Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Extreme Bathroom Makeover 2K10

I know the title seems a little "extreme", but I had to do something to reel you people in! (-:

I redid our little half bath over the past couple of days, and I'm pretty proud of myself, so I just have to share. The bathroom wasn't bad before, my mom loved it, but you know, my mom loved it. Not quite the fun modern style I was going for. (-:

Here's the before picture:

Yes, that's wallpaper, and lots of it. And let me just debunk a few myths out there that you might have. (Or maybe it was just me.) You can't use a wet rag and a Pampered Chef spatula and take the wallpaper down in an hour or two and then paint the wall that night. I know, right? I sure thought I could do that. Easy cheap project. Ahem.

A good deal into my wallpaper pulling and spatula scraping, I realized I was not quite well-equipped enough for this job. So I texted a friend and asked for some wall paper removal tools, which he had and very generously shared, including this pretty cool gel stuff that really helps the wallpaper come off MUCH easier than the rag. Oh, and a wallpaper scraper REALLY comes in handy and works better than a mini Pampered Chef spatula, just to clear that up.

Then I realized that there are multiple layers of wallpaper. There's the outer layer, and then the under layer and then apparently there's some sort of paper layer of drywall. THREE layers. And they all had to come down. Because the next thing I learned is that if you don't get all the dry wall stuff off and then you try to paint it, that it will bubble. And that's just terrible.

After all the wallpaper came down, I used an electric sander. Seriously, I don't know why "This Old House" didn't come over and video the whole thing, because it was super legit. Although, next time an electric sander is used, I will absolutely use goggles. It's kind of hard to see what you are trying to sand when you are squinting so that sand doesn't fly in your eyes. So I kept my saline bottle handy and squirted it in my eyes every 2.5 seconds. (-: You better believe I wore a mask though, as my goal for 2011 is to not repeat my pneumonia hospital experience. The mask was pretty hot, in a Mark better be glad no guys saw me or he might have had to beat someone up kind of way. It was white and left an awesome red mark on my nose. (And no, I had no idea I would have to use a sander. And no, I didn't have one, but faithful Jeff came through and hooked me up. At this point I probably owe him at least one vital organ donation if he ever needs it.)

After sanding and putting on a mile of blue tape, I started painting. The bubbling effect went away mostly when the paint dried. Although apparently sometimes fuzz comes off of the paint roller and rolls onto the wall. Awesome. Man, so many lessons in one "simple" project. I just wanted a cute bathroom. Is that too much for a girl to ask for?

I will say I'm pretty proud of myself for keeping it all together, because I was teetering on the edge when I had spent hours upon hours in that 4 x 4 space and felt like my hand bones were all broken and realized the paint wasn't going on like I wanted it to. I very seriously considered just having a meltdown. But after a pep talk, I persevered, kept painting, and didn't shed a tear. Victory. And when Karlie came home, she and I worked on a wall for a good hour to make sure we got all the paper off to prevent further bubbling. And Mark knew that's where the party was at, so he sat on toilet lid the whole time and chatted with us. Livin' it up in the bathroom.

After the paint dried, and after a trip to my local Anthropologie for some fun decor items, I pulled down the tape and started putting things back together. I know you must be ready for the after pictures! (-:

Cute, huh? And here's the shelf with my decor from Anthro:

I really love it all. And the spool is actually a candle! How cute is that?!

Here's a wall with the cabinet. I got new knobs, and picture frame was a Christmas gift from Mark's cousins. Love it!

And here's a close up of the knobs. They have little keyholes. Super cute.

And here's another corner. It's such a small space it's hard to get the full effect so I had to take lots of little pictures.

And here's the wall where we hung a letter "J". I'm not quite sure what I'm going to put here yet, or just leave it, but we'll see. (-:

So there you have it. The only thing left is the doorknob. I think I'm going to get this one:

I also like this one:

Which one do YOU like?

Next time you get the idea to redo a room in a "couple of hours", come back and read this post. (-:


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Decor!

