Saturday, February 28, 2009

$300 Room Makeover!

For the first 3 months living in our new house, the dining room was where we stored boxes we had yet to unpack. For the next 4 months, our dining room was completely empty. Then, I just couldn't take it anymore and told Michael we HAD to do something about it. He said "ok, see what you can do with $300". If you know me at all, you have to know I felt very defeated. I'm not so good at being frugal and finding bargains. Usually, if I need a new dress, I simply go to Nordstrom, avoid the sale rack and lay down however much it costs for the dress that I like the most. If I need a new piece of furniture, I go to a place like Haverty's a buy it. Well, not anymore! We are officially ON A BUDGET in the hopes of one day having a baby and me becoming a stay-at-home mommy. So I can live with being on a budget for that reason. :)

So there I was with $300 and feeling blue....I started searching Craig's List and could not believe my eyes when I found a dining room table, 6 chairs, and a china hutch for sale for $100!! I immmediately put in a bid for $125! :) And got a call later that day. The lady said I was one of 12 bidders within the hour that she posted and because I had the highest bid, she called me first. Yay!!

Now the dining room set is not the best, but it fills up the room and provides me a great setting for hosting dinner parties! Also, I now have a place to store my Great Grandma Willis' china set.

Before we picked up the table, we had some work to do. I wanted to paint the room with a faux finish called "ragging". After we picked out our base color and glaze color for the top coat at Lowe's, we were ready to paint! Please note: if you are ever going to paint a room red, make SURE you start with a great primer! We took this advice and are so glad we did! We did one coat of primer, two coats of the base red color and then one top coat of the glaze applied using the ragging method.

Drumroll please.....the Before and After pictures!



FINAL PRODUCT - $300 Room Makeover!!!

We still need to paint or re-finish the table, chairs and hutch; add a rug; get new, longer drapes; and find something to add as the table centerpiece, but I think we're off to a great start!

I'm hoping this is just the first of MANY home improvement projects I will post to my blog. Working on the house is one of my favorite things to do! And with the help of my friend Christine (Interior Design & More), when I have some money to spend, I'm hoping to get things looking great. She is a FABULOUS interior designer!

Friday, February 27, 2009

These are a few of my favorite...PUPPY things!

I realize I JUST finished posting a comment in my below birthday post regarding how frugal I was (and proud of myself for being so frugal) with my birthday cake! Not to take away from that, but when it comes to my dogs, I am the first one to admit I am somewhat frivolous....but within reason. They don't wear clothes or shoes, but boy are they set when it comes to walks and car rides. They have the best of the best harnesses and car seats!

These harnesses are the BEST and last forever...not to mention, you can get them monogrammed! They are from G.W. Little.

And the car seats are awesome - also from G.W. Little! I LOVE taking my dogs to places like the Starbucks drive through, Lowe's, and anyplace that will allow it. There is truly nothing Madeline loves more than the wind in her hair and these car seats are the ticket! The harnesses, shown above, strap onto seatbelt, which holds the car seat in. The seats are crash tested and proven very safe for dogs. And now, they don't have to be transported in the covered carriers, which they hate and are so boring!

The seats are expensive, so I had not yet purchased one for Kosmo and he was getting super jealous of Madeline! But I received some birthday money and decided to get him the herringbone monogrammed car seat and its arriving next week!

Also on the list of favorite things are pet ID tags from Boomerang Tags. They have a wide variety of tags, but my favorite are the very durable plastic (a.k.a. quiet) tags that come in many different shapes and colors. The tags can be printed on both sides so you're able to provide tons of information. We have three phone numbers, our address, our names, the dog's name, and the message "Reward!" written on our dog's tags.

Last, but not least, if you have the same problem I do with strong chewers and have spent exorbitant amounts of money on toys only to have them chewed up 5 minutes later, the answer to your problems is the nylabone! It's the ONLY toy I will buy my dogs because it lasts and they LOVE it. Its got to be super strong, because they are able to chew up the "extreme" Kong toys, but not these. The chicken flavor nylabone, shown below, is the strongest of them all.

My dogs are quite the pair!! They are my babies and I LOVE LOVE LOVE them!!!!

