Friday, January 4, 2013

Do You Hear the People Sing?

I just saw the 2012 movie version of Les Miserables (for the first time - there will be more). I thoroughly enjoyed the live singing adaptation and cried more times than I'd like to admit. Now I've just got to tackle the book, which is my New Years resolution of sorts. I'm resolving to spend a lot more of my time reading quality, not YA fiction, college reading list material that hipsters reference as "any educated person should have read _____ by this point in their life" instead of spending so much time reading pointless Yahoo front page articles and watching half of a season of TV on Netflix in one sitting (oops).

First book of the year: J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit. I know it's kind of a children's book but I'm preparing to read the Lord of the Rings trilogy on my own later this year so I thought I'd start at the beginning. After I finish my homework of course.

I'll leave you with this. I'm torn between laughing and staring silently in awe.


Monday, November 19, 2012

- - - -

Blah blah blah about how it's been forever since I blogged.

I'm so glad I got that all out.

Mini Update before heading home for Thanksgiving break

#1. My beloved Texas Aggies are doing so well right now! I had so much fun a few weeks ago watching them BTHO Alabama in Tuscaloosa from Penberthy Intramural fields using a netbook, a projector, and a white sheet while cheering on our championship powderpuff team. Immediately breaking out in the Aggie War Hymn with about 75 other random Aggies will be one of my favorite memories from college.

#2. We decorated my little white house for Christmas (All you "only after Thanksgiving" people can give me a break since college houses have such a short window for Christmas decorating. I used to be one of you.) It's even more cozy and we drink cocoa by the gallon, even though its only 55 degrees right now.



#3. Decorating tip of the day: paste pictures in pretty layouts onto full sized pieces of scrapbook paper leaving a little extra on the edges for a natural frame. That way you can inexpensively display a lot of pictures by just hanging the pages up on the wall (I used these nifty reusable strips). Once you print out new pictures, you can spruce up the old pages, add notes/cut outs, and slip them straight into a scrapbook. In case you can't tell, I'm exceptionally proud of this idea. I've tried all of my life to make scrapbooks and always put it off. Now I've killed two birds with one stone: decorating and scrapbooking. So crafty! Pictures of the real deal to follow soon.

#4. New Favorite Song (my roommates love it too so if there's internet at my house, you can bet someone's Spotify is playing it)



 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Pinterest comes to Life!

Howdy from one of my favorite places on earth, College Station. This year my roommates and I had to furnish our own place, which has been quite fun! Thank goodness for our parents, who have handed down all sorts of nice (to us!) things.

I made a pinboard of all of the things I wanted to put in my new bedroom and it's been exciting to see it come to life. I put together a 4' tall dresser from IKEA and added the last touches to my craigslist desk, which I am so proud of! Here is it's story.

All Spring Semester I scoured Craigslist and IKEA to find a good desk. I wanted something with drawers for storage and good space to study - even though my favorite place to do my homework at home is our dining room table! In late May, right before I left home for the summer, I dragged my sisters out to the suburbs to buy a desk for $40. This is what it looked like Day 1:


It's similar to the type of furniture I have in my room at home: pastel painted wood with a brown speckled laminate top. Good thing I have a pin for how to paint that!



After the Primer coats


I painted it with Glidden Antique White paint, because I looked up a color that would match the "IKEA white" of the other furniture I wanted.

Ideally, you would seal it with a poly layer, but I ran out of time. I'm going for shabby chic, so I guess we'll just see what happens!

To finish up my project, I sanded off the extra paint (oops) so the drawers would fit in their slots and spruced up the hardware. Originally the handles were a pretty shape, but had a funny color that would not look good with my white paint.


I wanted to keep the hardware but change the color. My solution: SPRAY PAINT! I bought a can of Oil Rubbed Bronze Krylon Brushed Metallic Spray Paint ($3 at Hobby Lobby!)


 

My First Big Furniture Project:



Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A Few Quick Thoughts

Happy August!


