Thursday, February 28, 2013

Recent Acquisition

We've been on the waiting list to get this game for awhile.

Cards Against Humanity.  The tag line is "A party game for horrible people."  And it certainly does make you horrible. Horrible and funny.  Think about an X-rated Apples to Apples.  Yeah, it is awesome.  Pretty much anytime someone comes over to our house they will be subjected to this game. 

Relaxing just before playing:

The paws (ours and visiting) can't understand what the fuss is about and why we're sitting around.  If only they knew what MechaHilter was, they'd be having a good time too.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Paws vs. Little Feet

We are in our early thirties and have been married for a year and a half so we inevitably get the “when are you having a baby” question (mostly from distant family and acquaintances, luckily not so much from close friends and family).  My standard answer has become when there is something to know, you’ll know.* No one seems to give us credit for the paws we have. So here, some ways that paws are just like little feet:
  1. Sleeping in is something I vaguely remember from way back when.
  2. The paws’ behavior reflects on us, causing me to be smugly proud (my dog doesn’t grab food off the coffee table) or horrifically embarrassed (“uh, sorry my dog peed on your Christmas tree”).
  3. They give us an excuse to leave the party at 10 (we’re old yo!)
  4. I talk about poop way more than anyone wants to hear about it.
  5. They cause you to meet people you wouldn’t meet otherwise (I know all my neighbors with dogs - by their dog’s name.  Other neighbors know exactly who I am talking about when I say, “Baxter’s dad.”).
  6. When they are snuggled in your lap, perfectly content, your heart bursts with love. 
Okay, okay, before you get all concerned -- I do know that paws and little feet are not exactly the same.  For example:
  1. You can’t leave your baby in a crate with a chew toy and water and go off to happy hour (even if you’ll be home by 10:30).
  2. You can’t make fun of your kid right in front of her face in a sing song way and have her get super excited about it (at least not for long).
  3. Microchipping your kid is generally frowned upon (although GPS tracking may be okay?)        
See Kevin's heart bursting with love.  Bursting I tell you.  

*This has gone over WAY better than my previous snarky answer: “Well we tried really hard last night but I don’t feel any different today.”  Shocking Great Aunt Mu-Mu didn't like that answer.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Cheap vs. Thrifty: A Series

I hate the word "cheap."  Maybe not everyone has bad connotations with this word but to me it conjures images of someone who stiffs waitresses, will let you buy her drinks but never picks up yours, is stingy about every dollar she spends.  That is not me and I get very offended when someone calls me cheap.  I prefer the word "thrifty."  Kevin and I strive to live below our means in order to secure our financial future and prioritize what is meaningful to us.  We find joy in traveling, spending time with family and friends, and pursuing our hobbies.  For us to do those well, it has meant driving old cars, (until recently) living in a tiny apartment, and not shopping or eating out very often.  I'm starting a new series: Cheap vs. Thrifty (feel free to tell me if I've gone over the line to cheap) where I tell you about some of the ways we save money.

Cheap vs. Thrifty: Six Rules for Shopping at Goodwill

I had many resolutions in 2012 including, (1) using a ceramic plate for lunches at work rather than disposable Styrofoam  (2) exercising five days a week; (3) only eating meat from animals who had some quality of life; (4) not buying any new clothes – only “new to me” clothes.  The exercising five days a week got abandoned very quickly and we did so-so on eating happy animals.  I succeeded at using a ceramic plate at work – either when I bought at the cafeteria or warmed up leftovers from home.  I also succeeded at only buying clothes at consignment and thrift stores – for the whole year guys – it was HARD.  You can find some good stuff with ease at high end consignment stores and with some patience at Goodwill.  Here are my six tips for a successful Goodwill/consignment store buying experience:

  1. Do not be in a rush.  Some stores are better than others in terms of categorizing, but you need lots of time.  Leave your easily bored husband (or child if applicable) behind.
  2. It’s okay to be a label snob.  I only look for brands I know and respect: Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Gap, high end designers and department stores.
  3. It has to pass for brand spanking new. Seriously, if it looks dingy on the hanger it will look worse after you've worn and washed it a few times.
  4. Try everything on.  Seriously 2x.
  5. If it is cheap enough, it is okay to take a risk.  It can always go right back in the donate pile.  I think of it giving to charity times two since hopefully they will sell it again.
  6. When in doubt, leave it behind.  Unless rule 5 applies.

