Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happy Leap Day

Happy Leap Day! All you leap babies, you're four years older today... haha.

The last time February was this long, it was 2008. Just for fun, and since Facebook Timeline makes it so easy, I ran through my 2008 FB year to see how much has changed. What a TRIP.

In 2008, I was in the midst of my Sophomore year in college.  In 2012, I am now teaching Sophomores in college. This absolutely blows my mind. I still feel like a kid.
via MSU
In 2008, many of my friends still refused to get a Facebook.  The funnier reason is why: Myspace. 
Can't bring myself to link to original source, it's bad.
In 2008, I worked at the college switchboard answering phones and writing papers simultaneously. I still answer phones in 2012, but now it's in the midst of grading papers, and my students work the switchboard.

via Workface

In 2008, I went on a camping trip to Big Sur with eight people I knew only a little bit. In 2012, I call some of them my best friends (none of the pictures we took would be worth the humiliation they would cause being posted online again, so I'll post a picture of the scenery. Pretty!)
Photo Cred Amy
{Conversely, almost all of my friends in 2008 are no longer in my life in 2012}

In 2008 {in February, at least}, I had never heard of this "Tim" fellow. In 2012, I share his last name.

2008 was also the year I made the decision that I would apply to study abroad in Thailand, my best friend turned 21, my brother moved to San Diego, I worked at Arlen Ness Motorcycles, and the wheel fell off of my car when I was driving. It was an eventful year.
My seat in the San Diego moving van.. Ouch!
One of my two desks at Arlen Ness
Jacking up my car to reattach the wheel and lost lug nuts.
In the middle of the street

What were you doing in last leap year?

Monday, February 27, 2012

Custom-Color Chalkboard Paint (with recipe!)

What is it about chalkboards that are so popular right now?

When I was planning our wedding, I noticed chalkboards EVERYWHERE in the wedding blogosphere, and they're becoming more and more popular in everyday home decor. Seriously, I see new chalkboard projects on pinterest like every day.

Source: 1 2 3, 4 5 6, 7 8 9
So many cool options!

Husband and I rent, and although we've been given permission to paint the walls, we'd rather not invest too much moolah into a space that isn't going to be ours for too much longer. SO, a chalkboard wall is probably out of the question. And, if I did a bunch of black chalkboards with neutral frames and hung them on a white wall, it would be BOOOOORRRING.
This looks a little bit more "exciting" on a wall :)

The recipe for custom-colored chalkboard paint is simple:
1 cup paint
1Tbsp NON-SANDED grout.

I've read that you should use latex paint, I've also read that anything other than flat wall-paint will not work; it really doesn't matter. I've tried this with latex paint, water based paint, even satin-finish paint, and it still works every time. I personally liked the result best when using flat water-based paint, but I think that chalkboards shouldn't really be shiny. So moral of the story: use whatever you've got.
Mix the ingredients well; it will be slightly lumpy when mixed but will dry really smooth (unless your paint has been sitting out for a couple days. That's what I did for one of my projects, and trust me when I say don't do that...)

After several coats of the chalkboard paint mixture (letting them completely dry in between coats), you have to prep the surface. I don't have a picture of this part of the process, but you basically just lightly color all over the whole chalkboard surface with the side of a piece of chalk and then erase it. It will ensure that whatever you write on the board will completely erase (rather than leaving those ghost words that don't really come off).

I found a picture frame at the Thrift Store that had beautiful detailing, so I pulled the glass out and painted the chalkboard paint on that. It was beautiful, and perfectly smooth, until...

Sad broken chalkboard :( I haven't thrown it away yet. I'll eventually cut a piece of plywood to fit, but this works for now :) I also painted the backing of a broken Ikea frame and am currently using it in our living room.
Overall, I'm pretty happy with my chalkboard paint experiment. I love the pop of color the bright chalkboard brings to the room, and love how colored chalk looks on the teal background. It was a great way to repurpose a frame that would have otherwise ended up in the trash!

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Linking up here: C.R.A.F.T., The Southern Institute, Between Naps On The Porch, Skip to my Lou, Marvelously Messy and Harper's Happenings

Friday, February 24, 2012

Road Trip!

Car is packed, phone is {mostly} charged, neighbors are watching the house.
So long, city-slickas. I'm hometown-bound. :D Have a great weekend, everyone!

(I can never say "Homeward Bound" without thinking of this movie. Am I alone in that?)
via IMDB

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Lots of awesome, hardly any awkward

This week was a lot more awesome than awkward, so I've devoted a post to JUST the awesome bits!

Three day weekend (for me) filled with sun and scooters, kindles in coffee shops, open houses, Gold Rush (Darn you Discovery Channel for being so entertaining!), lunch dates with the working husband, etc etc etc. Back to the daily grind is even harder when a weekend is so amazing.
via FanPop
Getting PTSD-like flashbacks to walking down the aisle on our wedding day whenever my processional song comes up on my "Grading Music" Pandora station {PTSD-like, of course, because these are good flashbacks, not stress-inducing ones}. I hear the first few notes and my heart goes all pitter-patter. On the flip side, though, I still can't hear my bridesmaid processional song without feeling dizzy and nauseated.
Actually catching a glaring and slightly embarrassing spelling mistake in a comment I left on a student's paper. This is considered an awesome part of my week because I usually just send them out without double-checking, so I was lucky this time. I had said "good job describing your studly procedures" rather than "study procedures". That could have been embarrassing...
via Valerie at Large
Finding my PHONE! It was lost for a week and a half, and it's been amazing being back in each other's lives. I have completely forgiven it for running away. 
Editing is mine, but photos are via SplitPease and Pective
Having some of my posts pinned on Pinterest! I know I'm supposed to be a cool, calm, and collected blogger and pretend like this happens all the time, but I CAN'T HELP IT! I'm stoked people find my ramblings somewhat helpful :)

Just a few {short} snippets of my past week! 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

When being AntiSocial isn't a bad thing.

I discovered a really handy computer program last week, and I thought I would share what I've found.

Facebook can be a serious productivity problem. I usually don't go on FB when I'm at work (I am usually pretty good about keeping it to my lunch and 10 min breaks), but I remember those times in college when I would be "studying" and wind up surfing facebook or my other preferred time-wasting websites for hours and hours on end. Productivity shot.  My "study breaks" would wind up being hours and hours long and I would have to start taking breaks TO study. 

{I feel like I can't be the only one with that problem here.}

Enter AntiSocial. Blocks Facebook, Twitter, and any other sites you tell it to. (ColdTurkey does the same thing for PCs. They make me use a Mac at work)

WHOO HOO! via Comic Vine

I first heard about it on a blog I stumbled on, and I figured what the heck, why not? Even though I don't really waste much time on facebook, it could come in handy when I'm finding myself losing focus.

I wish I had known about it sooner. At this point, I'm using the trial version (they haven't forced me to register yet, haha!). But it's changed my life.

This little gem makes you REBOOT your computer if you want to check the blocked sites before the time limit has been met. And that's major shame if I restart just to check recent newsfeed updates. :)

You can set it to block sites for any length of time between 1 minute and 8 hours, and you can access ANY other internet site except for the ones you indicate (Twitter and Facebook are automatically blocked).

There are just a couple weird things about it that I've discovered when using it {although I could just be non tech-savvy}:
  1. You have to force-quit the program if you need to shut down your computer before your allotted time is up. Why, I'm not sure, but it's bizarre. So if you decide to use the program, make sure to give you some time at the end of the day of "unblocked" time.
  2. It won't let you download email attachments while the program is running? That's another weird one. I need this capability every day at work, so I have to REALLY want to isolate myself if I want to use this.
Because of these things (especially the second one!), I can't use it at work all the time, but I thought someone else might find it helpful! Do you think you'd use something like this?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Channeling Mad Men

Long weekends are the BEST. Except, of course, when one of us gets Monday off and the other does not. BLAST! In hindsight, it makes perfect sense why husband didn't want to go run off and travel somewhere awesome this weekend--it was just a normal weekend for him. 

He made up for it with a swanky night out on the town (followed by some shopping, he knows me well!).
 We visited a really cool bar called Marquee  (if you live in SB you should DEFINITELY go)

It's a ritzy (but still affordable) cocktail lounge tucked beneath the marquee of the historic Granada Theater. It's suuuuper cool.
Old-Hollywood meets Deco Chic (terminology borrowed from Happy Hour Housewives of SB). This place makes me feel like I'm a character in Mad Men, a show with which I've embarrassingly fallen hopelessly in love. Husband channeled the 60's ad-man persona (in drink only, thankfully), and had an Old Fashioned, while I sampled a cocktail featuring Champagne and Elderflower liqueur, shown at top.
They had absolutely delicious apps, including to-die-for paninis and super-yummy cheese plates, which we've had the pleasure of sampling throughout the course of several date nights.

If you've never gone to Marquee, seriously go check it out (SB locals FYI, it's an Axxess 2-for-1 deal. Random fact: It's owned by the same people as Blush).

In all, it was a great evening, and a great start to a low-key weekend (spent primarily in coffee shops reading or watching the Discovery Channel while folding laundry. That channel is addicting!). 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Pinspired: {Low-Cal} Mini Spinach & Artichoke Breadbowls

A few weeks ago, I came across this picture on Pinterest:
Picky Palate via Pinterest
It got me thinking. What is the first thing that pops into your mind when you think of spinach dip? Sour creeeeeeeeeeeeeeam. Artichoke dip? Mayooooooooooooooooooo.

Pretty gross, right?

Well, I LOVE dip, and don't think that calories and fat should keep us apart.


Clearly I need to find a way to lighten up some of my faves.

I absolutely LOVED the idea of putting the dip in mini-breadbowls, so I used refrigerated pie crusts.  The husband loved them with the pie crust, but I think next time I'll try using tortillas pressed into the muffin cups. They'd crisp up like chips and let the dip stand out.