I especially love this picture of Madeline chewing her nylabone with her tongue sticking out. Kosmo is a baby in this picture and isn't quite sure what to do with Madeline dominating all the toys!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Happy Birthday to ME!

I am officially 27 years old!! My birthday was on a Saturday this year, so we took full advantage and had a very fun celebration!! First was dinner and drinks at Ra Sushi followed by karaoke at D'Vine Wine! I actually think everyone had as much fun as I did!!

Thank you to everyone for the incredible outpouring of love on my birthday this year and for celebrating with me! You all definitely made it a birthday to remember...even those of you who couldn't make it.

See the slideshow below for some of the pictures from the night.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sad to see you go, Tatiana!!

Let's be honest...who didn't LOVE the entertainment that Tatiana del Toro, the infamous American Idol contestant from Puerto Rico provided during every single show?!?!

Anytime Tatiana was on camera, she provided great entertainment. For me anyway, it was constant laughs trying to figure out what she was going to do next!!

The really hilarious thing about Tatiana is that Michael actually compares me to her in my "over the top-ness" and thinks if I were ever to go on American Idol that I would provide the same dramatics and entertainment value. Really?!! What do you think!?!

Even though I'm sad to see her go, I was not surprised by the contestants that made it to the top 12. Although I wish it could have been three guys and no girl because I would have loved for Danny, Michael and Anoop to all make it!

For the first time, I feel....WICKED!

I LOVE musicals....always have! Some of my favorites are Annie, Sound of Music, Legally Blonde, Oklahoma, Gypsy, Footloose. But in my mind, nothing compares to Wicked.

Much of my love for musicals is thanks to my cousin, Kerri. We were born only 3 months apart and she is like a sister to me. We have literally spent our entire lives singing together and she always makes sure I know what songs I need to learn when it comes to musical theatre.

Kerri is an amazingly talented singer and actress. She recently completed the national broadway tour of Hairspray!

Right now, she is in Sarasota, Florida (a great city with a major theatre culture) and is starring in "Hula Hoop Sha-Boop" (she is on the left below).

Back to Wicked...
A couple of weekends ago, Michael and I were in the mood for karaoke, so we searched for places in Plano and came across D'Vine Wine. They had just started up karaoke on Saturday nights, so not many people knew about it yet. We were there with friends, Drew and Amy, and not more than 6 other people were there! So what does this mean? It means I can pretty much sing as much as I want to without having to wait on the DJ to call my name. Not only that, but we were able to bring in our own CDs and sing whatever we wanted. Very quickly, Amy and I realized we were gonna have to bring out the Wicked soundtrack! We sang Popular and Defying Gravity together and had so much fun!

Then, "As Long As You're Mine" came on. This is the love song that is performed by Elphaba and Fiyero. Anytime I'm performing Wicked for Michael, I make him sing this love song with me. :) So of course, he had to sing this one with me for karaoke! I just love the things he will do to make me happy!!!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day to my Husband!!

Year Round Valentine

I love you all through February,
Not just on Valentine’s Day;
I cherish you when flowers of spring
Appear in the midst of May.

I adore you in the summer,
When the air is filled with heat;
Without you in my life each day,
I wouldn’t be complete.

I treasure you in fall,
When leaves are turning gold;
I loved you when you were younger;
I’ll love you when you’re old.

I prize you in the winter,
When colder days are here;
I love you, love you all the time,
Every minute of the year.

So I’ll give to you this Valentine,
But I want to let you know,
It’s not just today, but always,
That I will love you so.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Little Houses

This is one of my all-time favorite songs (by one of my all-time favorite artists, Doug Stone)! It's extra special to me right now since it really echoes my desires for my marriage and family. The lyrics are a great reminder of appreciating the simple things in life and not getting caught up with "keeping up with the Joneses". I am slowly learning this since I have always wanted to BE the "Joneses". :) ha! There is no such thing as having it all.

"A little white house, in the heart of town,
On a little sad street, just a little run down,
Became a home, for Bill and Sue,
Two newlyweds, who did the best that they could do.
And when they brush each other, passin' in the hall,
Sue would smile and say: "This place is pretty small.
But you know, love grows best in little houses,
With fewer walls to separate,
Where you eat and sleep so close together.
You can't help but communicate,
Oh, and if we had more room between us, think of all we'd miss.
Love grows best, in houses just like this.