Over the last year I've gotten two cashmere sweaters for $15 each, two sweater dresses (one Calvin Klein) for $15 each, a new with tags Ann Taylor skirt for $12, old navy jeans for $7, various Banana and Gap t-shirts for about $5 each.  I love it when I get compliments on something –I never reveal that it was a steal, I just silently congratulate myself on my thriftiness (not cheapness).

I will admit that one of my first acts of 2013 was to buy some new NEW clothes (on sale -- can't go too crazy right out of the gate).  But I will continue to shop second hand throughout the year.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Jewelry Storage

I had been wanting to reorganize my jewelry for awhile now.

I forgot to take a before picture, but if you would imagine everything in a jumbled mess in that jewelry box.

I had two objectives: The first was to make it so I would be able to see all of my jewelry at once and not have to go digging.  I would often wear the same jewelry for weeks on end because that is what was on top and all I could see.  I wanted a system that displayed most of it so I could utilize more of it.  My other objective was to not spend any money (so only repurpose stuff we already had).

Here is how I did:

In our wedding ceremony we had a "blessing of the rings" (while the ceremony was going on the rings passed through all of our guests so they could bless them). Here is a picture from the day:

I bought the ring bowl from Paloma's Nest (Etsy) with the intention of using it to store jewelry after the wedding. My studs fit nicely in there.

I also repurposed two wooden bowls for bracelets and necklaces as well as a teacup for hair accessories.  We're mug people (the bigger the better) so don't really have a use for the teacup set we have from Kevin's grandmother.  It works well for hairties though, I think I'll put another in the bathroom.

In our old apartment we didn't have a lot of cabinet space so used a mug tree.  We have plenty of cabinet space now.  As I was about to put it in the box destined for Goodwill, I thought it would be good for necklaces.

True inspiration hit for my earring holder.  I was stumped about what to do with my dangly earrings.  I was googling around for ideas and resigned to keeping an eye out for something at Goodwill when I looked up and saw an iron vase.  It is an antique my mom bought me a few years ago.  I've always liked it but we never used it as a vase and then I broke one of the three glasses that went into it.  I had been thinking about giving it away but now I've found a fantastic use for it:

(Its hard to imagine as a vase - where the earrings are is the bottom and three glass cylinder vases would go through the holes in the now back).

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Recent Acquisition

Happy Valentines Day friends! Kevin and I plan to celebrate the great saint and holiday of love by drinking wine in our pajamas.  True love I tell you.

I am really excited about my recent love themed acquisition though.  I was browsing Etsy and this shop was featured (probably because of Valentines Day).  I thought that this would make a good addition to what I was going to call "The Dog Staircase" and then noticed she also lives in upstate New York so I immediately bought it.

Here is the Dog Staircase in question:

(Kind of dark.  Somewhere down on the priority list is to paint so it is a bit brighter and a bit warmer.  Not sure when it will get bumped up)

And here are the other things I have planned for it (love themed to boot):

I have another framed Stephen Huneck print as well as pictures of us and our dogs our friend Lori  took a few years ago (might be time for another shoot).  I particularly love this one:

I was describing my vision to Kevin and he said it sounded great but what about Pippa?  Oops.  She is constantly reminded that she is a third class citizen in our house.

I quickly found this:

We saw this artist while browsing in Savannah last fall and this looks like her.  We'll also need to take some frame worthy pictures of her (definitely time for another shoot).  I'll even call it "The Paws Staircase."  Vision amended.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Next Thing

What we're saving for next:

The bathroom is pretty dated.  Yes, that is carpet - in the bathroom.  Yes, that is a short toilet - in powder blue. The shower is actually not that bad but we both have to turn sideways to get into it.  And the sinks/counter top desperately need to be updated.  We still made out pretty well - this is by far the worst room in the house and it is still amazing. Double sinks! Kevin has been dreaming about these for years -- he says I took more than my half of our old single sinkers (he might have been right).

Thursday, February 7, 2013


Hiking is a relative term.  We don't have mountains per se where we live here, but we can find some places to go let the dogs run around and get a good walk in.  Throw in some swim time and Roxy is in heaven.  Some photos from last fall:

Monday, February 4, 2013

Bugs of the South

Kevin and I went on a southern road trip last fall to Virginia, Georgia, and South Carolina.  I was taking a look at the pictures and noticed that we didn't take a lot of pictures but most of the ones we did were of bugs. So I present the Bugs of the South:

That one was particularly gnarly.  I kept my distance.
Okay, this one's not a bug but reptiles count.  So I guess this one does too:

A few other non-buggy ones from our trip: