20130804-123314.jpgI haven’t seen many interviews with Jay-Z, but he has no TV presence. My husband says it’s probably because he’s a “studio musician, like me.”

Bill better bring up J’s controversial statement. They just mentioned Belafonte, but it didn’t amount to much. #TeamBelafonte

Our Sunday routine is sleep in, he makes coffee, we make breakfast (this morning it is spinach, beans, sausages, and eggs – a la “4 Hour Body”) and watch Real Time from Friday. (And Bill’s OT from the prior week.)

Edit: So, although Bill didn’t mention anything about the “My presence is charity” comment (Really? I mean, if the man doesn’t want to be charitable or give back, I guess that’s his stupid business, but what a narcissist. As someone who has seen poverty, he still has no idea about the mechanisms that keep people down.), but he did make a final jab at him during the final monologue. He was pleading for a liberal billionaire to take advantage of Citizens United, like the republican party.

I’m not going to lie. As I’ve gotten older, my exhibitionist streak waned. That inkling in me that motivated all those blogs from the past is gone. That being said, I’ve been struggling to reinvent my blogging life. There is part of me that wants to change the domain, the name of this blog, with the concern that I professional life would collide with this blog.

Wedding

I’ve also recently gotten married. The stars aligned and my husband wanted to take the jump. I have a lovely engagement ring that my MIL gave me that belonged to his grandmother. I gave him my father’s watch. Our ceremony had under 30 guests and came together in 2 weeks with the help of family and close friends. It was a total DIY affair.

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It’s been a couple of weeks, but married life is different. We lived like a couple for a while, but now we’re partners. I’ll talk about that sometime. This isn’t something I went into 2013 expecting. This isn’t really how I imagined I would get married. Apparently my friends disagree with me, as they said it was very “me.” Whatever that means.

Health wise, I haven’t been very good. I’ve been lax and put on some pounds that I’m looking to get rid of. I love food too much and living with someone who does not need to restrict their eating is proving hard for me to lose weight.

So that is my life in a nutshell. Did I mention my wedding budget was under $5000? It was probably under $2500, but I haven’t done all of the math. (The biggest expense was the plane tickets.) Yup. Maybe I will talk about that in a future post.

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I’ve been aging Manhattan’s in a charred white oak barrel for the last 2 months. We’ve had several batches and they’ve been getting rave reviews. Read more about it here.

There’s a lot of expensive places, but you really don’t need anything more than $20-30 white oak barrel for home. 1 liter does it for us, but I purchased 2 liters for friends’ bridal showers and wedding gifts (with suggested alcohol to age). You can age wines, vinegars, and more. It’s really versatile and CUTE. I love it as a rustic addition to our decor. Most barrels come with a stand and a small little spigot! It’s the most adorable thing I’ve seen in a while.

My other half wants to try to re-char the insides after a few tries. We’ll report back on how successful we are in reusing the barrels. Hopefully we don’t burn anything else down. (Wish us luck!)

Last time I ran a Half Marathon was earlier this year in the beginning of April, I think. It was the More (Magazine) Half Marathon. I ran it without training, although I was hoping to get back into running. My time was pathetic, but I finished under the 3 hour cut off. I was planning on running the Brooklyn Half, but it fell during my (not really) honeymoon. (I was in Portland with my husband’s family.)

20130608-205310.jpgGoing in a totally different direction, I decided to take up the Russian kettle bell swing. My husband was reading “The Four Hour Body.” Although I’m not a complete devotee, I liked what I read about the move, beings full workout. Also, my good friend Denise recently got certified (and she has an amazing body through kettle bells) to teach, and she raves about its effects (an she’s a real life transformation).

We picked up a 25lb and 35lb kettle ball to start. I’ll report my progress. I’m trying to go in a different direction. I’ll continue running shorter distances (5k-15k). This is really attractive to me, since the time commitment is much less.

I’m also going to try to pick things up here at this blog.

22ac4beafa0411e18fe322000a1c8660_7This summer, I totally got on the succulent bandwagon. Let me explain, I didn’t actually know what succulent plants were. (In botany, succulent plants, also known as succulents or sometimes fat plants, are plants having some parts that are more than normally thickened and fleshy, usually to retain water in arid climates or soil conditions. A common succulent plant is Aloe Vera, for example. A lot of times they were mistaken as “cacti,” but it’s actually not the case.) Ryan and I were in wholefoods, and saw the little succulent (On the right in the blue planter – an echeveria). We were charmed by it. They were having a sale, I think I bought it for something like $2-4, I forget.

That was the summer I was growing basil leaves. (which was a success, except for when I would forget to water them and they would shrivel up. I eventually threw the plant out due to one too many times of neglect.) 2-3 Summers ago, I bought some orchids to liven up the place, but once winter came, my neglect and the cold air in our apartment basically left me with a dried up twig. My point being that I was desperately looking for something that was cute and something that wouldn’t shrivel up. :P

After I added to my collection I decided to replant the succulents I had (at this time I had the burro’s tail trailing one) into colorful blue and yellow planters. The first picture is from this time. I also topped off my collection with 4 air plants in globes. The small container above the echeveria was it’s original container, which it outgrew. There were some small burro’s tail, that I wanted to separate and cultivate on its own in that container.