Before too long, Sue and Bill,
Were makin' plans, for Jack and Jill.
Oh, happy day, when the news came in
But what to do, when they found out Sue was having twins.
When they could not pass each other in the hall,
Well, Sue would smile and say: "This place is really, really small.
But you know, love grows best in little houses,
With fewer walls to separate,
Where you eat and sleep so close together.
You can't help but communicate,
Oh, and if we had more room between us, think of all we'd miss.
Love grows best, in houses just like this.

That little white frame house still keeps them warm,
Though it's been thirty-two years, since the kids were born,
And when they look back now, they hold each other tight,
And whisper in each other's ears: "You know you were right.
Because love grows best in little houses,
With fewer walls to separate,
Where you eat and sleep so close together.
You can't help but communicate,
Oh, and if we had more room between us,
think of all we'd miss.
Love grows best, in houses just like this.

Yeah, love grows best, in houses just like this."

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Reviving New Year's Resolutions

40 to 45% of American adult make one or more resolutions each year.

And the latest statistics are in: 30% of all resolutions are broken within the first week. The rest of them are out the window in less than a month. Not very encouraging for those of us working toward positive change!

I don't normally make "New Year's resolutions" for the New Year, but instead try to make them throughout the year.

My latest "resolution" is to save $30 a day by doing the following (Michael and me both... and yes, he is aware that this is his new resolution! haha):
This is a $12 savings from not parking downtown and on gas (its 30 miles less driving)

This is a $10 to $20 savings (depending on where Michael and I eat)

If I could make myself do this EVERY day, that saves me anywhere from $350 to $500 a month!!! And for a person like me where logic appeals me to very well, why don't I do this?!?!

1) Some days I do! Approx. 50% of the time right now
2) It takes 30 minutes longer to get to work when I ride the train
3) It takes 15 minutes longer to get ready in the morning when I have to make our lunches
4) Sometimes I just don't feel like having the same salad as usual (or last night's leftovers for lunch)...I'm not very creative in making lunches.
5) I like LEAVING the office during lunch!! I'm here long enough!
6) I love Potbelly's, Mi Cocina, Pei Wei, Chipolte
7) I am ok with riding the train in the morning, because I get to sit next to Michael but really hate sitting next to a stranger on the way home from work (I know, this is so petty)
8) Unlike Michael's work building, my building is not 10 feet from the train stop, it is several blocks, so if it's cold or raining, my walk is REALLY not fun at all
9) When we drive to work, we get to ride in the HOV lane
10) My car has seat heaters, the train does not

Okay, okay, ENOUGH excuses.....I've got to focus on that $ is completely within my reach!!! I've got to think of all the things I could do with that money! Or at the very least, I could save it. :) Plus, unlike most people, I only have to commute to work 4 days each week since I work from home one day a week.

Now that I have put this in writing, maybe I can do it. I'll let you know!

Why I am a nerd...

There has always been a big part of me that screams "nerd" and it seems to be getting worse every day. Here are some things that confirm my nerd-ness:

1. I am not ashamed that I started a blog.
2. I only have a facebook, myspace or any other website like that.
3. I am always a "late adopter" when it comes to technology. Some examples of this are that I don't have an iPhone (could think of so many other things to spend money on - like fixing my garage or planting spring flowers), I don't have any new TVs in my house and see no reason why I should (sorry Michael!), I still can't figure out how to use my iPod mini.

4. I listen to NO current music (except Britney Spears of course) and have no shame for still loving Sandi Patty. I could literally not name 2 songs that are popular right now.

5. I actually think minivans are cool and would like to have one when I have kids.

6. I wear those backless tennis shoe clog things to work because I have to walk several blocks from my car to the train and from the train stop downtown to my office. I keep 2 pairs of work shoes in my desk drawer and switch off between those every day.

7. I perform concerts for Michael with set lists and everything (I have been doing this for anyone who will watch since I was 2 years old).

8. I make Michael watch dances that I choreograph on the fly.
9. I didn't start wearing jeans until the 7th grade. Really because I felt I had to...before that, I wore jumpers and skirts and dresses to school. I never thought jeans were comfortable or looked cute and I liked dressing as girly as possible.
10. I still don't like jeans.
11. My favorite pair of jeans I ever had were my "rockies".

