Monday, April 30, 2012

Lazy crafter strikes again!

If I were to only write about crafts, I'm afraid I'd have to specialize in cutting corners. I can't help but wing it at least 75% of the time. Because of this, I shouldn't be surprised that my most recent idea was a bust. The grand plan was to cover an old Ikea couch (that I'm too cheap to replace) with thrifted lace panels. Sadly, the couch in my head was not the one I wound up with. Oh well...a girl has to try :-)

One of my projects that did turn out the way I envisioned is the quote from Galileo I've been stenciling on my bedroom wall for the past two weeks.


Stenciling, obviously, is easier than what I was trying to do to my couch, but I was fully aware of my ability to screw it up when I started. Unlike other projects, I allowed myself the time to tackle a letter at a time. Seriously, I only painted a new letter when the previous one was dry and used my baseboard as a level. Easy! You guys who always have patience and a willingness to measure are awesome!

stencil tools

I finally finished the stencil on my bedroom wall!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sunday: Week in the Life

peach daiquiri and blogging on a Sunday afternoon

Giving away the last of my extra tomato babies. #weekinthelife



Sundays would be one of my favorite days if it weren't for the fact that it's always a harbinger of Monday.

I took my time leaving the apartment this morning, kicking off the day by ripping out yesterday's attempts to cover my couch and watering the tomato babies. I was happy to finally leave the apartment once I discovered how gorgeous the day was. Running to the grocery store and other errands of adult life are so much better with the sun shining and a light breeze. Blogging, getting to see this guy, and making guacamole for the first time rounded out my day.

How was your weekend?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Saturday: Week in the Life

Trying out the Hunger Games-style braid before bed. Exciting Friday ;-) #weekinthelife


Thrifted blanket

attempted DIY

I finally finished the stencil on my bedroom wall!

nailed it

It struck me last night how devoid of people my Week in the Life photos are. I spent time around people (gym buddies, coworkers), but the busy week didn't really lend itself to a lot of extracurricular activities. Instead, I decided to add a bit of me in the mix. My wild Friday night consisted partly of me trying a Hunger Games-style braid.

I got up early this morning to hit the thrift stores. Since moving to my new apartment, I've had my eye out for a dresser and nightstand. I was also looking for lace curtains for a little project I had in mind. I spent a lot of time hemming and hawing over to slipper chairs that seemed in really good conditions and a dresser that needed a little love. I'm still thinking about them. I really want to go back and get the chairs, but I'm so leery of thrifted upholstery. The only thing I couldn't resist is this colorful polyester quilt. It won't stay on my bed but will be nice for cabins and forts :-)

The lace I was looking for was part of a grand scheme to recover my old couch. I'm not particularly happy with the way it turned out, so I'll likely be pulling out staples later tonight. I did finish the quote I've been stenciling along a baseboard in my bedroom and am pleased as punch.

My nails were also in need of a little love. Several had recently broke and at least two others were getting so long they made typing difficult.

I love productive Saturdays. 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday: Week in the Life

morning smoothie #weekinthelife

Girls Can Tell lunch bag

another corner of my desk

I spent very little time away from my computer today. Like many days, I ventured away from my desk solely to grab my lunch and visit the ladies room. Sure, a few of my coworkers stopped by to chat, but I really did have my nose deep in research about mines in Western Maryland. Some people might wither on days like this. However, if you're a nerd like me, a day spent researching and writing can be as fulfilling as days spent on the banks of a river. The downside is that I'm really reaching for photos to document my day.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Thursday: Week in the Life

Lewis Creek in Staunton, VA

Wright's Dairy-Rite


relaxing end

I spent the day in Staunton (and traveling) for a work meeting. When I made it back to Fairfax, I had two things on my mind. (1) Buy fruit and spinach for more smoothies. (2) Take a bubble bath. Done and done. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wednesday: Week in the Life

frost protection

morning smoothie

local firemen

The view from my new office! #weekinthelife

After barreling head first into spring, we had a cold snap in the DC area, and the tomato babies came inside. I paused on my way to work this morning to open the balcony blinds and snap this picture. Believe it or not*, I also took the time to make myself some breakfast. I've been on a smoothie kick, since blending strawberries into daiquiris on Saturday. This beauty has banana, coconut, and carrots!

The firefighters around the corner from my office are too cute. I love when they fire up the grill toward the end of the day. Ladies, this is a flirting opportunity waiting to happen!

Speaking of offices, I spent a decent chunk of my day moving. I was offered a bigger office with a window**, and I couldn't turn it down. Why, yes, that is the Washington Monument in the distance.

* This rarely happens. In fact, I would bet that I have he fastest morning routine of anyone reading.
** The office I moved from was an internal office with only a window into the hallway.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tuesday: Week in the Life

Falls Church commute

view from my desk

Tuesday lunch, #weekinthelife

proof of life

Some days my commute takes me through Falls Church and past this strip of shops, many of them specializing in Indian food, wares, etc. I've never stopped, but there is a sari shop that I imagine to be completely fabulous.

