Thursday, April 29, 2010

Heading to the Derby...

But not in a pretty, fancy hat! I'm working as a teller again this year, and hoping to come home with LOTS of tip money. Send a happy (money making) thought my way this weekend.

I promise to snap you at least a few pictures while I'm gone - see you on Sunday!

A Cleaning Confession

I'm going to come clean (no pun intended) about my cleaning. Basically, about how I'm not very good at it.

Back up a few weeks, and my mom came to visit before we moved and kindly pointed out that I'm not very good at cleaning. It's not that I didn't want things to be clean, I just didn't really know what I was doing. And didn't really have the proper tools. Why vacuum, I thought, if your vacuum literally spits dust out the other side when you run it?

So... I got a very thorough cleaning lesson courtesy of my mama, and The Divine Ashley jumped in to give her advice too.

Which leads me to... my new obsession.With things being clean. Why? I have no idea. Things that have never bothered me before all of a sudden drive me crazy. Maybe it's the new house, maybe it's just being aware; I don't know, but things just need to be clean(er). Even my messy car looks better than it ever has.

This love affair was probably inevitable, but it is far beyond what I ever imagined. Ashley told me I needed it, and man was she right.

The Bissell Healthy Home Vacuum. Swoon.

For a mere $200ish, one can be the proud owner of a fantastic cleaning machine. It does wonders on bare floors, switches easily to high pile area rugs, and the "turbo" brush attachment is what dreams are made of. If vacuuming a couch or the stairs is easy, you know something is up.

If you need a new vacuum, I highly recommend this one. You can get it at Bed Bath and Beyond which means you can use a 20% off coupon. It is absolutely FABULOUS.

More coming soon about my new steam mop. Which is also fabulous!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My backyard

I feel like I owe you some legitimate pictures of our house, since I've been so incredibly slow at posting the new house. So... here's a tour of our backyard!

Walking out the side door, toward the patio. Love the vines growing on not-my-house!

More "Guess what's growing in my backyard!" This has looked like it's about to pop hot pink flowers for at least two weeks, but so far, no flowers.

Do you just L-O-V-E the pergola??

And our AMAZING new patio furniture? Got it from Home Depot and used EBATES to get $19 back. And it's really comfortable and has a fire pit in the middle!

Any idea what this vine is? It doesn't have purple flowers and the leaves are different from the other one.

The clematis EXPLODED last night - yay!

What you can see when you're sitting under the pergola.

This is the perfect backyard for us - really low maintenance (as in, no lawn mowing) but it has a ton of personality. We're looking forward to many many nights of sitting outside with drinks and a fire, just enjoying life.  

But... it's also a work in progress (isn't everything??). We haven't done anything outside yet, and some of the bushes are just plain out of control. So, consider these your before pictures, and someday, when we figure out how to do all the things we need to do, we'll post after pictures!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Back from my hiatus

I'm back - sorry I was gone for so long! The RAPP retreat was awesome! Very exhausted when I got home, but a really great time. Then Matt and Mandy came to visit on Sunday night for dinner, which was lovely as always!

Not too much to report here... still drooling every day over quilting projects I want to take on, and zero time to do so.  This weekend is half spoken for as well; Mandy and I are going to work Oaks/Derby again in hopes of making mad cash. And because we'll get to see Katie which is even better! Sunday at least, after I recover from my no sleep week, I should be able to get some work done. And I need to, or else my Mother's Day ideas are going to go out the window!

This is cool though - check out what popped out yesterday on the vine growing in our backyard:

Sorry the light is so bright - took the pictures in the dark.

Look at all the buds! Buds mean more flowers!

The best way to describe them is to call them indigo - they are such a deep, deep purple. Anyone know what they are?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Oh man.

It's been a long week.

I got home from work tonight (yes, 11 hours after I left this morning) and switched on the news. And then it hit me - this is the first time I've been home to watch the news in our new house.  And yes, today is the 4 week anniversary of living here!

Things have been a little crazy. Work is amazing, but just so so busy. Had a few 7 AM meetings this week, and those just kick. my. butt. Every single time. I know I should duck out around 3 or 4 when I go in that early, but there's always just more work to do. I know it can wait - but I like what I'm doing. Makes me tired at night though!

This week I had something every night to keep me busy, though of course now I'm blanking on what it was! Last night Ashley and I went to see Mary Poppins at the Aronoff, and it was a great show! It got terrible reviews in the paper, but that was totally undeserved.  Sure it was fluffy, sure it didn't stimulate my brain, but it was totally F-U-N!

Tonight I got home and tried to start on my next quilting project, but I can tell I'm exhausted because I keep making dumb mistakes so I just threw in the towel.  I won't tell you who it's for, because, of course, it's another gift, but I can tell you that you'll see a finished project within the next few weeks!

Oh! The rug we ordered for the family room finally got here!

Soph says "Hi everyone!"

Seriously. We can't get her out of the pictures. Oh well!

Well, actually, it got here, and it was WAY too small, so we had to send it back and order the larger size. Which I think is PERFECT! Still want to change the wall color (any ideas?)