So I've been meaning to put up some pics of Christmas stuff for a while, but haven't hardly had the time to do it! We've been enjoying some fun Christmas activities this week and have had more time to relax.

I have to apologize up front for the poor picture quality. My digital camera has now lasted me a solid five years, and it is starting to fall apart. Literally. So whoever wants to get me a new camera, there's one on my amazon wish list. (-:

So, first I will show you my fun new Christmas plates that I got.

I have all 12 (of the 12 days of Christmas) plates and napkins! They are so cute!

And here's the ole tree!

And here's the fireplace!

And here's what you see when you walk in the front door:

And here's the piano:

Oh, and while we're in the music room, I know this isn't related, but I finished our wall o records. We don't have the exact records that we want all in there yet, but we're getting there!

from a distance, here's what it looks like:

So. That's all I've got for now! Here's a Merry Christmas photo from me, Mark, and Karlie!


Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Home Improvement Project

Tonight I did a quick and free home improvement project. All by myself. If you're like me, you just might be in love with your fireplace. My gas bill last month was kinda high - probably because we ran the fireplace pretty much 24/7. But, it was totally worth it. (-:

The cool thing about this project is that it was free. I have lots of things I'd like to do - ideas swirling around in my head, but I don't have the funds... or, I should say, we're using the funds to pay off student loans! But one day....

Anyway, you know how a lot of fireplaces have those gold door things? Nothing against the gold door things, but I was going for a little more modern look. Here's the picture of what I'm talking about. You could call this the "before" picture:

And here's a before picture with the doors open:

Not bad at all, but I thought we could update it a touch. So, I got out my trusty head lamp, my purple tool box, and an old metal wrench (I think that's what it's called), and I got to work. I shimmied up into the fireplace and started unscrewing things. I wasn't really sure what I was doing, but that made it more interesting. (-:

Finally, the gold door came loose and voila! We pulled it off, took out some insulation stuff, cleaned it up a bit, and it looks great! Here's the after pic:

Pretty cool, huh? It's kinda hard to tell in the picture, but it's a lot more open looking, and the gold is gone. (-: It's looks kinda rustic/modern. Very cool.

And, to prove that I did the work, here's I am, with soot on my hands, sporting the head lamp, and workin' the tools:

So, do you have any cheap home improvement projects?


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Saturday Breakfasts

Since Karlie moved into our house, we have been having breakfast with some close friends that live nearby every couple of Saturdays. It has been a lot of fun, and I have been able to do a little bit of experimental breakfast cooking.

You see, I'm not much of a breakfast person. Not that I'm anti-breakfast, it's just that, well, I value sleep a little more than waking up for that first meal. I know, I know, it's the most important meal of the day, and if you eat breakfast you are more apt to lose weight. Well, as you can read about here, it doesn't work for me, and I end up starving by 10:30 if I eat breakfast.

So, the only times I ever cook breakfast food are either when we eat breakfast for dinner (MAYBE once a year), or when I make something for Sunday School the night before. But now that we have been having Saturday breakfasts around 10:30, and there are more people than just me, it has been fun to experiment and look through all my cookbooks for yummy breakfast ideas.

I made something new this weekend from a cookbook called "Breakfast on the Battery" that my sweet mother-in-law got me from her last trip to New England. It's called Sausage Wellington. You can pretty much bet your life that anything with "Wellington" in the title is going to be a grand slam, so when I saw the recipe, there was no hesitation. I should have taken pics of the preparation, but all I have for you is the finished product.

Basically, it's sausage and cream cheese mixed with some diced mushrooms and onion, some sage, all put in a puff pastry and covered with hollandaise sauce. It. was. divinity. Definitely a repeater. So, I will try to get more with it for the next breakfasts and try to take pics and document the good ones.

If you have any "off the hook" breakfast recipes, send them my way!


