Saturday, September 5, 2009

New Bike!

Ok up the street from where we live there is a cute little "shop" called The Recycled Bike and one time when Spencer ran an errand on our old Huffy Cruiser and the chain popped off, the owner of The Recycled Bike happened to be walking by and helped him with the chain and mentioned that The Recycled Bike did trade-ins in case we ever wanted a more city-appropriated vehicle and we do, so we traded it (that's the gist of the story anyway) and HERE IT IS!

Yep, right there in the background, mind the grainy quality (the only working camera we have right now is the one inside the iMac screen.)

ANYWAYS it's a sweet lemony yellow Schwinn Varsity (vintage) but in great condition, working gears (5-Speed, is that what it's called?) front and back breaks, and they cleaned it all up and oiled it and threw in a rack for free (I attached the milk crate with my extensive resourcefulness) and we still have a "credit" (I want a saddle-basket for when we eventually get another one in the future so Spencer and I can both ride together) from the guy, Mike, the owner and he was so friendly and helpful, SO happy I finally have a street-ready bike to start taking to work and whatnot and long-running sentennnnnnce!

The only thing is that the tires probably need to be replaced in about 3 or 4 months; they're coming to the end of their reign, but still got enough life in 'em. SO EXCITED.

And tomorrow, I'll tell you about a RAFFLE I won!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Finding The Right Chef

Spencer and I like to use the library a lot. We check out DVD's, I track down music, we read comics, fiction, non-fiction. We I get to thinking I need to know more about a hobby I might try out, how to care for finches or look up some weird history about Utah, I'll be at the library. And most often, we love to check out recipe books. (Ok, maybe comics and DVD's beat out how often we check out recipe books, but it's a close competition.)

We'll browse the titles, and pick out a few recipes, try them out, make some edits, maybe copy the page if we like it enough. And there are some authors that we love the most, namely Jamie Oliver "The Naked Chef," Sam Stern, who's kind of like the 16 year old version of Jamie Oliver and Charlie Ayers, who was hired to be like a personal-ish chef for the Google staff for many years.

The time has come, I think that Spencer and I have found a good round of books that fit our lifestyle and ought to be made permanent resources in our home. And I've realized that all this time we've watched the Food Network, browsed recipe books, and watched what our grocery budget goes to, it's all been adding up to the time we start having a somewhat basic recipe books of our own to shape our everyday diets. And these three authors cater to us the most.

I should mention Alton Brown. We love him. But more than love his recipes, I think we mostly treat him as the ultimate authority on how to cook what and why. I recommend you seek out anything with his name on it too.

Here's the round-up, the books we've gotten the best results from, are doable and make us realize we have more control we eat than we think and what we just all-around find the most useful:

+Anything by The Naked Chef, Jamie Oliver

+Sam Stern, who caters to my minimalistic, adolescent (but still so good) attitudes

+Charlie Ayers, who can make tasty food work for you

+Alton Brown, Food and Cooking Expert

+and recently, Anything by Martha Stewart, who has never yet led me astray while baking (this suggestion is mine alone since I'm the one who usually bakes out of the two of us).

So I suggest you look these people up, check out their books, try their recipes, listen to what they have to say about food and enjoy cooking. Like Robert Rodriguez said in one of his 10-minute cooking lessons on his DVD bonus features, you have to eat everyday, so why not make it something you love? Or something like that.

Until next time!~

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Back in Black!

So it's 6 months through 2009 and I'm revisiting my new years resolutions. They were roughly to:

Live simply
Keep up my hobbies
Go back to school

How have I fared half-way through the year?

Well I haven't had the chance to go back to school just yet, however I do plan on being up at the U this fall.

Keeping up my hobbies. It's hard because this resolution kind of conflicts with my other resolution: to live simply. Obviously, the more hobbies you have, the more stuff you accumulate, and the more time and money spent doing different things. So I let some go.
I still sew but I don't thrift shop for fun and I scrapped almost all my old projects just because they'd been unfinished for years and I was no longer driven to finish them. I don't shop for clothes almost at all, and if I do, I donate or sell something I already had to try and maintain equilibrium. We plan our meals by the week and I stay on top of the groceries. I have a calendar system for bill paying. I've started finding a home for every knick-knack and if I can't find a place for it, then out it goes.

Simply put: less projects, less things, less clothes, less laundry, less cleaning, less money spent. More time for exercise, hanging out with friends, cleaning, preparing home meals and more time for the projects that are left and actually worthwhile!

However I still have have a ways to go. I'd like to be tighter on the laundry schedule, deep cleaning schedule and daily tidying but I'm at least to a place where I can do things like pick up exercising and cooking and holding 3 part-time jobs.

Cool, I'll be back in December! (Only hopefully sooner, lol)...

Friday, February 20, 2009

Oh Em Geez.

It's been a long time so I'll make this quick:

-Black Chandelier IS NO MORE.
Everyone was laid off, myself included, the store is shut down, the website has been suspended and I have effectively concluded my time with Nexia Holdings, Style Perfect, Black Chandelier and Dan Nappi. It is a RELIEF.

-I am on unemployment/seeking new employment.

-I am also seeking to return to school this fall.

-I have become utterly domestic. Cleaning, preparing dinner and a weekly sweet, it's all good.

