Category Archives: Umisms

I’m kind of obsessed with this bag I saw on the train the other day.


The closest I could find is the Woodlands Herschel Backpack, which is sold out.

I like that it is irreverent, colorful, and that it has birds on it. I like to think of them as my sorta non-spiritual totem animal. I have a Paul Smith tote with birds on it, but one can’t have too many bird bags.

The other day I was visiting Vox Machina and I was introduced to the world of felting. I bought a felting needle to mend some sweaters we had that were eaten by months. I also wanted to embellish some sweaters I had.

Here is some inspiration and associated tutorials.


Small, cute, and has a video tutorial!

This is also a great way to dress up a sweater. I honestly got the needle to mend sweaters of ours.

It’s a lot like sculpture.

On another maybe creepy note, didn’t Marcy from Married with Children make little animals out of her hair? Somehow I am reminded of that.


Airplants, succulents, and cacti, are all part of the Brooklyn hipster apartment now. I mean, I’ve always liked succulents, and my mother always kept aloe, but it’s really a great lazy person’s plant. You need to water it once a week. Maybe every 2-3 days for an airplant that is blooming. And they are so cute and/or beautiful. I loved how bare airplants looked, but the blooms last year and this year always take me by surprise. I love it. And the smaller airplants just keep giving birth to other smaller plants that you can split from them.
(The small glass container has tons of little baby airplants.)


So around 3 times a year, I am “on-call” for my company. I work around client services in a technology/marketing services company. (I don’t do anything top secret or controversial, or anything, but I don’t post about work.) This means, that I need to stay local and near a computer in my off hours time for an entire week, including the weekend. So, I couldn’t go out this weekend. Instead, I had my old friend Daniel come to me.

We had another pretty epic board gaming session yesterday. Over all, we’ve been pretty spoiled with gaming, since my H.S. friend Jay came over for another epic board game session last weekend. (Last weekend we played some “Betrayal at House on the Hill,” “Love Letter,” “Masquerade,” and “Eminent Domain.” It was kind of Halloween themed.)

This is what we played yesterday:

This is a new game my husband bought. He thought it would be more my style and it’s growing on me. I realized that I like a certain type of strategy games. This is a card/deck building RPG co-operative game. I picked a human sorcerer character. My husband, of course, picked the dwarf fighter character. Danny was the human wizard character. You basically go through missions and build up your character stats and items. Similar to “Legend of Andor” and “Descent: Journey in the Dark” you keep the final stat and keep building your character on an on-going basis. Come to think of it, we have a pretty good collection of co-operative RPGs, if people want to start campaigning with us. Kind of like D&D on a smaller scale… probably without B.S. drama.

City of Thieves
So… husband gives me a hard time about these guys. They have beautiful gorgeous gothic figures and artwork. It’s actually pretty fun, but I have a mental block about these types of board games. I don’t think I am as much of a fan. I like deck building games with a Eurogame twist, like Eminent Domain. I get super bitter and competitive in games where you can actually screw with your opponents. I think this session made me a convert.

This is always fun, because it’s so zany. Did you know this game is pretty old (although we have the new edition) and is a precursor to “Magic the Gathering?” You are a bunch of wizards trying to steal each other’s treasures and/or kill each other. You get to zap one another. I think I had a “Ka-Bonk” card where I produced a giant mallet to attack Danny, at one point. You run around a small map creating walls, eating walls, throwing fireballs, etc. Overall, it’s a game where if you lose, you can’t really take it too personally, so it’s good. It’s a good laugh.

Overall a pretty active late late night.