 I must say that while I'm loving wearing fancy office-y clothes to my office on the 20th floor everyday and working on my end of the summer intern presentation, I am very much looking forward to moving back to A&M for another year of college! I'll miss this view though.


Watching all of the good Olympics is hard to do when you work from 7 til 4! Good thing they have it streaming on the elevators. Oklahoma City is about 10 degrees hotter than West Texas (who would have thought!?) and way more humid. Not only do I miss Texas, but I miss WEST Texas too!

To celebrate moving back to a bustling city, I went grocery shopping at Whole Foods (Whole Paycheck too!) I got some yummy berries and mango for breakfast and have been eating fresh off the vine tomatoes with salt and pepper for an after work snack! YUM!

Thought for the day:

Why do we pass up lonely, orphaned shopping carts that people leave in the parking lot as "probably gross" but happily pile delicious food into the carts that the attendants collect and line up by the door? I have a sneaking suspicion that none of those things get cleaned very often!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

An Ode to the College Dinner

I'm going to be very honest with you here: I've been wanting to write this post for quite some time and it's kind of important to me so if you find the topic irrelevant or the slightest bit disgusting I understand - but please don't rain on my parade. Just wonder silently how I can choose to live like this and look the other way when you run into me at the grocery store. Ok. Here we go.

I eat frozen dinners.

It all started when I begged my mom to buy me a Kid Cuisine when my babysitter was coming over to watch us while my parents undoubtedly went out to a nice restaurant. I was so excited about eating mac n' cheese and a limp "brownie" out of a divided plastic tray - spork probably included. 

I went through the Easy Mac phase, choked down steaming Hot Pockets, and mourned a little bit when tuna kits stopped coming in cans. As a college student and full time employee during the summer, it can be hard to cook when I get home from a long day. I've tried a lot of quick meal options and I've always come back to Lean Cuisines. They are supposedly healthy, easy to make, and I've found quite a few that I like. Without further ado, here is my official list of the Best Lean Cuisines. 

My Seven Favorite Lean Cuisines (One for Everyday of the Week - Just Kidding)

 7. Fettuccini Alfredo

No mystery meat - just creamy noodles with parsley. Its simple but I like it. 


6. Chicken Enchilada Suiza

Now I''m not sure what enchilada suiza is in real life - I've never seen it on the menu at a Mexican restaurant but this is one of the Lean Cuisines that my mom always stocks for us when she's going out of town. It's spicy, creamy LC goodness.

 

5. Chicken and Vegetables

Really good sauce and lots of veggies - makes you feel ok about eating dinner straight from the freezer.


4. Fiesta Grilled Chicken

I had this for dinner tonight - part of my inspiration for this post. There's something about Lean Cuisine Mexican rice - It's really good! Notice a lot of these entrees are chicken - let's just say freezer chicken beats freezer beef hands down.

 

3. Lemongrass Chicken

My experience with Lean Cuisines leads me to this conclusion: the sauce makes it (or breaks it). This dinner is part of the Spa Cuisine collection - fancy. I love the creamy sauce and brown rice. 

 

2. Macaroni and Cheese

The classic. The only edible food after tightened braces or pulled wisdom teeth.  This freezer dinner in no way compares to my mom's homemade mac and cheese but it has it's own special corner in my heart as freezer comfort food.

1. Salmon with Basil 

I know what you're thinking - the best Lean Cuisine is one with FISH!?! in it? Granted, this Spa Cuisine freezer dinner does make your kitchen smell like microwaved salmon (I have very patient roommates) but it is hands down my favorite. The orzo pasta and sauce are yummy. Salmon is a nice change after all of those chicken dinners.







Some time ago I found a veggie lasagna Lean Cuisine - kind of a healthier version of the Stouffer's variety. Alas, I can't find it anywhere. It may have been discontinued.


The Not-So-Good Lean Cuisines

Just a few opinions. I tried these and wasn't very impressed.

Lemon Chicken 

The chicken is soggy and the sauce is gross. Reminds me of the schnitzel I had at literally every buffet in Israel.