Monday, November 22, 2010

My First Complimentary Bang Trim

So this weekend I had a life changing experience with my hair stylist. Now, first of all the fact that I have a "hair stylist" is rather remarkable. You see, other than my one year stint in pageant land, my hair cuts have consisted of either: 1. trims from my mom, 2. a haircut I always regretted from either Wal-Mart or Supercuts, and 3. free hair cuts from my friend for the last couple of years. There was also the time I tried to trim my own bangs, which ended with my mom saying "Look what you have done to yourself!".  All that to say, my hair has never been something I have paid a lot of money for.

But in September I got my hair cut at a salon. My friend gets her hair cut there and she gave me a $10 off coupon (which is scary in and of itself, beause I think $15 is a reasonable price for a haircut). I decided I would take the plunge and get my hair cut at the fancy salon. One time wouldn't hurt, right?

So I showed up at my fancy hair cut appointment and they offered me something to drink. You had me at hello. Then, they gave me a shirt to put on so that I wouldn't get hair on my clothes I came in with. Definitely a first for me. Then the haircut. It. Was. Awesome. I mean, she shampooed and conditioned my hair, massaged my head and neck while washing it, and I could have died right there. People there addressed me by name, as if I was a celebrity (I mean, I guess I am a big deal....), and my stylist was fabulous. She cut my hair, blow dried it and round brushed it, and I loved every second of it. I was such a sucker that I not only scheduled my next appointment with them (so much for just this one time) but I also bought shampoo, conditioner, and some kind of hair stuff. I don't know really know what it is, but it helps with my insane amount of frizzy hair and flyaways. They use Aveda, which is a natural line of hair stuff, which of course I loved.

At the end of my haircut she told me I could come in for a complimentary bang trim between my hair appointments. Since my previous efforts to trim my own hair have been less than stellar, this weekend I took her up on that offer. I did some research online to make sure I tipped appropriately - I mean how do you tip for something that you don't pay for? Anyway, I pulled up to the salon at 12:01, and I was back in my car, with fabulous bangs, at 12:07. Six minutes. It was awesome. They even offered a drink for my free bang trim. I don't think I could ever go back to my old ways.

Here is a picture of me, after the complimentary bang trim. I have longish side bangs, this pic makes it hard to tell, but you get the idea. See how happy I am with my free trim?

Now, you tell me, do you pay big bucks for your haircut? Does a friend cut it for free? Have you ever had a complimentary bang trim?


Monday, November 15, 2010

Things I Love About Our Home

We have now settled down from the whirlwind that was October (moving, family visits, opera, California, etc), and have been in the house and not extremely busy for a couple of weeks. I have actually been home as often or more often than not. Incredible, huh?

So now that I have lived in this house, I've had some time to reflect. Now, I still pull up to my house and stare at it and say to myself, "I can't believe we have a house!" It's still surreal. Mark and I talk about it every few days. I say, "Can you believe we live here?" And he says, "No, I can't". That aside, there are some things that I love that are sinking in that I want to share.

I love when I come home from work and walk in through kitchen door and the dogs run up to greet me and I'm home. I'm sure everyone loves that, but it's so exciting because we have a garage, (even though we still can't get the remotes to work and have to get out of our car every time to open the garage and close it) and it's so cool to pull my car into it every day.

I love our fireplace. We have it going every day. Now, I'm still too afraid to light it. I mean, it's a gas fireplace, and that big burst of flames at the beginning is just too much for me. I can't handle it. Maybe one day I will be more brave. But Mark lights it every evening, and I love sitting by it, or just looking at it.

I love having my piano. I love that I can actually play piano when I do my voice lesson warm ups and can sit and play music for fun, whenever I want. It's not stressful, it's peaceful. I really like that.

I LOVE having internet. I mean seriously. It's super awesome.

Checking the mail is a thrill. I have always loved checking mail, and it's no exception here, except that this time we have a super cute mailbox. I love that.

I love leaving the front door open with the glass door shut when we're home so that our home is welcoming to others.

I love that a young lady from our church named Karlie is living with us. I love that she is using one of our extra empty bedrooms and bathroom. I love pulling up at night and seeing her light on in her room and knowing there's someone in there, occupying that room and filling it with life.