Another one of my recent hobbies is keeping fish. I have some fish in the office and I’ve kept fish in a small 5 gallon tank at home. In the last year that I really got into this, I found that the 5 gallon was extremely limiting in what I can keep. I honestly wanted a community tank stocked with different fish (and one centerpiece fish). The 5 gallon meant that I could have a single Betta or Gourami, or small shoaling fish (and even then it wasn’t ideal).
I finally sprung for a 20 gallon long that was on sale. I was so excited. I remember dragging my husband with me to the Brooklyn store. We traveled via train, walked a mile, and then browsed, picked up items, and used an Ubercab for the first time. It was the same weekend they were trying to encourage people to use it in NYC outer boroughs, so they took off $20. It was perfect. (On a separate note, Uber was ok, except one driver called me, asked me to canceled and it took forever to get another driver. We were literally almost waiting wondering what to do for 30 minutes. And then it took another 20-30 minutes for the final driver to get here. That being the said, the driver that got us was so nice, and we were so thankful that he drove all that way. Later, Uber waived my cancellation fee from that other driver. I explained to them that the driver actually asked me to cancel. (They waive the first cancellation fee without you asking – since they figured you did not know about the fee.) Overall it was a mixed experience. Uber is more expensive, and hard to catch currently in the outer boroughs, but it is easy to use and the customer service is pretty good. < / long tangent >)

I bought a separate hood, the filters, etc. It took a couple of weeks to assemble all the parts in an affordable way. And I’ve been looking to stock this new aquarium for a long while. I cycled it with guppies I had in the office for the first month after buying the filter. (I have the Penn Plax Cascade 150 and a 20G sponge filter. Then, I traveled to Oregon, etc. So, I didn’t want to add new fish and abandon it so I left the guppies and waited a few more weeks. Of course throughout, I tested with the Master API liquid kit to make sure ammonia was 0, nitrite was 0 and nitrates were low.

I had the rough gravel left over from my 5 gallon and my dark fine gravel is the Caribsea Eco-Complete, which I used because I wanted to experiment with some plants. You can see some Java Fern and Anubias, which are low light plants. The Anubias had a little flower, which wilted, while I was in Oregon (since we left the lights off). The castle and all the fake silk plants were from my 5 gallon.

At work, another coworker hooked me up with someone in my office who was looking to get rid of his neon tetras, since he wanted to try something else. We actually did a fish swap with the guppies that breed at my desk. I gave him one male, 3 females (2 were pregnant), so that should get his swarm of feeder guppies going. I never wanted neon tetras before, but they are gorgeous in the tank. they are so bright blue with that flash of red. Also, I think 2 of them are actually cardinals instead. They are so skittish. I brought them over between Tuesday and Wednesday, so it’s been 2-3 days and they are just starting to come out. Whenever anyone walks by the aquarium (my floor creaks), they still run away, though. I am hoping after a while they come out of their shell a bit more. I am also considering getting more, because I’ve heard larger shoals/schools give them more confidence. I may pick up like 3 more.

There is still more I need to do. I want to make a background for it out of styrofoam and concrete, but I want to get some black backing to start to hide the wires and the wall. I want to add some more color. I think a Gourami center piece and some colorful Platys (bumblebee?). Once day, I would LOVE to get a German Blue Ram, but I think I am going to wait. I want to plant this tank more, too. I want to change the hood light to glolight and get it a bit more heavily planted. I also want to fill the 5 gallon with a dwarf puffer fish and plant it. I have some other projects in store for that one.

There is still a guppy in there that I can’t catch. One also gave birth in there so there are 7 fry that I can count. They are a little larger and quicker, so I don’t think they will get eaten anymore. I’ll see. I would want to take them out once I stock it a little more.

Any comments/feedback is very much appreciated!


6 or so months ago, I went to work early and got some extra work done, and then took a few minutes for the NIN pre-sale for their Barclays Center performance. I had tried to get tickets to the “last NIN tour” couple of years ago, but utterly failed at every pre-sale and on-sale. I remember trying for days at the sweepstakes Trent held over Twitter. I was pretty devastated. So when they announced another tour (How to Destroy Angels not going to cut it for you, right?), I WAS ON THAT SHIT.