Bits of nature seem to find their way back with me. However, each of these pieces are more than random wood and rock. The wood you see, both big and small, are pieces of historic dams buried for more than 200 years. The rocks on top of the wood are pieces of concrete from two really large dams that came down this year in Washington. The other rock was a gift from a friend's trip to the Yukon to film hunting expeditions. Despite all of this, I manage to make room to eat lunch at my desk almost every day.

My day wound down on a treadmill. I'm currently struggling with feelings of animosity toward the gym. I was quite smitten for a good 8 months but lost that loving feeling right before Christmas. Still, I go and continue to put even bigger holes in my shirt with my locker key.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Monday: Week in the Life

Monday's bed

rockstar work journaler


I decided to participate in this round of Week in the Life. I'm pretty sure I won't be printing these out for any paper journaling, but I will be recording my day-to-day right here. It's going to be a challenge not to take 5 pictures of my computer every day. :-)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Reason #234 you shouldn't DIY everything

beauty school dropout

I've been itching to change my hair. It's usually around this length that I start wanting to chop it off, only to find long styles I want to try after the fact. Instead, I got a little cocky this weekend and decided a DIY ombre.
After whipping up a beverage and getting my tools ready, I went back to the Internet for advice. Ya'll, those YouTube videos are dangerous! They left me feeling empowered and in control. Snort. In all the heady madness, I forgot how temperamental my hair is. Ombre on others ended up a bit trailer park* on me. In an attempt to salvage my hair, I ended up back at the store today for more bleach. Might as well go all in.

objects in mirror are lighter than they appear

I didn't intend to spend so much of my weekend on my hair or wind up with it so close to blonde!

P.S. Is anyone else participating in Ali Edward's Week in the Life

*I'm allowed to say that if I spent a tiny portion of my youth living in a trailer, right?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

List: Endorsed, Love the Earth Edition

A gift from Patagonia and a sneak peek at the quote I'm stenciling on my wall. 

- Patagonia! If you can't bear to go a holiday without shopping, consider a shop that also gives back. Patagonia believes in corporate responsibility and helping protect the places its customers love best. They also repurpose materials whenever possible. The tote bag above is made from old PFDs. Pretty cool.

- If you're in the DC area, come out Sunday to the first annual float-in on the Anacostia River. This year is the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, and it's more important than ever to stand up and let your voice be heard about potential rollbacks. If it floats, grab it and join everyone on the river. While you're at it, sing out little bird and let your voice be heard.

 - Want to treat yourself to a day of beauty? Find a participating Aveda salon and treat yourself to a hair cut, facial or massage. Proceeds during the month of April benefit Aveda's clean water partners.

- 7 toughest guys working to save our natural resources, according to Discovery.

-  Jerry James Stone's YouTube cooking channel, Cooking Stoned. Jerry is the main recipe developer for Treehugger and cooks with an eye toward natural ingredients and the environment with plenty of vegetarian and vegan recipes.

- Campfire Chic. Check out Cam's blog for her stories of hiking and park hopping along the West Coast.

If you think you're up for a more hardcore challenges, hit me up. I've got lots of ideas for those who don't mind getting dirty. :-)

Search for Stars Hollow: List Love


Tuesday was a good day for lists (and my quest for the perfect small town). Both Smithsonian and Travel + Leisure released lists highlighting some of America's hidden gems.  

Smithsonian magazine provided a list of The 20 Best Small Towns in America that features one of my newer loves, Staunton. I was also stoked to see that Marfa made the list. I've had it on my to-visit list for the past five years, and my mom and I are determined to road trip there this year. I dare you to tell me the gazebo in the photo accompanying the Brattleboro* writeup doesn't look like the Stars Hollow set.  

Travel + Leisure focused on America's Greatest Main Streets and also featured some towns I now need to visit. I'm going to give these guys the benefit of the doubt and overlook the fact that they included Denton, Texas on the list. I see a brilliant road trip in the making!

*We won't talk about the Siloam, AR photo and the fact that I see a potential project there. ;-)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Cross my heart

I was jonesing for some serious DIY action this weekend. I spent a lot of time hemming and hawing over whether to make this table, even going so far as to scope out lumber at Home Depot. I talked myself out of it (for the time being) but did make a late night Michaels run to grab supplies for a couple of projects.

Ever since spotting a revamped dresser at a local antique store with a Swiss cross painted on it, I've been dying to add it to something. Enter my Ikea chair.

pink polka

I snagged a new paint by Martha Stewart (in Scottish Highland) that is supposed to be good on any surface, so I was curious to see how held up. After taping off the chair with duct tape (without measuring...remember, I'm a lazy crafter), I added one coat of paint, laying it on pretty thick.