I love talking walks with Mark, Melvin, and Karlie's dog, Bella, around the neighborhood at night.

I love driving through our beautiful neighborhood and seeing all the gorgeous massive trees that are putting on quite a show with their fall colors.

I love that Thanksgiving is this month, and a Christmas explosion is going to happen in full force in our house after that. I am so excited.

I love that I love all these things. And I am excited to love more things as we live out our life here. (-:

What do you love about your home?


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

From the Tooth Fairy, and, you guessed it, the Iron Chef. (-:


Friday, October 22, 2010

Almost Home From a Fabulous Vacation!

Mark and I spent five days in sunny Hermosa Beach with our dear sweet friend (basically family member) John G!

There were several highlights so I will try to remember all of them!

We arrived on Monday and got settled in and then Mark and I walked around Hermosa Beach area and did a little shopping. We stopped for coffee and carried it to the beach. It was a little cloudy and cool, but beautiful. I LOVE ocean waves. Here I am, enjoying my chai, and loving the ocean.

After that we went back to the beach house and enjoyed some fabulous California sushi. Mark even ate all the weird stuff. I stuck to the safe things... you know, rolls, smoked salmon, that's about it. (-: He ate some things that we aren't even sure what they are. ha ha.

Tuesday we went to see Peter Pan, in this way cool, 360 degree, 3-D light thing with actor flying from the ceiling and really cool puppets and effects. It was so cool! We also did a lot of shopping on Tuesday, or at least I did.  I spent a lot of my opera money at Forever 21. (-:

We woke up on Wednesday and went to the beach. Again. (-: Here we are, loving the beach, and each other. he he.

On Wendesday at the beach, we actually saw dolphins. It was the coolest thing. There was a school of them that were swimming along, and jumping. I had the "Flipper" themesong stuck in my head. If you look behind me in this next pic, you can see a dolphin fin in the background.

Here I am with our host with the most, the famous John G!

Pretty cool, huh? After walking the beach, we ate a fabulous place called Scotty's. Mark had what he would probably refer to as the best meal of his life, migas. Seriously. He went on and on. So here he is with his food:

Wednesday we all drove into Melrose Avenue to check out the vibe there. A little too funky/punk for me, but very interesting. We had some Starbucks and enjoyed the sites, and I of course visited Urban Outfitters. Then we stopped at the coolest Farmer's Market. It's actually called "Farmer's Market" right by the Grove in California. We ate some awesome fish tacos for dinner, and checked out all the local faire, gazed at all the yummy produce, wished for the chocolate, and had a wonderful time. (-:

I actually found this book at a local gem of a bookstore, which shows you what to cook with what you have purchsed at that exact market. How cool is that? Here I am, with the book:

Thursday, Mark and I went to brave the Los Angeles traffic by ourselves and we went to Venice Beach and saw lots of interesting people there.

I got a funnel cake, because, well, they are awesome:

We also promenaded at the 3rd street promemade, and I checked out their awesome Anthropologie. We stopped at Barnes and Noble and drank some coffee and read some books. So fun. I read a book on dog training. 

After Venice and the 3rd street promenade, we had dinner with a friend of ours from Oklahoma who happens to live close by. It was so nice to see her, and so funny that we saw her when we were in California, and not when she comes back to visit in Oklahoma.

Friday we lounged around and then Mark and I walked down to the beach and he decided to get in the freezing cold water. What a goober. After that we came home for a little bit and got ready and then we went out and walked around Hermosa Beach. We went to a record store and both found some great finds! Mark got "Time Out" by Dave Brubeck, and I got "Sweet Baby James", (JT), and I got several Dan Fogelburg albums and a George Winston "October" piano album. 

Here I am, enjoying the walk through Hermosa Beach:

After our record store and pet store adventure, OH AND we ate at Pita Pit. I LOVE Pita Pit and there aren't any in Tulsa. Oh the injustice. That yogurt cucumber stuff they put on those pitas is divinity.

We came home and for dinner, our wonderful host fixed us this fancy meal, and let me say it tasted just as good, if not better, than it looks!