Everything was SO frustrating. During the first pre-sale, the site failed for me. I totally got into nerd-rage mode and complained to the webmaster. They responded to people like me by holding another pre-sale. So, again, I was sure to be available at that time. However, this time… my credit card and debit card kept failing. My bank introduced some weird validation service that I never had to do before on the day of the pre-sale and I just couldn’t buy these tickets. I was so upset that I called my then not-yet-husband to basically screech at him, “GIVE ME YOUR CREDIT CARD!!!! MUST BUY!” He was like, “WHAT’S GOING ON.. AHHH! DON’T EAT ME.”

Fortunately, I still found decent seats (not on the ground, but in section 12 – seated). I bought the tickets. And all was right with the world. We went to Portland, we came back, and then we attended this event.


It was really great. I loved that they played the old hits and as soon as I heard “Terrible Lie,” I was swaying and singing with the rest of them. They did a great light show (my husband identified the light show as something similar to Daft Punk’s pyramid light show work) that really worked for their new album. And their new album is kind of awesome. I really like this direction. And they still scratch that NIN itch. Once you listen, you definitely know Trent Reznor created this sound. (I’m kind of a horrible fan and didn’t really listen to their new album until a day before the concert. I forgot all about it.)

The concert was also kind of funny, because looking around, the demographic is notably a lot older. I felt this way at the last Tori Amos concert, as well. In fact, I felt like I was in the low range of the median.

On another note, maybe because I still feel loyalties to MSG, but I couldn’t get on board with the Barclays Center. I felt really far away from the stage, since I was almost directly center of the whole concert (I was farthest away from the stage on the ground). The angle kind of bothered me. Otherwise, it’s all so fancy looking.

Are you catching them this tour?

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We just got back from Oregon. I was visiting my in-laws and we helped out with their master bathroom makeover.

I had hoped that we would have time to put in the shower tray, walls, and tile the ceiling while we were there. However, we just didn’t have the time to do all that. We were all a little too ambitious. That being said, we did manage to see the fruits of our labor when tiling their bathroom floors. This was one of my first remodeling jobs like this. (In my Brooklyn rental, re-decorating means hammering nails into the walls and hanging things. Maybe I might move a bookcase or two.)

I have to admit that I’ve never been handy, but I’ve been crafty. There is just so much people can and are willing to do for a rental in NYC. There isn’t too much point to changing an apartment, other than the color. I’ve certainly never put a back splash in or anything like that. I love to visit blogs like centasational girl. Her blog was what inspired me to attempt to make our current headboard. I love home makerovers. So I really had fun with this smaller project. It was nice to see the end result of at least one thing.

As you can see, they picked out longer gray tiles. They recently had the floor beneath that redone.

Now that I’ve finished it, I told Ryan that we should have laid the tiles down and glued thinly any tiles that are raised. This way, we can use that as a starting point to level with the mortar. Shoulda Woulda, right? So, we started laying down the files that we did not need to cut. It took a short afternoon and we were done.

Next, we wanted to make patterns of the corner tiles. It was harder, but I started out making a couple of tile sized patterns (for the larger corner pieces). I laid them down on the floor like a tile to mimic the space and how the edges should slope.

This part was surprisingly time intensive, since I wanted to get it right. We couldn’t risk having tiles cut into patterns that don’t fit. For the most part we were pretty successful. We had a few doozies, where we couldn’t use the dry cutter (that traces with a scratch and cuts the tile), because we didn’t have enough of tile to put pressure on the piece. We had to go back and use a fresh tile on a wet saw. There were other tiles that we had to free style the corners on the wet saw, since the tile wouldn’t fit on the dry saw. That was loud, but fun. We had a muffler for the sound, and I used in-earbuds to muffle the sound. There was one pesky piece that kept shifting due to the flooring. We had to chip away at the plaster to get that piece to sit level.

Finally we grouted. That was pretty satisfying and went quickly. Unfortunately, once it dried a bit and we were cleaning, we saw some places where we missed some grout. Some was wiped away by the water. So we waited until it dried a bit and re grouted. Then, you seal and you are done. (The picture below was before the floor was sealed.)