Less than three hours later and the project was complete! I'm now debating whether to add this cross pattern to the entire chair. I'm thinking it might be a little overkill.

send help

Monday, April 16, 2012


Downtown Middleburg 

While I was in Philadelphia, I picked up a milk box camera from Four Corner Store and a pack of their short attention span film. I was pretty careless with this first roll because I really just wanted to see what I was dealing with. Here's a peek at a few of my shots.

Headed into the gym


Saturday, April 14, 2012

Road food: I get around

hummus in Waynesboro  
Who knew you could find amazing hummus and homemade pita in Waynesboro, VA? 

My work takes me out and about on a regular basis, and a good road trip is also one of my favorite ways to while away a weekend. If I can swing it, I like to take advantage of this and try new places to eat. This doesn't always work out (sadly, most of the time, particularly with work travel, I have to cram in some McDonalds between meetings), but when I get the chance for a little culinary adventure.

We've had pulled pork sandwiches in the back of antique malls along Virginia's Crooked Road and an intriguing sausage plate with venison and bockwurst in a converted mill in Ellicott City.

BBQ Country

The barbecue above is from BBQ Country. Late last year I was flipping through Garden & Gun magazine and made a mental note that one of the best barbecue places in the south was in Virginia. This place is really the definition of hole in the wall and really more of a truck stop (i.e., the kinds of places that always seem to have the best food).

Italian flag pizza  
This pizza also came from the wilds of Virginia. 

Does food factor into your travel at all? For me, it's a fun way to experience a new town (or new culture).

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

confessions of a skeptic

web stuff

You guys...can I tell you something? I just don't think I'm cut out for online dating.

Let's set aside the potential for accidentally choosing a serial killer or the fact that I'm expected to start a conversation with a complete stranger based on maybe five paragraphs of text (and these are not small concerns, people). Instead, I find my biggest stumbling block is how incredibly judgmental I get when confronted with a virtual catalog of mail order-like dates. I've always prided myself on not having a strict list of things I need in a man, but when confronted with the exact opposite, I suddenly have a whole cornucopia of deal breakers.

What have I learned by having a profile up on OkCupid?

Basic reading comprehension is a valuable life skill. The prompts in a given profile offer you an opportunity to point out things about your beliefs that may be important to you. Wouldn't you read these things, particularly if you have deal breakers of your own? Within the past two months, I've received exploratory emails from (1) someone who clearly states he will never, ever (no matter how hot) date a democrat (democrat/progressive is stated in my profile) and (2) an agnostic who emails me to say I might qualify to hang out with so long as I'm not one of those "god clowns". Why would you send this to me when I self-identified as christian and said it was important to me?

There is only so much baggage a girl can overlook. I'm not perfect, so I try really hard not to look for Mr. Perfect. However, a girl can only ignore so many red flags. This progressive series of red flags is from one person. He had moved back home as he tried to get his life back together. Okay, I'm not an elitist. Oh wait, he doesn't drive anymore because of a car accident six months ago. I can deal. I don't own a car, so who am I to judge? Actually, he doesn't drive anymore because he suffers from an anxiety disorder. Umm...I'm not sure I want a fixer upper. Finally, he starts to talk about how much of a sinner he is, apologizes for not being a virgin, and proclaims that I am the woman to save him. Bolt. I have enough of my own issues and am in no way meant to be a man's savior.

I have basic grammar needs and am especially fond of capitalization and punctuation. I am not a grammar nazi and, in fact, consider those that think of themselves above the fray pretty freaking annoying. Everyone makes mistakes, and it's easy to fall behind on the latest changes to the grammar rules. Still, I can't handle text-speak. I have no problem with throwing in "u" every now and then and am a frequent abuser of OMG, LOL, and BTW. I have discovered, however, that I will have an aneurysm when confronted with entire messages written without capitalization, punctuation, and a tendency to write things phonetically.

I haven't even told you about the 5' 3" guy whose profile indicated an interest in bondage, the potter who talked about himself for 2 hours straight, rarely pausing to ask anything about me, or the couple looking for a third.

These are the days of our live.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Previews and new views


So LAZY today! My two primary activities were reading and napping*. I guess we all need a few days like that, eh?

Check back later this week for some thoughts on why I'm not cut out for online dating and a funny photo series I'm starting.

*So rare for me.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

A Visit from the Good Squad

Starbucks Voguing

I have nothing against books that hook me right from the beginning, but there is an intense sense of fulfillment in a book that draws out that satisfaction and makes you wait for it. I have friends who gorge themselves on books, mainlining them in record number. I often prefer to savor my reads and have even been known to force myself to put a book down so that I'll have more to enjoy the next day.

 A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan was good until more than halfway through when pieces began to magically fit together. It's at this point that I often find myself looking up, trying to catch the eye of someone around me so that I can experience that moment of contentment with someone else. Egan crossed space and time like a veteran time traveler. Plus, an entire chapter told in a compelling PowerPoint? Genius. Trust me.

*Busy, busy with planning a last minute press conference this week, but I just had to write something about this book.