Here's my recipe (very loosely inspired by the Picky Palate one)

  • 1 1/2c frozen spinach, thawed, OR ~2c fresh spinach
  • 1 can (or about 8 oz) Artichoke hearts, drained, VERY finely chopped. 
  • 1/2c light Mayo
  • 1/3c Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped.
  • 1/3c Parmesan Cheese * 
  • Refrigerated Pie Crust, Bread Dough, Tortillas, etc. (whatever you want to be your "bowl")
You'll also need:
  • Mini-Muffin Tin
  • Cooking Spray
*I didn't have this but would DEFINITELY use it next time!
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 
  • Mix together all the ingredients in a bowl. Complicated, I know. Savor the fact that your tummy and your waistline will thank you for being so kind to them. (if you use fresh spinach, you'll need to steam it first; stick it in the microwave for like 30s with a 1/2 tsp of water. )
  • Spray the muffin tins with cooking spray. Press the bread bowl material (pie crust, bread dough, tortillas, etc) into each muffin tin, making sure to make it thin. I love my carbs but you want the dip to be the shining ingredient here!
  • Scoop the dip (a little more than 1Tbsp) into each cup, making sure to fill it a teensy bit extra-full (it will compact a little when baked). 

  • Reduce the heat to 350 degrees, bake for 15 minutes or until the tops are lightly browned.
Perfection! I had some leftover dip, so I tossed it in a ramekin to bake sans-breadbowl. Delicious both ways! 
I may or may not have had this for dinner. It's a vegetable, right?

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Linking up here!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A & A Thursday (that's awkward and awesome, of course)

  • Finally getting hit with the flu bug that's been traveling around campus. I don't know what the deal is! Why does a sick day sound so much better than it actually is? We glorify taking sick days, but they really just suck. By day two of my sickness I was not sleepy anymore (I'd slept the entire day before), but was still too weak to do anything else. I felt like I belonged in this video:
If you've never seen Muppet Treasure Island (1996) before, please do. 
  • Realizing that it doesn't matter if I live in a dorm room or a two bedroom apartment. I will still find a way to lose my phone for days (it's still missing). When I find it, the only person who will have called me during that time was me, trying to locate it. Whoops. (It's STILL missing. It's been almost a week).
via madaxeman
    • FINALLY noticing how quickly I can go from "Honey, we're not going to make the reservation; you're not even going the speed limit!!" to "Oh my gosh you're going to get us arrested!". Those two phrases seriously came out of my mouth one after the other. Sorry, everyone who's ever driven with me.
    • Playing Tourist over the weekend in our city! We hit the Visitor's Center and got all kinds of "What to do" kinds of brochures, which taught us a lot abut our city and gave us TONS of coupons for free stuff! We've lived here for almost six years, how is this the first time we've ever done this?? We tried a new restaurant and got kick-behind food and $3 mimosas, which was also awesome.
    • Having ridiculous conversations before drifting off to sleep. Like, for example, how weird would it be if your bed would travel throughout the night, Bedknobs and Broomsticks style? You'd go to sleep in one room and wake up somewhere else, and not have a clue what happened...? No? Just me then... See, ridiculous!
    • Being able to have a fantastic Valentine's Day despite a crappy venue. The restaurant did NOT deliver as expected, but that was fine, we still had a blast (side note, don't go eat where we got married: they totally deliver when it's for a tasting but can't seem to do well for an actual meal. Five courses, and only one was okay? Yick). It's a good thing V-day is about more than just a fancy dinner date and pink balloon hearts.
    • OH and I just baked a cake using JUST boxed cake mix and {part of} a can of soda for tonight. I needed something quick for Home Group tonight, and thought I'd try it out. The test cupcake was delicious, so we'll see how it goes. 

    Wednesday, February 15, 2012

    Pinspiration: Bow Ring

    Since yesterday was Valentine's day, I think it's time to post about a cutesy project.  

    When the husband and I were looking around for wedding bands, we peeked into Tiffany's (It's fun to dream), and my eyes were drawn to this particular lovely:
    via Tiffany

    Whimsical and dainty, it was absolutely adorable and reminded me of those "Don't Forget!" strings I would tie around my finger when I was in Elementary School. The saleslady let me try it on, bless her, and I filed it away in my "someday" file. I completely forgot about it until I ran across this picture on Pinterest:
    Pinterest via muyinmolly
    It was perfect, and so simple. I had some experience with wire art for my wedding (you can see a peek of one of my creations in my photobook post here!), so I thought: I could totally make that. 

    via Callaloo Soup, formerly on Etsy
    I did some research online on Etsy and Google to see what other techniques could be used to make a bow ring, and found a bunch of ideas:

    via wirewrap
    via Sheek Inc

    Clearly I'm not the first to try this myself. It took quite a few tries, and the first few were REALLY wonky. But I just switched on The Bachelorette and started playing with the wire until I got the shape and size right. Ultimately, though, I'm pretty pleased with the result.

    It's a little bigger, and it's a lot less precise (easier to see the technique on mine than the inspiration), but I'm pretty happy with it.

    I hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday!!

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    </p><p>http://www.thethriftyhome.comPhotobucket and here


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