Steak Tips Portabello

You might be tempted to try this entree because it comes with a side of steamed broccoli - resist. Lean Cuisine beef has yet to impress me.

Cheese Ravioli

I ate this one time before going out with some friends - major disappointment. There are only 5 ravioli in the box. I was hungry again before I left the house. 

Market Collection Chicken Alfredo

I was enticed by the fancy steamer bag and pretty navy blue packaging. It looked a lot better than it tasted. 

The official mumbo jumbo: All pictures are from the Lean Cuisine website. I am not being compensated to review these products. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

June Already!?

Hello again from the land of windows that creak in the wind at night and mysterious dust clouds that manage to overpower the recirculate button in your white pick up truck to come filtering through the MAX A/C. I like West Texas. I really do. People have insinuated that I must not like socializing since my hometowns have morphed from Dallas to College Station to One-Hour-Away-From-Anything-and-Everything. Truth be told, I'm an introvert so being by myself when I get the chance is kind of a delicious treat/necessity for sanity. After work, I'm planning to watch all seven series of Gilmore Girls (a worthy goal) and read a lot of books. And go to bed early, since work starts at 6:30 A.M. (This is the girl who stays up til 2 or 3 regularly in college). 

Now for part two of my series on tiny apartment living. Got a cute but crampt antique sink?

1
 Fix your storage problem with an over-the-door shoe organizer! The pockets are big enough for large bottles of lotion, straighteners, or a collection of things that go together (contacts solution and case or a mini makeup bag full of nail polish). I bought a clear plastic one so I can see what's in the pockets and it will be easy to clean. They're also relatively inexpensive ($5 -$10) so you can just throw it out when you move if you don't need it anymore. All of your things are right where you need them!

The Finished Product

Monday, May 21, 2012

DIY

Apartment Crafting and DIY - Part 1

This title might be a bit presumptuous because I don't know how many other parts I'm going to get around to doing. After 4 (yes FOUR. let's just say the curtains were an issue) trips to Wal-mart in one day, my new apartment is well on its way to feeling like a cosy little home. I have a few projects in mind to add some personal touches to my rented furniture so with out further ado, here is my very first tutorial.

DIY Bookends

As a college student and a lover of books, every place that I've lived since I passed first grade has been surrounded by books. Nancy Drew, English Literature, and now Geology and Petrophysics but the basic concept is still the same. Once you have collected books over the years, you are faced with the not-so-easy task of sorting and displaying them in the ever changing environment of college student housing. There are cheap bookshelves from Target and Ikea (minor assembly required) or the ever popular Leaning-Tower-of-Pisa/Jenga stacking method. After browsing all that Wal-mart had to offer, I came up with the idea for these inexpensive and customizable bookends.

What you need:

Two glass containers - could be any of the following:
  • small baking containers (the ones organized people put flour and sugar in on their counters instead of putting the bag in the depths of the pantry)
  • small flower vases
  •  mason jars with lids
Square Mason Jar

Square Vase

Dry Goods Container


Assorted Fillers - needs to be something heavy
  • Marbles
  • Decorative Fish Tank Pebbles
  • Smooth River Rocks
  • Seashells
  • Old Coins - investment for a rainy day!
  • Pretty Scrapbook Paper 

Marbles

Seashells

Sea glass - My favorite!


All of my components were purchased at Wal-mart for about $10.
Assembly is simple. Just fill the containers with any combination of pebbles and rocks until they are heavy enough to hold up the books. 

My suggestion is to get a squarish container because they will support the weight of the books better than a round one (sorry Mason jar lovers). Also, make sure your containers are tall enough to support the books - just a little over half the height of the books. 

If you use sea shells, you might want to put something heavy in the bottom of the container to keep them from sliding. You can cut a rectangle of scrapbook paper to fit the inside of your container and then weigh it down by filling the container up with spare change. I also suggest putting some felt or grippy drawer liner on the bottom of the containers to make them extra sturdy. 

Enjoy your new book ends and feel free to switch out the contents of the jars to match your decor! 


My finished project. The fish bowl marbles I bought ended up looking like sea glass!