun spring colors!

Grand total for all of these? 34 bones. She shoots, she scores!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Golden Globes

I've been enjoying a brief respite from work this weekend....we had no school on Friday and have no school on Monday. I've gotten some much-needed erranding done, including spending some of my sweet gift cards from the holidays. I'll share my major sale score later this week! I'm quite proud of myself.

My big excitement for today? Golden Globe Awards tonight.

Yes, I know what you're thinking.....that's your big excitement for the day....or even the weekend? That's right, I have potential to be a big looooos-ah. I know this event does not even land on the radar of many people.

Here are the reasons I am excited to watch....

1) I enjoy the red carpet and the fashion of all of the women. The good.....

And the......interesting?

Even the men. Like.....I truly hope that Ryan Gosling is in attendance tonight.

I like him in a tux.....or workout clothes.

One celebrity I can't stand? Lea Michele. Sorry, gleeks. She looks so self-absorbed all the time. I wonder if she'll be able to find work once her character graduates from Glee. 

2) Unlike the Oscars--which can be so highbrow and pretentious--the Golden Globes features movies and TV. And the actors from the best TV shows are there. Some of my favorites?

via  I also think Jon Stewart is kind of hot.

3) Ricky Gervais. 

He is hosting the ceremony this year, returning from last year. If you did not watch last year, he seriously pissed celebrities off with his jokes. It was awesome!! It was said that he would never host again, but then they must have realized what a ratings boon it would be if he hosted. I think he is just hilarious....the accent, the jokes. He was recently quoted (not exactly) as saying that he was not there for the millionaires in the audience, he was there for all of the people watching at home and his jokes are what they want to see. Amen! Seriously....he was drinking a beer in the opening of last year's show, as shown above.

You know what my DVR will be set to record tonight......

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A little trim

Since learning to sew last year, I've become slightly obsessed with the trim aisle in the fabric store. Not only would trim be fun to add to apparel items or home decor, it can be fun to make accessories. If you don't believe me, take a walk down that aisle in the fabric store. I walk down it every time I'm there and drool over them and the possibilities.

I'll be honest....I used to be very intimidated by rows and rows of fabric. What do you do with them? There's so many! And all of the people walking around there seem to know what they're doing!!!! Since learning to sew, I buy fabrics on sale or in the remnant bin and experiment a bit.....and if it goes wrong, so what? You gotta live on the edge a bit. But...many can be used for craft or fashion projects.

I picked up this trim several months ago. I liked the graphic aspect of it and the chunkiness of it. 

I bought some jewelry clamps (not sure that's their precise name?) to fix the ends. You basically take your needlenose pliers and clamp them down on the end of whatever you want. It opens the possibility to make so many trims into so many bracelets!! You'll also need some jump rings and clasps.

And...the finished product. I struggled to take a pic of my hand with the bracelet that didn't look creepy. Do you choose an action shot or a limp, lifeless shot like I did? ; )

Lately, I've been rather obsessed with stacking a bunch of different but similar bracelets all together! Love.

In December, the trims went on sale. I'd been watching my circulars like any frugal crafty one and noticed the trims were 50% off. Plus, I can use my 15% teacher's discount. Score.

I bought some of this heavy metal-inspired trim. It is from the Project Runway line. Many of those I have been eyeing as well! They are really cool. I also bought some sticky velcros.

I measured my wrist in a very scientific manner.....

Cut in between the silver parts.

Use some kind of tool to lift up the backs of the silver parts. Who knew it would be that easy??

Discarded silver parts.

I trimmed the velcro to the width of the leather, both the hook and the loop end.....and then stuck them on so they would stick together when attaching the ends.

There it is, with my beautiful modeling. Does my hand look any more lifelike??

Easy peasy. I think the trim was originally $9.99, so I got 50% plus 15% off half a yard, which has made at least three bracelets. Good deal!!

Who doesn't need a little heavy metal in his or her life? 

Party Time......
Time Travel Thursday at The Brambleberry Cottage
Fridays Unfolded at Stuff and Nonsense
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
Show and Share Day at Just a Girl
Simply Creations Link Party at Simple Home Life
Addicts (not so) Anonymous Addicted to Decorating
Sunday Showcase Party at Under the Table and Dreaming
Project Parade at The DIY Showoff
Creative Bloggers' Party and Hop at Homemaker on a Dime
Tip-Toe Thru Tuesday at Crayon Freckles
Sunday Shake-up at Jacque's Soda Parlor
Fabulous Friday at Ohh Baby
Pinspirational Thursday at The Artsy Girl Connection
Make the Scene Monday at Alderberry Hill
Sunday Salvation at Sassafras Salvation
Tuesday Talent Show at Chef n Training
Flaunt Your Flowers  at Tootsie Time
What I Wore/What's Up Wednesday at Rae Gun Ramblings

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Be my guest

Hey-o.....I hope you all are having a fabulous week! It has been busy around here.....yesterday was our Sweetie's third birthday. I cannot believe it has been three years since our baby girl was born. She is a beautiful, smart and funny little girl and we are so, so blessed.

I've had two basketball games two nights in a row...before you go thinkin' that I'm some kind of coach, I'll preempt you and tell you that I am in charge of the pep band at our high school. Two nights in a row--especially when one of the nights is baby's birthday and I'm sad to be gone that evening--wears me out a bit. So.....I am glad that is past. And I have Friday and Monday off from school....yesss!

Today you can catch me over at Our Crazy Ever After, posting on everyone's favorite January topic......organization. 

If you have never checked out Lauren's blog, you will love her and her crazy humor! Click on her blog button to take you there.

Our Crazy Ever After

See you there to get your de-crapping on......!

Monday, January 9, 2012

An old bottle.....

Check out this bottle.....

