A Fresh Face


 New Year...

New Adventures...


Head on over and check it out!

I'm Smitten

 

I've recently discovered Smitten Kitchen and am hooked.  I found the site through Pintrest and would recommend you checking it out as welll!  The blog has been around for over 6 years now, so you can scan and search through hundreds of recipes.  Also, she just released the above book and is doing a book tour around the U.S. in the next couple of months.  Check it out!

Funny


How to keep your cat off the counter.

Indulgences


My dear friend Molly has officially kicked off her bakery business.  Check out her website Flour & Whisk.  For those of you lucky enough to live in Ohio, you can consider her for your next event!

Pinning Activities

Now that I've got some time on my hands, I have figured out what everyone's obsession with Pintrest is and why its so addicting.  I've tried a couple of pins recently, and I wanted to share my results!

I have to say that some of it just looks so out there.  Please friends - don't put cooking oil, or honey, or peanut butter in your hair just because Pintrest says it'll make it grow faster!  I have not tried it, but it just sounds like a terrible idea!

Here are 5 much less risky explorations and my findings:

Pin #1: Rub dryer sheets on your baseboards to repel dust and animal dander.

{Photo Courtesy of Apartment Therapy}

Result: My dog sheds a ridiculous amount and the base boards next to his kennel get the brunt of it.  I decided to do a test and rub dryer sheets on one side but not the other.  I have to say that (1) there's no fragrance difference - it still smells like dog, and (2) there isn't a noticeable difference in pet hair on the base boards that I tested.  Maybe my dog's hair is just extra difficult, I don't know, but overall not worth your time in my opinion!

Pin #2: Use vinegar to clean build-up from your shower head.

 
{Photo courtesy of Homemaking Challenged}

Result: I used it on a faucet, not a shower head, but it worked pretty good.  I thought using alligator clips in the photo above was pretty crafty though.  I was able to pull the aerator off (which was the dirty part) and soak it in a container of vinegar.  I let it set for a day and there was a noticeable difference, but the build-up wasn't completely gone.  I then let it soak in Oxyclean for another day and that took care of any remaining build-up.  Overall - I think its a good tip.  We rent, so I have no idea of that section of the faucet was ever really cleaned prior to us.  If you used vinegar alone on a more regular basis, you might not need the Oxyclean.  I'm all for treating things with natural products that you may already have in your house first, before resorting to chemicals.

Pin #3: Homemade taco seasoning instead of the store bought packages, which can contain artificial ingredients.
 
 {Photo courtesy of $5 Dinners}

Result:  Easy and awesome.  Even more awesome if you already have all those spices on hand, which I thankfully did!  Make extra for future use!

Pin #4:  Pan-Roasted Chicken with Lemon-Garlic Green Beans

 {Photo Courtesy of Real Simple}


Result:  Eh...  I love one pan meals, but this wasn't one of the greatest.  You place the raw chicken directly on the vegetables - which I know is fine, but I just feel that browning chicken before baking gives better flavor, is less gross, and just looks more appetizing.  Also, since the green beans are right against the lemons, the lemon flavor is pretty overpowering.  I probably wont repeat this recipe, but its a good concept.  I think you could tweak it a little, and have it turn out better.

Pin #5: Crock Pot Honey Sesame Chicken

{Photo courtesy of The Comfort of Cooking}
Result:  This was great!  I didn't have a few of the ingredients, so I think mine was a little less impressive than if I had everything (I couldn't get green onions at the grocery and I was missing the corn starch to thicken the sauce).  I will definitely repeat this recipe and when I can find scallions, I want to simultaneously try this pin:   Regrowing your own scallions ~courtesy of Homemade Serenity

Dance Dares

I really need to watch Ellen more.  Check out the Dance Dare clips.  The one of Emma Stone cracks me up!


  {Photos Courtesy of the Huffington Post}

Thursday Laugh


This picture made me laugh today :)

Have a good Thursday!

Weird or Cool?

{Photo Courtesy of Apartment Therapy}
 
This thermochromic table is like a mood ring or a color changing pencil for your home.  The one with the biggest shadow - winner or loser?  Click *here* to read more.

Recent Cooking Adventures

As I mentioned, I'm always trying to cook on a budget.  I love cooking when I have the time (not so much though when I'm busy - cereal anyone?) and I definitely have the time right now.  My new year's resolution was to eat out less, and so far I think we've been doing a pretty good job. 

In my new found free time, I've been obsessively scouring all my favorite foodie blogs for new recipes and ideas.  The Food Gawker is a favorite of mine, it shows the most "favorited" foods in the past 24 hours.  Before Christmas it was all super sweet and heavy cakes, cookies, pies, etc.  It made me laugh when I looked today and saw a lot more healthy items had made the cut.  Apparently we all equally indulged this year.

My new favorite discovery is roasted tomatoes.  I'm obsessed.  They're so easy!  Below is a picture of some I made.  I've always liked roasted tomatoes, but didn't know how to do it until now.  I just had to share because it makes such an easy & cheap side dish for all meals (even breakfast - roasted tomatoes with eggs, yum!).  Also, if you line your dish with foil fist, then you can just throw it away and not have any dirty dishes when you're done.


Roasted Tomatoes
Preheat oven to 275
Cut tomatoes in half 
(I've been cutting a sliver off the top and bottom too so that they sit straight)
Place open face up in baking dish
Drizzle with Olive Oil
Sprinkle with salt & pepper
Sprinkle with chopped basil
Bake for 2 hours
For the last 10 minutes top with small sliver of cheese
(recommend: manchego, goat, parmesean, etc.)

