Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Happiness is . . .

. . . packing all of my preliminary exam books into boxes for the move,


. . . learning that a dear friend knows where to find a super cheap copy of Cupcakes,


. . . having only one month left until we close on our home!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Jillian Strikes AGAIN

I've read about the importance of varying your workout routine, but never paid it much mind. Since May, I ran almost daily and managed to work in some light weight lifting every few days. I liked my routine. I figured it worked. I felt healthy.

It turns out that repetition is the devil.

Yesterday, I decided to spend twenty minutes exercising with Jillian. The gym was overly deodorized (I don't know how anyone can tolerate the scent of the stuff they use to clean that room) and cold, so I opted to workout in our living room. Nearly three months after last working out with Jillian, I found myself talking back to the TV screen, sweating uncontrollably, and repeatedly telling G that Jillian was horribly brutal after a prolonged break even if I had been running and lifting some light weights. Maybe you're not surprised, though, based on my previous workouts with Jillian.

It was a mildly torturous twenty minutes, but I felt great by the cool down. In fact, I felt awesome the rest of the day. I decided I should do the workout first thing in the morning several days a week to make sure more muscle groups are exercised.

I felt that way until 6:45 this morning, when I stumbled out of bed to turn off my alarm clock (a good eight feet away). And I really did stumble. I wasn't prepared for the intensity of the pain that continues to radiate through my butt, upper thighs and armpits. Even now, at 9:30 PM, my husband, whose right calf and foot is confined to a plastic boot, moves with more grace and agility.

Needless to say, I did not do the 30 Day Shred this morning. I'll do my best to fight through the pain tomorrow morning, though...

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Things I Like: Martha Stewart Cupcakes

One of my friends received this awesome cookbook last weekend at her shower. Since then, I've spent a lot of time looking at it online. A lot. I'm trying my best to convince my husband that I need the cookbook. Help me, please.

Have a good weekend! We're off to my husband's favorite pizza place for lunch. This afternoon? Home Depot, our new favorite store. We're going to pick up some paint swatches. G has done a fabulous job of repairing the screw holes the walls of our apartment, but now we need to find some paint so we can finish the job. I hope you can buy paint in very, very small quantities. . .

Friday, July 24, 2009

To do, or not to do?

We're putting together a to-do list of things we want to take care of the weekend we close on our home.

Clean carpets.
Thoroughly clean every room.
Change locks.
Determine which walls need to be repainted.
Seal cement in garage.

That's doable, right? Are we being overly ambitious? What would you add to the list?

Also, would you add a radon test? The EPA offers discounted radon test kits, and I'm thinking it couldn't hurt to purchase one.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

My New Best Friend

While I was sweating through my orals, my husband was researching voice recording devices. I had scheduled my first interview for one week after my defense, so it was essential that we found one quickly. I happen to own a very cool mini cassette voice recorder c. 1990, but it only allows me to record just under 90 minutes of material. The door also needs to be taped shut, and the back is held together with duct tape. It works, but it's annoying. G found a relatively inexpensive Olympus recorder that can hold up to 220 hours of material. It's also smaller than a cell phone and pretty easy to operate. Fantastic!

I tried it out for the first time earlier this week. I was a little nervous that I would somehow mess up the recording and not be able to salvage any of the 104 minutes of our interview (and that's just the first part), but we just successfully transferred the material to the computer and it worked just fine. Plus, the quality is exceptional. I love this little thing.

Now if I could just find someone to transcribe the interviews for me. . .


Our weeks are pretty busy from now through mid-September, so I'm trying to get a head start on packing. A little early, I know, but I'm hopeful that starting now and packing up things we don't use everyday will mean less stress when we're actually moving into our new abode.

Liquor stores are great places to pick up sturdy, well-constructed boxes. Wine boxes are also nicely sized and easy to carry, which is why you see 8 of them in the above picture. Trust me, one wine case packed with books is about all you want to carry in one trip. If I filled a box that was any bigger with books it would be a major pain in the butt to carry.