Wish I could rest up this weekend, but we have the RAPP retreat starting tomorrow at 2 and ending Sunday at 5. I'm looking forward to it because it's always a great time, but since we are sleeping in a mass pile on the floor (seriously. No beds) I just always come home even more exhausted.

So you may not hear from me for a few days - but I'll be back soon!


Ebates are currently rocking my world

I first discovered reading Allie's blog, My Wardrobe Today. Allie buys a lot of things online, and gets a ton of money back using Ebates.

I was curious - so I checked it out. Basically, instead of going directly to your favorite websites, you go to first. You click through to your favorite online stores, and you start earning cash back for shopping. There's no scheme, just a quarterly rewards check for how much you've shopped online. Different stores offer different %'s back, but buying our $500 patio set at 3% from Home Depot netted me a cool $19. I was going to spend the money anyway, so the extra $19 is just extra cash. Which equals dinner. My favorite online store, offers 4% cash back, which came in handy when I ordered a new rug.

So how do you get started? Just click here! I think you'll be crazy surprised about how many stores participate. Hope you sign up!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Living room reveal... well, almost!

So, of course, painting the living room took WAY longer than we initially anticipated! We (Zac) painted the ceiling. We went with standard ceiling white, and I'm really glad we did.  First, it was way worth the painting effort. At first, we couldn't really tell a difference but after everything dried, the ceiling paint looked great. The lighter color looks nice, and it just looks... clean. Nice and fresh!

So... still no curtains and nothing hanging on the walls, but you can at least get a preview:

Here's the 411 - I'm not thrilled with it. The color on the fireplace isn't as dark a brown as I think I'd like.  Also, I love the bottom half of the fireplace, but I don't love the top part, which is why we painted the top brick parts the same color as the walls. 

Still lots to do, and not sure exactly what that will be, but at least we're making progress??

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Stay tuned...

You didn't hear from me last night because the living room isn't finished yet! We got the fireplace all done, one coat of paint on the walls and even the first coat on the ugly gold radiator (which instantly looks better!). Just some edging, a second wall coat and a second radiator coat (hopefully no third) left to go.

Here's a sneak peak of the fireplace color:

This is pre-wall painting, by the way.

The color actually dried a lot darker and more chocolate-y, and it looks stunning with the white mantel. We're supposed to finish everything tonight, so as long as we stay on schedule, I'll get you pictures of the finished product!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Another decorating dilemma....

We've got some paint colors picked out (kind of) and I need some advice about the ceilings. I feel like if we're painting, we may as well re-paint the ceilings because they look like they kind of need it.

So... in the living room (with the red couch and rug, see below) we're planning on going with "Hot Chocolate."

Hot Chocolate will sound familiar because yes, this is the third living room I'm going to paint this color. But it's a GREAT color and it just feels so comfy! Here it is in our last living room:

So what color goes on the ceiling? White is too much... maybe white tinted with the hot chocolate color so it blends? Or no? Need your help!

Fun weekend...

We headed down to Lexington on Saturday morning for a super fun reunion type day at Keeneland. I swear everyone I ever met was there. Including a random high school friend (shout out to AP Econ!) which was totally cool.

Zac is so good at taking pictures.

Michelle, Mandy, Katie, me and Anna


Michelle's first bet!

So glad to see Clare!

My white sunglasses are so obnoxious. I will get new ones soon, I promise!

We had dinner with my favorite future in-laws to celebrate Zac's mom's birthday (Happy Birthday Mama Lo!) and I am so bummed I forgot to take a picture. It was delicious and we got home so exhausted - like climb into bed at 10:26 on a Saturday night kind of tired!

Worked all day today, which was exhausting but good.  Looking forward to doing some work on the house this week - get excited for some pictures!!!

Cincinnati Scurry, Part I

Friday was the first Cincinnati Scurry, a sort of "Amazing Race" competition around Cincinnati to benefit the Marvin Lewis Foundation.

Leadership Scholars had a team, and we ROCKED OUT. Sort of. Let me explain....

We started in Mt. Adams, where we had to count the number of steps at Holy Cross Imaculata, run through the streets yelling "Woo-Dey!" to find out which bar would serve us and match props to past plays at Playhouse in the Park.

Then we waited 35 minutes for the limo that would take us to our next stop. This part is key to the end of the story.

We met some super cool friends from Shick Sales (including someone who is going to get me the hook-up at JoAnn Fabrics - yay!) and headed to the zoo, schooled some UC women's basketball players at one-on-one ("schooled" may not be totally accurate here, but it's close) and played flip cup at the Delta Tau Delta house.

This was my moment of greatness, as I downed my beer and flipped the cup over, first try. Without even thinking, the following words came out of my mouth: "Yeah, I was in a sorority in college (hair flip)." Shudder. The Delts totally thought I was cool.

Here's the first group shot I got of our team outside the Delt house:

Me, Greg, Nate and Tracy

We took a HOT PINK limo from UC to Fountain Square (through OTR, which is the most awesome place to ride in a hot pink limo ever) and then hiked on foot to Paul Brown Stadium. Where this happened:

Yeah, that's me.