-I got a haircut! It looks WAY good.


Pictures to follow.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Help Wanted!

Can somebody (I totally almost just spelled that "someboday" btw,) make this a seamless image?
And by seamless of course I mean if I were to tile the image side to side, top to bottom, it would turn into one seamless image.
Normally I'd ask Spencer to do it but I'm pretty sure our current computer is sans Photoshop... and my laptop has Photoshop but it also has no working USB drive AND I'm lending it to a friend.

SO, if anyone other than the two people I know read this can work thems shops and make my image seamless, comment and I'll send you the clearest copy of it I have? Yes?

Yes. Ok, thank you.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Ok So There's Actually More To It.

I try to keep certain aspects of my life out of this blog so that they can remain personal to me and that others that I know read this may or may not... well, know those certain things and ridicule me about them. When I want them to know, I'll tell them personally. That being said, there's more to my resolutions than just what I wrote in my last post and I want to list those things here, mainly for my own reference.

Real quickly now:

-grow closer with Spencer and continue to strengthen our marriage.

-return to school and make studies a priority.

-make additional budgets for school and home life, including putting away a percentage of my personal allowance to put back into savings.

-finish ALL crafts projects started in 2008 (including clothing alterations and quilts)

-no more cardboard boxes storing random things, especially if they're not in a closet.

-15 minute clean up everyday.
-----this one I've been trying right after I get home from work, before I sit down or when I wake up on weekends before I shower or eat and it's amazing the difference it makes when I go by time and not task because so much more gets put away and picked up than I thought could happen.

-restrain my diet. this mostly means financially, we eat out SO OFTEN it's almost tragic.

-pick it up on FHE

-volunteer more, and/or donate more often.

-strive to complete my weekly work hours. For a couple months before Christmas I was getting really good at this but I've let myself get lazy around Christmas and New Years and scheduling myself a couple hours less week after week but now is the time to be making habits of saving and budgeting whatever we have and by giving myself those extra 3 or 4 hours a week I'm making a bigger difference financially than I remember sometimes for Spencer and I.

-write Rachel and McKay at least once every two or three weeks. I need to remember that Sunday is the best day to write them because they're p-day is Monday.

-take more pictures. (i.e. find our camera, lol)

-be better at keeping a personal journal.

-visit my brother more often

-help my mother at her home more often

-pray for my dad and aubrey

-visit my kuefner-relatives on holidays. the longer I wait to make a habit of this I realize the more devastating it could be in the future. especially when Spencer and I decide to have kids and I'm still somewhat estranged from most of them. I don't want that.

-grow closer to Spencer more. And then some more.

And that's about as personal as I get so enjoy it!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year

I have a New Year's Resolution or two.

One is to just live simpler. Simply-er? What do I imagine this to mean?
Other than physically purging my life and home of clutter, it also means forming good day-today habits that eliminate my life of some stress.
Like saying "yes" more instead of no when asked to help with things. Taking a few minutes day to day to pick up the house, if only for 5 minutes. Toning down my inflammatory tendency to take on multiple projects at once.

Another is to do more. Which, is technically not something I've only just now resolved to do. And by "do more" I mean keep my mind and hands active. Finishing projects when I've started them and trying more new things. I've been pretty good at this for the past month or so. I made some nice curtains to separate the living room and kitchen, and some other drapes for the bathroom. I crocheted a hat last night (just before falling asleep 5 minutes before midnight.) and I also sewed the leggings I'm wearing today. I have 1 quilt top piece waiting to be batted and backed, and 3 other quilts that are coming along nicely, little by little. And I think I'm going to try buying a vintage pattern and giving that a go. I haven't followed a pattern since sophomore year of high school. I also got some cake decorating tools for Christmas to play with which has reminded me that it's been too long since I last made something yummy.

My big resolution this year is to go back to school. Hopefully Spencer and I will get our tax information back pretty soon here and then we can file and apply for some financial aid (what a time to apply though, ugh) and hopefully Spencer and I will haven't run into any big financial trouble and the savings we've been putting aside can allow me to return to college, at least part-time if not full, this fall. Spencer was thinking about taking some additional classes for experience and fun (he graduated from BYU last August if you didn't know already) which I would love because then maybe we could enroll in a class or two together.

So to sum up:
Live simpler.
Keep up my hobbies.
Go back to school.

I think I can manage that, which is why I liked making these resolutions. Normally I'd make resolutions that were extremely defined. Like "lose 25 pounds" and "finish sailboat/tailor's mannequin still life" and things like that were just, meh. As soon as I lost sight of those goals, then I'd feel crappy about it and just put it away in a closet to forget about or eat unhealthily and feel crappy about that too.

All I am worrying about now if whether or not I'm enjoying my life day to day and if I'm not, then I am taking little actions here and there to improve it, and most of all, I'm trying to be patient and focused. I want to allow myself an extra second to react, which allows me to think through my decisions better which causes me to feel a little more confident in myself and my abilities to improve my life and my home life.
And the best part is that I haven't really waited for 2009 for all this to start, but it's nice to put it into words for a reminder when things get hectic or I get impatient. If I have to, I'll write the words "live simpler, be patient and focus" on my arm everyday for a reminder. Maybe I'll just make that the motto/title of my journal for this year. That's probably a better idea.