While the liquor store is an excellent place to find boxes, we will need some larger sized boxes. Have some boxes you're not using? Know where we might find some free boxes? Let us know!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wall Art

Some pimpernel (or antique prints of other flowers, for that matter) would also be lovely juxtaposed with the map prints, yes? Maybe I can convince the husband to hunt down some antique stores with me this weekend. I'd rather see the prints in person than buy them online. I'm also convinced any other prints to be hung on the wall must be selected prior to the framing process so I only hang things once. Pottery Barn might make it look easy to put together a wall collage of asymmetrical frames, but I'm certain it won't be a simple task for me. The more prepared I am from the beginning, the better.

Any ideas as to where one might acquire small antique prints of birds, flowers, butterflies - all things nature - in the TC area?

Decorating Casa K

We may not have furniture for our new living room, but we do have art for the walls. Thanks to our parents, I have a collection of five antique maps. Two of the maps are of our hometowns/ counties, one is of the town we went to college in, one is of the state of Wisconsin, and the remaining map is of Saint Paul (close enough to our current place of residence). They've been carefully stored in our spare room for two years.

It is finally time to get them framed! I'm hoping to get some estimates for the project over the next few weeks. They'll require archival glass so the colors don't continue to fade, which means the price will be higher than I'd probably like to pay. Better to be safe than sorry. These maps weren't exactly cheap.

I'm imagining all of the maps on this wall:

I'd like to include some other framed pieces to mix it up a bit. Any ideas as to what might work? I was thinking that antique postcards of places we've visited might be cool. I'm also attracted to small antique prints of birds. Other ideas? Let me know. Please. I've never decorated a space and I have a feeling it will be slightly challenging for me. Any input is appreciated.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Home Projects: Basement Bathroom

The husband and I have spent a lot of time thinking about the changes we want to make to our new home. We're fortunate in that our home is in very good shape and we won't have any big projects that require our immediate attention. Eventually, we want to completely renovate the kitchen and dining room area, but we're not going to do much more than think about that project for the next few years.

Instead, we're going to tackle more manageable, cost-friendly projects like the bathroom in the basement and converting the storage room into a guest bedroom/office space. We'll start with the bathroom.

First up, the homemade vanity, complete with a lovely glass mirror, overhead lights that don't coordinate with any other fixtures in the room, and a cloth "door." What's that on the wallpaper border, you ask? Deer prancing through a forest.

Just to the right of the sink area is a closet that houses the water softener and some shelving. I'm all for extra storage space, but this particular closet is a little annoying. We'll have to work with it, though, because we don't have any other options. We're hoping to replace the shower curtain with a real door.

The depths of the closet.

The shower and toilet area. I'd love to replace that door with a wall, but I've been informed that's not possible. Apparently the only access to the shower is through that space, which means it needs to be accessible. Maybe a coat of white paint would make it look better?

I appreciate the fact that this was probably the man's bathroom (based on toiletries in the room and the amount of camo hanging in the storage room), but the wallpaper is just horrendous. I've spent some time reading about wallpaper removal and I'm determined to make it one of the first big projects I tackle.

Any advice on prepping walls that were once covered in wallpaper for paint? Any changes you'd make?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Weekend in Review

We had a great weekend! We met up with friends at a county fair on Friday night. Saturday morning I attended a lovely bridal shower for a friend whose wedding is coming up in August. That night we met my parents for dinner and (finally!) had an opportunity to show my dad our new house. On Sunday, we made a trip to Lowe's to pick up some material to fill the nail holes in our apartment and then checked out home maintenance books at Barnes and Noble. Sunday night we met up with some of my college friends at the Happy Gnome to celebrate a newly minted DDS degree.

Any recommendations for home maintenance books? I picked up the Reader's Digest Complete Do-It-Yourself Manual from the local library this morning. We want to look all of our options over before we invest in something to add to our personal library. Send us your recommendations!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

My "vacation" is off to an awesome start! But not really.

