Thursday, June 27, 2013

Rulings and Races.

Yesterday was monumental. Regardless of your political beliefs, and I do want to avoid those here, but I will venture to disclose that I believe in human equality. I also feel like I'm writing in a formalize tone, but that's because I'm reading Pride and Prejudice. 

On Wednesday, June 26, the Supreme Court of the United States decided that part of two different laws, one federal and one from the state of California, were unconstitutional. The court decided that the part of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that denied benefits to same-sex marriages was unconstitutional, and that California's Proposition 8 that banned same-sex marriage was also unconstitutional.  

I'm excited. I'm proud of this country. I want you to know that the new was delivered to the press by a pack of sprinting interns. 


I've lived in DC for three years and still learning fun facts from Buzzfeed. Did you know that broadcast interns literally race each other to deliver groundbreaking news from the court to their stations? Well, not all are as enthusiastic, but I'll let you peruse at your leisure. I'd go so far as to say that some weren't committed, because every girl knows, and every guy that's seen one can probably guess, that pencil skirts aren't the most flexible. Regardless, I admire the delivery of these interns, including their ability to safely descend down the marble stairs with the finish line in sight. I can't do that on most days and I don't ever have pressing, time-sensitive news to deliver. I maintain that the pervasive use of marble in DC for public curbs and stairs is the largest hidden threat, and an expensive one at that. 

This takes me to my current situation: I have an intern for the summer, and my manager told me that he wants to prank him. I need suggestions and ideas.  I don't have a pack of interns, so I can't make them race, but I'm going to keep this in mind until I can.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Keyed in.


We've been house hunting for three months. It doesn't sound long at all, but I can assure you that it could just as easily be six months or a year - anything over a month feels long, drawn-out, and fairly hopeless. 

Sorry to start as such a downer. I'm really feeling that way though. To put it in perspective, I have friends that have had to fight for a house - battle it out in the bidding, know when to walk away, have a house taken from them, and then win it back. I'm so thankful I haven't had to go through that, and hopeful that I'll never know those struggles.

I'm trying to transition and it's just not happening. 

I've had a home-themed craft on my mind since my trip to England. While on Portobello Road perusing the antiques, I bargained for a bunch of keys. I say bargained, but really I was building up the courage to bargain for a sold half hour that I think the man just wanted me to move on. It's weird - I was a champion purse haggler in NYC in high school, but those British accents took all the gusto out of me.

This project is incredibly easy. I gather a frame I had on hand, which looks like it's from Ikea, some neutral fabric (which is still from my former curtains), a hot glue gun, and a key (if you're trying to recreate this exactly).


You might also need some cardboard. I realized that my backing wasn't thick enough to support my key and fill the frame. I just as easily traced a piece of cardboard and cut it to size with an exacto knife.


Then I wrapped the cardboard in the linen fabric, making sure that the lines within the fabric were straight. I then eyeballed the center for the key and dotted the back of the key with hot glue.


I like the little boost that the glue gives the key, allowing it to have a three-dimensional effect. For now, I'm hoping it'll be a good luck charm for a home.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Picture This: Week 25.

I started a picture-a-day project this year. My intent is to try and appreciate every day, the good and the bad. That, and it's a fun way to see the year compiled into a bunch of snapshots. I'm posting weekly recaps of the past seven days. It's a fun way to recap the week and to keep me motivated to try new things and live it up every day. It's rarely ground-breaking, but I couldn't handle that anyway. Does anyone else do this? I'd love for you to share! You can start anytime, too - a new year doesn't have to start on January 1. I'd love to nose around your life and live vicariously. In the least creepy way possible. And PS - my sister does this as well, but I'm losing faith in her ever updating her blog. Check out my past weeks through the "picture-a-day" topic link on the right.


June 17, 2013

I met a friend for an evening walk around Old Town on Monday. I need to force myself to enjoy my environment more, and tricky signs should definitely help with that.

June 18, 2013

I met friends at the Postal Service concert on Tuesday. I'm so happy they're touring and that they came to a nearby venue. The show was the culmination of my high school dreams.

June 19, 2013

Dare I say this is the best statistic ever?

June 20, 2013

Someone posted the Stephen Colbert tribute to his mom on Facebook. I'm a fan, so I clicked it. It one of the most heartfelt, sincerest, and moving tributes. Watch here, and be prepared to tear up a bit.


June 21, 2013

Is there anything more exciting that bloodwork at an urgent care center on a Friday? Everything came back normal, but I'm still not feeling well, so I don't know which I'd prefer.

June 22, 2013

I'm trying to make myself eat better and that starts with kicking out the ice cream. In it's place are breakfast and smoothies for the week. I'm the top shelf. My roommate and the mass quantities of meat are the bottom.