12. Recently, I had a work lunch at Stephan Pyles downtown. As I was walking in the door, I slipped and fell flat on the floor face down. Things like this happen all the time.

13. I am totally uncoordinated unless I am dancing.
14. I like to DVR old shows. I get on random kicks where I will record Three's Company, Brady Bunch, I Love Lucy, Leave it to Beaver, Who's the Boss, etc. The latest old show I've been watching DAILY is Growing Pains!

16. I love Dance Dance Revolution! I own the serious DDR metal dance pads and pretty much have a room in my house devoted to DDR. The only problem is that I prefer to play DDR at an arcade so that people gather around to see my amazingness!

17. I use a rolling bag for my laptop to get to and from work and at the end of the day, I load it up with my purse, lunchbox and coat. All these things inevitably fall during my trek to the train, but I keep trying to make it work anyway.
18. I'm so obsessed with the brickbreaker game on BlackBerry that even though my cell phone is a pink Razr, I carry around (and keep charged) a BlackBerry that I use for the sole purpose of playing brickbreaker.
19. I love High School Musical, Hannah Montana, The Jonas Brothers, and pretty much anything else in the tween category.

20. As you can see from my previous 24 post, I love action movies, BUT...I also love tween movies like Princess Diaries, The Prince and Me, and 13 Going on 30.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

#1 Rule to Live By: Never Question Jack's Authority

There truly are only two kinds of people in this world:
1) People who love the show 24
2) People who have never seen the show 24

For those of you who don't know yet, Jack is back! Season 7 of 24 kicked off on Sunday, January 11th. In the spirit of the return of the show, here are a few of my favorite things about Jack Bauer (in no particular order):

Jack Bauer once stepped into quicksand. The quicksand couldn't escape and nearly drowned.

There are two hands that can beat a royal flush. Jack Bauer's right hand and Jack Bauer's left hand.

The city of Los Angeles once named a street after Jack Bauer in gratitude for his saving the city several times. They had to rename it after people kept dying when they tried to cross the street. No one crosses Jack Bauer and lives.

Most people would need months to recover from 20 months of Chinese interrogation. Jack Bauer needs a shower, a shave and a change of clothes.

When a convicted terrorist was sentenced to face Jack Bauer, he appealed to have the sentence reduced to death.

On Jack Bauer's Tax Returns, he has to claim the entire world as his dependents.

Jack Bauer definitely loves his daughter; he wouldn't let anyone else who made that many stupid decisions live.

Jack Bauer always tests positive for steroids. Not that he uses steroids. It's because steroids are made from Jack Bauer.

When Jack Bauer ran out of ammo, he caught 3 bullets in his chest and used them to reload.

When Kim Bauer lost her virginity, Jack Bauer found it and put it back.

The state of California plans to reduce violent crime by changing the method of capital punishment from lethal injection to Jack Bauer.

Mission Impossible is just another way of saying Mission Without Jack Bauer.

You can tell how much Jack Bauer likes you by how far above your kneecap he shoots you.

Jack Bauer can torture you into giving up information you do not possess.

If Jack Bauer was in a room with Hitler, Stalin, and Nina Meyers, and he had a gun with 2 bullets, he'd shoot Nina twice.

If you wake up in the morning, it's because Jack Bauer spared your life.

Superman wears Jack Bauer pajamas.

Jack Bauer once forgot where he put his keys. He then spent the next half-hour torturing himself until he gave up the location of the keys.

Jack Bauer was never addicted to heroin. Heroin was addicted to Jack Bauer.

Jack Bauer played Russian Roulette with a fully loaded gun and won.

Jack Bauer once won a game of Connect 4 in 3 moves.

When the boogie man goes to sleep, he checks his closet for Jack Bauer.

In kindergarten, Jack Bauer killed a terrorist for Show and Tell.

What color is Jack Bauer's blood? Trick question. Jack Bauer does not bleed.

Jack Bauer has been to Mars. That's why there's no life on Mars.

Superman's only weakness is Kryptonite. Jack Bauer laughs at Superman for having a weakness.

It took Jack Bauer two minutes to beat a confession out of OJ.