Someone had to put on the uniform!

I couldn't bend over once I had the shoulder pads on!

Then we headed out to the field, to do THIS:

That is ME, kicking a field goal in Bengals stadium. 

So cool!

And then... my camera died, so I'll have to wait to post more pics until the official pictures are up. But a quick preview... we did some cool stuff at Great American Ball Park, roller skated at Sawyer Point, crossed the Purple People Bridge, rocked out at the Haufbrauhaus, danced at the Aquarium, sang at the Southgate House, ate cheese coneys and tried on a wedding dress (well, I didn't. You'll see).

It was SO much fun - thanks to Tier One and the Marvin Lewis Community Fund for putting on such a great event!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

My friend's husband is a bank robber.

Well sort of. Ok, not really. Here's the story:

My friend Erika's husband (Mark) works at a bank. Last Friday, his bank got robbed by this guy, who also hit up some other banks in the area and a CVS.  She was telling me about it on Saturday, and it was a crazy story.

That night, Zac and I were watching the evening news, and a story came on about the bank robbery.  The following actually occurred:

Me: (As a picture of the bank comes on) "Oh my gosh! That's Erika's husband!"
Zac: (As a picture of the bank robber comes on) "Erika's husband is a bank robber??"

Not quite... but easy to misunderstand! I want to take this moment to officially announce that my friend Erika's husband is NOT a bank robber! And seriously, what kind of idiot robs a bank anymore? Don't all bank robbers get caught??

It was just too good of a story not to share. Maybe you had to be there, but man, it was funny!

Sew What

I discovered this AMAZING site today called Sew What.  If you're into quilting, sewing, or any sort of fabric crafts, check this out!

According to the blog, "Whitnee & Natalia created this blog as a place to share and remember all of those sewing projects that we love and would love to sew, if we only had 29 hours in a day!"

Basically, they compile all of these fantastic tutorials from around the web and highlight a different one almost every day.  I have already bookmarked more than 15 projects that I want to tackle - sigh. If only I had 29 hours in a day! 

Really cool free font!

I had to pass long this gem that I discovered today from a really cool blog called How About Orange.

You can download this really cool font here, and it's totally F-R-E-E! What a great font - thanks guys!

Too much hair

A couple of years ago (almost 3 to be exact) we adopted this little bundle of joy from the Humane Society. Her name is Sophie, and according to the experts at the shelter, wouldn't grow much larger and was a short haired cat. At that time, she weighed 2.6 pounds.

Three years and 10 pounds later, Sophie is GIGANTIC and oh, surprise surprise a long haired cat. 

I really love her, even though she sort of sucks.

Which means her hair is EVERYWHERE. And I do mean everywhere. Like covering my clothes, on your feet from the floor. It's disgusting.

So I bought this bad boy at Petsmart the other day. Turns out I spent about twice as much as I should have, but I could return it if I didn't like it.

This is called the DeFURminator, and I can't find a website for it, so you can learn about it on Amazon here.

I was skeptical, because it cost like $40, but I was also desperate. And it is AMAZING. In a really really gross way. The sheer amount of hair it removes is ridiculous, and I (due to the overall cranky temperament my cat has) can only brush her until she tires of so I didn't even get everything.

But if you are also in love with an animal that sheds,  it will change your life.  It stopped me from threatening to send Soph back to where cats don't have moms, so I'd say it's helping our family...

This is what I pulled off of her the other day. The toothpaste is there for scale. Warning: it's really gross.

Moral of the story - go buy one.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Best Lunch Ever

C-Change Class 4 was the best class ever, so naturally, everything we do is the best... ever.  Lunch today was no exception...

Candid shot of lunch on Fountain Square

Eating ice cream in front of Carew Tower

Group shot!

Seriously - best lunch ever!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Blast from the past

My favorite uncle has been re-discovering old pictures lately (not sure why?) but he's found a couple that are just begging to be shared. Because they're so awesome!

Swinging with my uncle, probably 1995-ish?

My first Halloween - how's this one for a gem?

My parents. Seriously. This the caption my uncle created: "My sister Gail and my brother-in-law Dave. Gail is 22 in this picture. She went straight from adolescence to middle-age. Fortunately she's gotten much younger in the years since."

My grandmother, holding my mom, with Aunt Ellen, Uncle Tom and Aunt Barb

And the coolest picture EVER:
This is my grandmother and her brother on a trip to Prince Edward Island (which is where my great-grandfather was born). Isn't this amazing??

Aren't those just too cool?? 

Next quilting project...

I love making quilts as gifts for other people. They are so much better as a surprise though, and the bummer part about that is that you can't share many photos without someone figuring out they have an amazing present coming their way!

I started working on my next project today, which is a quilt for a friend of mine. That's about all I can say without giving things away.... so here's all you get for now.  Start hoping it's for you!

As a side note, I love making quilts for other people, but since fabric is crazy expensive, I can only afford to do so many. So -- if you're willing to buy the fabric, I'll make you a quilt! You can keep it for yourself or give it as a gift or whatever... I'm just always looking to take on new projects!

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