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Now, I have a couple of different “nurseries” going. You can see the growth of the plants compared with the first picture. The top right is a pepper plant that I got from Las Vegas that I am trying to incubate with no luck. Below is the little burro, which is growing at a snail’s pace with some additional echeveria cuttings. To the right of that is my original echeveria plant with a child (a little hidden) in the top. I might separate the two in the near future. To the right of that is my “nursery” of echeveria cuttings. One is really propagating (below), so I am looking forward to that. I made the little containers by cutting a toilet paper spine in half, cutting snippets of the bottom, folding them in, putting in soil, and leaving the cutting on top (once the roots grew out). This way, when I am ready to plant them, I can put the whole thing in soil, since it’s biodegradable. I also used half an egg carton to drain the water. To the very right is my burro succulent, which is doing ok, but growing very very slowly.

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On the left, you can see the little burro surrounded by echeveria cuttings that sprouted roots. They are pretty firmly planted in the soil, although you wouldn’t be able to tell by looking. On the right, you can see one really growing a little child at the end of the cutting. (This is tiny and in the toilet paper planter.) I am hoping to grow the $4-6 investment into several small little plants that will eventually grow on it’s own.

If I can do this, anyone can. Given their hardiness, cuteness (so plump, not flowery, and adds greenery) you can see why it’s so trendy now. For me, I think they are just aesthetically pleasing, and they seem to like me. :P It’s very forgiving, low maintenance and rewarding. I bought some cactus soil to plant them in, but succulents are very very forgiving. Maybe during the spring I’ll get a new type to add into the family. I like the idea of terrariums, but I’ve been a little gun. I would rather just multiply them, but maybe in the future I can play with the children in different terrarium set ups.

Next time we’ll talk air plants!

20130119-113041.jpgI had some leftover fabric. Originally, I was going to make some pot holders to match my apron. But I had enough of the fabric for pants, so I thought I would give that a try.

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Overall, I finished the pants within 1-2 hours. Even finishing the seams. This and the apron was a good project to learn how to use the bias tape. I actually completely messed up some of the apron trimming, if we talk about technique, but I don’t think you can tell very easily. I am quite proud of the job I did for the edge of these pants.

Pants was always something I thought would be HARD HARD HARD, and anything fitted is still a challenge. However, I was SUPER surprised to see how easy it was to make pajama pants. I think that might be a new thing for me with friends. Everyone is going to get pajama pants as a Christmas gift. HAHAHAHA.

These are really baggy, but quite comfortable, but I will be experimenting with tons of other shapes. I also look like a hobbit in that picture, since it was taken from above. High high above. Maybe I am a hobbit.

I was a little embarrassed to post the photos, but oh well.

Happy New Year! I hope everyone’s holiday was good. My holiday in Oregon was quite enjoyable. I
received more than I could hope for in good cheer, hospitality, and presents.

This year, I feel incredibly motivated to:

  • decorate/improve my living conditions
  • Look to buy an apartment space
  • Cook more dinner at home
  • Craft more (Jewelry, Knitting, and teaching myself how to Sew)
  • Get in better shape financially
  • Kick ass at work
  • Work out/lose the weight gain
  • Finally run 26+ miles
  • See friends regularly
  • Host game nights

The start of 2013 felt like any ol’ day. I wasn’t so much motivated in 2013, as much as I was motivated by my friends. There was something about 2012 that case a shadow over a lot of people I care for. Whether it be health concerns or financial issues, it seems like everyone is looking forward to 2013. I’ve had 2 friends go back to school in the end of last year, another friend starting a new job in the new year, and 2 people graduate from nursing school. There is A LOT of optimism and new beginnings going on. So, I should make this year a productive year, no? I’m trying to be better about letting time go by with the only thing to mark the days, being work during the weekdays.

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I got a new shiny sewing machine for Christmas. :D I also received a beginner pattern, fabric, rick rack trim and bias tape. My very first project was making some pillows out of used bed sheets. Once I confirmed that I threaded the top and bobbin correctly, I was in business and tried my hand at making an apron.

20130107-011319.jpgCutting the pattern and fabric was pretty straight forward. After getting a hang at sewing corners, I was in business, more or less. I still need to figure out the right amount of tension and some thread clumping when it comes to sewing multiple layers (fabric, trimming, bias, and ribbon, for instance).

The pockets didn’t come out very good, so I might rip out the seams and try again. Also in my haste, I sewed the back tie on the wrong side. I’ve finished the trimming on the neck and both sides (the picture on the left is before I was done). It came out pretty well, if I say so myself. I think all in all it came out pretty well for my first project. Some bunches here and there, but it adds character. I didn’t have enough trim to finish the hem, though. It’s still functional, currently, at least. I just broke one needle ( ;( boo) and the thread tangled a bunch.

So… that was my Sunday! Here is to a new year and trying new things!

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Ta da! It’s all hung!

I woke up this morning and realized that my headboard matches the scene out of our window. Branches across a blue sky… What do you guys think? Too seasonal? Too frosty? I like the whimsical pattern and the blue color. We need to get new bedding to bring the whole thing together, but for now, this is our bed!