Enjoy!

New Year

{She totally thinks I bought this for her}

Now that the holidays are over and everything is pretty much back to normal, I have to figure what my world is going to look like in the new year.  I'm now unemployed and am not sure what I want my next move to be.  After my last job turned out to be a flop, I find myself without faith in my profession and feeling like I need something to revitalize me.  I've sent out a bunch of resumes and have gone on a couple of interviews with local architecture firms.  I've received positive feedback, but most are holding off on hiring for the time being.  I'm not very confident that I will find something of substance in the 7-ish months we have remaining here and as time ticks on, it becomes more and more unreasonable for me to join a firm and just leave a couple months later.

In the meantime, while my epiphany awaits, I've signed myself up for a photography class and am going to start exploring other areas of interest.  I'm trying to enjoy the time off and am making some headway on my list of goals below (I've had two successful attempts at curling my hair, I've been going on runs every other day, we joined costco and I'm avidly working on my talent for cooking on a budget, and although I haven't started organizing - I've got a great start on a to do list :)

I can't say I'm done with design, because I do love it and I am passionate about it.  I just need to find another forum to practice it in that is more rewarding.  I'm tired of fighting tooth and nail for the opportunity to do what I've been trained to do.

So here's to a new year of adventures and discoveries!

Guten Tag!

I'm a little late with announcing this.  I had blinders on with Christmas I think, but we found out we'll be moving to Germany at the end of the summer!!  

This broad is going back abroad!

Below describes some of the merriment I plan to have:




More to come :)

The Bathroom Transformation

As aforementioned, we gave the half bath at my mother-in-law's house a refresh over the holiday.  It was QUITE a task!  We kept running into issues at every turn.  We had problems with the plumbing, we uncovered a horrible ceiling patch job when we removed the popcorn off the ceiling, the paint we bought ended up requiring four coats instead of the intended two, the hardware to the sink and toilet were completely corroded, etc.  But its done, thankfully!

Here's some photos of the process and the finished product.  It was hard to photograph because it was so tiny!

 Somewhat before the work started.  I didn't get in there with the camera quick enough before the wallpaper ripping started.  It came off really easily on the walls away from the light, but the stuff closer to the light was tough.  We think that maybe the heat from the light over time just set the glue.

The color selection begins.

All the wallpaper we have access to is off.  Now the sink and toilet need to be removed so we can access behind them.
 
The sink was not only caulked to the wall and floor, but was tipped back to the wall so it was caulked in a leaning position.  We kept running into really poor craftsmanship as we moved through the process.

I didn't get a photo of it, but next to the light fixture, the previous installers had cut in wiring from the light fixture to the light switch and instead of removing the wallpaper to patch the holes they made, they just applied netting and spackle OVER the wallpaper.  So all that needed to be fixed in this process.

The screws were so corroded on this old toilet that we had to drill into the screws to break them apart.

 Yummy.

 We scraped the popcorn ceiling off using vinegar and water.  It was a really messy job because the plaster gets glue-like as its being scraped off, but it came off fairly easily.  Unfortunately we discovered this hideous patch job in the process that had to be carefully sanded, patched, and plastered.

After removing the sink, we could finish removing the wall covering.  We also had better access to the plumbing fixtures, which were very corroded from age.  We replaced all that we could without making it a major plumbing job.

The room is completely stripped, all the cracks have been spackled and we're ready to paint!

This paint was intimidating.  We did this part of the job while everyone was asleep, so I was nervous Jason's mom would wake up and hate the color that she chose, but she loved it!  Whew!

 Nothing like painting at midnight :)  Apparently red is one of the hardest colors to get good coverage with.  Who knew?!  To make matters worse, we were painting directly on drywall, which I had never done before and it wasn't accepting the paint very well.  If you tried to do more than one pass with either the roller or the brush it would start to clump and pull itself off the wall.  It was horrible.  We ended up needing to do 4 coats of the base color red.

After finishing the 4 coats of base paint, we taped off vertical stripes with a laser level.  The base coat was an eggshell and the stripe is a high gloss paint.  The stripes are subtle and were really hard to photograph.  I think the effect turned out really nice though.  I had never done this before, so we were figuring things out as we went.

Another picture of the stripes and the newly painted wood base.

Finished!  This isn't the ta-da photo that I wanted (the room, again, was really hard to photograph).  To my defense though, this was taken at 6:15 in the morning.  We had worked through the night.  I had just installed that shelf seconds prior and we were 15 minutes late to leave for the airport!

We installed a new faucet, drain, shelf, glass shades for the light fixture, towel rack, toilet and sink plumbing hardware, a new toilet, a GFCI outlet, new white switch and outlet covers, and purchased new accessories (towels, soap dispenser, basket for TP, and scented oil). 

Fancy new toilet!  The box said "4x the flushing power the average human needs", haha.

Home Sweet Home

We returned to Colorado yesterday after being in Ohio for 11 days.  We had a great holiday with friends and family, but it feels so good to be back in our house! 
 
We gutted a bathroom at my mother-in-law's house over the holiday and it turned out to be a lot bigger of an undertaking than I had originally anticipated.  I'm happy to report though that after a couple hundred trips to Lowe's, its complete (well almost).  I will post photos soon, but blogger seems to not want me to upload pictures at the moment (grr...).
 
Hope you had a wonderful holiday!  I plan on on hibernating this weekend!