My husband gave this to me on our first Christmas together......this would be December, 2011. We had gotten engaged just a few days before.....and the note inside said, "To drink on our 10th Christmas together."

Well, this was it. : ) It's hard to believe it's been ten years. As he would say, "The longest ten years of my life." 

He's so funny. Don't you think? : )

We were pretty worn out by the time Christmas day evening rolled around, so we decided to enjoy our bottle on the 26th. 

I did a little research to see what kind of food would be complementary to champagne. 

Keep in mind that we are on a budget.

Besides super fancy food (think snails or caviar), my research indicated that fried food would enhance the flavor--or the notes, as the articles put it--of our champagne.

So.....we chose a sampling of White Castle's fine fried foods. White Castle opened about 3/4 of a mile away from us about six months ago. And this is the first time we have patronized it. They have some breakfast sandwiches that look killer.

I must say, the taste of the champagne was quite unlike any other I've had. It was not very sweet....definitely a sparkling wine, I guess. Can you tell I'm quite the connoisseur of champagnes?

Somewhere, I'm sure a wine snob is throwing up his or her mouth a little bit. I don't care....it was perfect.

Here's to the next ten.....: )

Sunday, January 8, 2012

No more holidays....but it's still winter....

Hey, hey, hey...well, here we are, knee-deep into January. Perhaps I have alluded to my feelings before in this forum, but I kinda hate January and February. I really have a hard time getting excited about anything in these two months. And just last week, I posted about how much I hate New Year's Eve. I bet you can hardly stand the positive vibes emanating from my blog!!

It's cold. It gets dark early. When I get home, I want to do nothing but curl up on the couch for the rest of the night. Now that I have children, I cannot do such a thing. They want to do things not related to curling up on the couch. And they have to be fed.

It's gotten a little better in the last few years. My daughter's birthday is this week. That makes for a little bit of fun and excitement. : ) My birthday is at the end of February. That, along with the Golden Globes next week, makes up the extent of my post-holiday, winter excitement. Having Christmas s^&* going on during December is about the only thing that makes that month any fun and tolerable. 

Sorry about being a little MIA last week....we started back to school and said daughter's party is this weekend, so I've been a bit preoccupied with all of that! Returning to the kiddies at school after about 2.5 weeks off was shock to the system. It was a nice long break. : )

So....I will be beating the winter blues by guest posting with Emily over at Domestic Deadline this week about just that. 


And I got some new little things done around the abode to show off to you all. So stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

What a ham

You know, sometimes you gotta just toot your own horn. I'm feeling accomplished this week at my attempted culinary feat.

You also must know that although I possess some gifts, cooking and baking is not one of them. I describe myself as a functional cook. I have a few good recipes that I know how to make well and they get the job done, but you'll never find me creating new recipes or looking forward all day to trying out something new in the kitchen. 

Each year, my mom and dad are sent a Honeybaked ham as a holiday gift. It rocks for us, since my mom calls me up and asks me to cut it up and bring her back a slab of the prime pieces. I then proceed to cut up the rest....we use some and freeze some.

And.......every year, I've stuck that d&*$ ham bone in a baggie in the back of the fridge and told myself I'd make some soup. Well, this year I did. Buh-bam.

I started with two bags of beans. They got soaked overnight, 6 cups of water per 16oz of beans. I drained them the next morning. I should preface this by saying that I was not totally convinced this would work.

I put the ham bone in the pot with the soaked beans and 6 more cups of water. I put the pot on low all day.

After 4-5 hours, I added some salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and some Italian seasoning. I also threw in some corn and shredded potatoes that I had on hand in the freezer.

Miraculously, most of the meat fell off the bone. Yum!

It was quite tasty and filling, if I do say so myself.

After a day of doing some of that, it was much appreciated soup! Okay, it wasn't that much snow, but since we haven't had any, we'll take it. Or at least the kids did. : )

Party Time......
Time Travel Thursday at The Brambleberry Cottage
Fridays Unfolded at Stuff and Nonsense
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
Show and Share Day at Just a Girl
Simply Creations Link Party at Simple Home Life
Addicts (not so) Anonymous Addicted to Decorating
Sunday Showcase Party at Under the Table and Dreaming
Project Parade at The DIY Showoff
Creative Bloggers' Party and Hop at Homemaker on a Dime
Tip-Toe Thru Tuesday at Crayon Freckles
Sunday Shake-up at Jacque's Soda Parlor
Fabulous Friday at Ohh Baby
Pinspirational Thursday at The Artsy Girl Connection
Make the Scene Monday at Alderberry Hill
Sunday Salvation at Sassafras Salvation
Tuesday Talent Show at Chef n Training
Flaunt Your Flowers  at Tootsie Time
What I Wore/What's Up Wednesday at Rae Gun Ramblings

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year 2012

Happy New Year to you. I have to be honest here....I kind of hate NYE. I think it might possibly be the lamest holiday ever. Or the most overrated. If you don't have the coolest plans ever, then you are a complete loser. I think the one I remember the most is the one where it became 2000.

One of my least memorable would be when I spent the evening with my friend and her boyfriend at his apartment. LAME. The only upside was that the next day, I had my second date with my now-husband. I think a NYE date would have been way too much pressure for a second date, don't you? I suspect--but am not sure--that my husband's NYE that year was equally as lame.

So, last night, my husband watched college basketball and I fell asleep on the couch around 9:45. Miraculously, I awoke at 11:57pm. To Lady GaGa (Gaga? Ga Ga?) starting the big ball that falls.

So, because of our lameness, here is how we ring in 2012 in our household....the next morning.

Party hats, noisemakers, mimosas and egg, bacon and cheese sandwiches. Can't go wrong.

I'm pretty excited for 2012...2011 was certainly a wild ride and I'm ready for this one.