I woke up at 4:00 AM with runny eyes, a cough, and a raw nose. Those have to be signs of allergies, right?

I didn't want to wake my husband up and I really wasn't that tired, so I got up and started my day. I opened my email and the first thing I saw was a reminder notice for one of my loans. What a downer. My first day of vacation and it starts with paying my loans. I'm never in a good mood on loan payment day.

At 6:00 AM, I ran to the grocery store to pick up ingredients for a poor man's soup (ham and black bean). When I got home I cut into a jalapeno, removed the seeds, and diced it. At some point shortly after cutting the pepper, I rubbed my nose. My raw nose.

After adding the pepper to the soup, I went about gathering all of our financial statements we've collected in a number of hiding places over the last THREE YEARS. During this process, I realized my nose was really hot. Burning hot. Because my brain apparently doesn't function properly after waking up at 4:00 AM, it took me a good ten minutes to realize my nose wasn't burning from my allergies. Instead, during that time I rubbed my nose and the surrounding area with a thick salve thinking it would help to reduce the burning sensation. When the pain started spreading from my nose to my upper lip and inner cheeks, I realized what had happened. That was 30 minutes ago. My upper lip is still tingling.

This day is off to an awesome start.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Chez Larsson

I'm spending most of my day traveling westward, and probably won't have much time to write later in the day as I have a few errands to run and band practice. Check out the Chez Larsson blog, one of my new finds. A low key Swedish design blog that also provides Swedish vocabulary words = awesome.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Catching Up

I must say that the past week was a blur for me.

Last Wednesday, we committed to our most major investment yet: a new home! We are very excited about the house, the yard, the neighborhood and are very much looking forward to the end of August when we close.

We were surprised by how fast the process went. Two Wednesdays ago, we were casually looking at homes with our Realtor when she announced she had added a home to our "visit list" that had just been reduced in price that morning. She thought we would really like it, and we did! We loved it! She also thought that the reduced price would make it move off the market quickly, so we arranged a second showing for later in the evening and had our parents come check it out. The next morning we made an offer. Twenty-four hours later, it was accepted! We actually spent more time researching SLR digital cameras than we did our house!

I put together a photo tour of our home. Let me know if you want the link.

Last Friday, I had a job interview at a school in the TC area. I won't know anything about the interview until the end of the month...

And today . . .

. . . I finally earned the status of PhD Candidate! FINALLY!

I'm taking the next few days "off." We have several projects that have been on hold for many months, I have a bridal shower gift to make by Saturday, and I need to spend some time celebrating!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Holy cow, this week is flying by.

Trust me, this is very, very good.

Unfortunately, it means almost no time for anything other than focusing on the task(s) at hand. I'll be pretty busy through next Wednesday, so it might be a while before I find some time to invest in my blog.

I have great news to share . . . so check back next week!

Thursday, July 2, 2009


I'm running on very little sleep. Yet, I am very much awake, energized and ready to tackle the day. In lieu of a more informative post, I'm going to provide you with a list of sites I often visit. I guarantee they will provide excellent distractions from work, researching and wedding planning.

Bubble Spinner
*A truly excellent way to kill time on sleepless mornings. Just before 6:00 AM, I scored my all time high score: 1350. You will find it difficult to stop playing.

This Young House
*This blog maintained by individuals exceptionally skilled and trained in home renovation and providing design inspiration. I check in on This Young House daily. I also check Bower Power every once in a while.

The comment sections of newspaper websites
*Okay, this is probably not so exciting to 98% of you, but I find myself easily distracted by the comments people make on news articles. This is especially true for my hometown newspaper (sorry folks, not going to post the hyperlink), but also true of the Strib and the NYT. I've hyperlinked to an article from the NYT about nuns.


*I still love checking elite wedding photography sites, even if I'm no longer looking for inspiration for our own wedding. Wouldn't it be fun to be a professional photographer?

*Games that are both educational and addictive.

Playing with furniture.

That's it for now. The husband is getting up, which means it's time our day has started!