YUMMO!!! And here we are, enjoying our last dinner:

And there you have it. A week of fun in beautiful southern California. We have had a fabulous trip.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Vacation Video



Monday, October 18, 2010

La Traviata

We had our final show last night. )-: It was sad. I am glad to have more free time, but being a part of that show was so fun! I LOVED it. I am excited for our next show in May!

I thought you might want to see what my awesome costumes looked like. We got two dresses each.

Here is my dress that's just like Cinderella's:

And here is my dress for the second act:

In case you can't tell, I am wearing a dark brown wig. The wigs were lots of fun. But apparently they are super expensive. We aren't allowed to fix them, take them on or off, etc. The wig people do that for us. Crazy! It was fun to have a fancy hairdo, and now I know what I would look like with dark brown hair. (-:

Here I am with my friend Alexandra:

And finally, here's a peek at what it looked like on stage (that's me on the right witht he light blue dress):

Pretty cool, huh?

Mark and I are sitting at the airport right now, waiting for our flight to California! We are very excited to get there! WOO!!!! Pics to come soon!

Happy Monday!


Monday, October 11, 2010

The Music Room

Well, this weekend I spent some time working on our music room. It is a work in progress, but I thought I would post the progress so far. I am currently getting a poster from the opera I am in framed, so imagine that on a wall. (-:

These wonderful music room chairs I found at a garage sale - $10.00 for the pair. Now, they originally had some really groovy orange striped fabric on them, but a trip to HobLob, some hot glue and tacks, and a little elbow grease, and we have a couple very cute chairs for the music room:

Next we have our wall 'o records, which is a work in progress. I think we will put one more row on top. I don't know if you can tell what the top middle thing is. Amidst all the sheet music my mom gave me, I found an old song that I "wrote" from my piano lessons when I was 11 or 12 years old. It was pretty priceless, so I framed it. You will also see Norah Jones, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Carole King, Fleetwood Mac, and Linda Ronstadt. We plan on putting four more records on the top eventually.

Next you will see the awesome record player we got at Target. It is a 5 in 1, so it plays records, cds, cassettes, radio, and mp3 input. How great is that? And can I just say that I LOVE playing records? They are so cool.

And here is the piano. I am so excited to have a piano again. And I have even more realized how completely terrible I am. I guess that's what not playing in a few years will do. Well, I am bound and determined to make these fingers less rusty. I'm currently working on a few songs, so hopefully I will start improving soon. (-:

 Now, it's basically impossible to get a view of the whole room, so I took pics from a couple different angles so you can get the basic layout. Future plans for this room include a rug, more things on the wall, and I don't know what else... a cool lamp or something. Oh, and I think Mark is cleaning off his trombone and putting it in there soon as well.

And finally:

So, what do you think? We are planning on painting this room a light blue soon. I will put up another pic once I get my La Traviata poster up. (-:


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fun On Our New Trampoline

For your viewing pleasure, check our my mad back hand spring skills. My sister and sister-in-law spotted me on this:


Monday, October 4, 2010

Extreme Lighting Makeover of 2K10

Well, everyone, we are all moved in, unpacked, and as decorated as we can be with the money that we have. (-:

One of my very first priorities was to switch out a really groovy light that was in the entryway of the house.  We're talking really groovy. Like an orb or something. So bad, that I bought a new light fixture before we even closed on the house. Don't believe me?

So, my friend Jeff very kindly agreed to install the new beautifully awesome light fixture for us, and risked his life in the process. He was like 50 feet up on a ladder. Okay, maybe not 50 feet, but probably close to 20. 

Here he is, in action:

And here's a pose:

And while he is up high in that picture, he was at one point all the way up to the ceiling. It was really scary. At least I was scared. Because I was watching it.

Okay, and now you can see what the new beautiful light looks like! This picture doesn't really do it justice, but let me just say that I LOVE the new light and I love the entryway. It is beautiful.

I will try to get a better pic at some point. All I can say is that it is my favorite part of the house. (-:

Happy Monday!


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