June 23, 2013

My Sundays have to stop looking like this.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Kool-aid Conundrum.

A few times a year, I crave Kool-Aid. Tropical punch Kool-Aid, to be exact. As I like to live life on the edge, I like to enjoy said beverage wherever I would like in the house. I'm not clumsy enough that I spill my drink every day, but it should be known that I spilled water twice on my belover first Mac, and the second time was the kiss of death. It should also be known that neither incident was alcohol-induced, so the spillage was completely attributable to laziness, carelessness, clumsiness, and general flailing. I'm not proud.

I'm gathering that you can logically guess where this is going - I spilled Kool-Aid. Thankfully, it was not on my Mac. It was, however, on my beige carpet and it's now a month before I move out and try to retrieve all of my security deposit.

In my instant panic after dropping 24 ounces of red Kool-Aid on my desk and watching the liquid dye roll off the back and onto the carpet, I forgot to take true before pictures. I dropped a line about my stupidity while I ran for towels, so this is the damage after sopping up the mess with multiple towels:


All of these pictures are going to be in high contrast, because that's the only way I can get this to look like what I'm actually seeing. This spot is right next to my window, so the direct light was blowing things out and making this not look like a problem, when in reality, it was a very real, red problem. You can see some faint stains on the wall where the culprit poured down and a nice red patch along the baseboard.

I did the first thing I normally do when I'm bored, have a problem, need a craft, or otherwise am on the internet: I went to Pinterest.  I found a link that sent me to this page. I was skeptical, as I usually like to see real-life before and afters before I trust it, but I had nothing to lose and only money to gain. Again: security deposit. 

To start, gather your supplies. You'll need an iron, a white towel, clear ammonia (available at the grocery store), water, and a vessel to mix the ammonia and water (I used a spray bottle). It helps if you have a stain, too.


Combine equal parts of ammonia and water in a well ventilated area. Soak the stain in a well ventilated area. Ammonia is seriously abrasive stuff. Heat the iron to the highest cotton setting. Lay the towel over the soaked area and iron in short increments.


It's normal for the iron to sizzle. As you iron, the stain will start to pull up into the towel. Work your way around the stain until the iron isn't sizzling. The aftermath is pretty rewarding.


I still felt like I saw some stain remnants at this point, but was nervous that I was staining white towels at the expense of clean carpet. So I took an intermission to wash a load of whites, and with a little bleach, the towels came out as if nothing happened.  I also painted the wall in that time so the faint stains pointing down to the carpet I was trying to hide wouldn't blow my cover.


Armed with the fact that the towels would recover, I made another batch of the ammonia and water and worked at the stain again. 

I think I'm satisfied now.


Satisfied, and impressed with the work of an iron. This picture is the truest color to the carpet. I think I can still see some pink, but I don't know if that's because I'm a perfectionist and imaging things or if it's really there. Either way, I'm considering this passable for an apartment inspection.


Agree? Full of confidence to rid your carpet of Kool-Aid stains? Or is that not a widespread problem? Either way, I hope everyone continues to live recklessly and drink Kool-Aid wherever they want in their light-carpeted house, with maybe a little less fear for their carpet's longevity.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Greyed out.

Every so often, I discover something about myself that makes me stop and realize that I'm becoming my parents. I'm not talking about another weird-looking, potentially-cancerous mole, though one of them bestowed me with that lovely gene. Thankfully, they haven't been cancerous yet. I'm talking about the neuroses that can't be explained by anything other than a personality trait.

I have my mother's obsession for clean sheets and bedspreads.  This means that I've bought three bedspreads in three years.  As I write this, I have tabs open for new bedspreads. I show no signs of slowing down.


In just as much time, I've realized that none of these bedspreads has been what I actually wanted. On a very regular annual cycle, I would decide that my bedspread was the solution to my bedroom decor problems. Nevermind the hole in my heart for the perfect headboard, my desire to paint the walls, the lack of bedside tables or lamps, to name a few. Clearly the bedspread has never been the pivotal problem. I would spend a few months researching, waiting for perfect prices, and then anticipating the arrival of the bedspread (because I usually order them). 

This was the exact situation I found myself in before I left for England for two months. With the impending trip, however, I showed some restraint and didn't make a purchase. The very day I landed in the states, however, I did. Dad's plane was delayed, so Veronica and I took a trip to nearby Ikea to kill time, and I bought a duvet cover. Honestly, I was in America for three hours and I bought a duvet. This is why Rhonda thinks I'm seventy years old. 

I thought it was the duvet to solve all problems. My former duvet, from West Elm, had proven to not withstand much pressure on its pintucks, so I would occasionally hear a rip when I flopped down on my bed after work. I know there are other solutions to this problem, such as not flopping on the bed in utter exhaustion after work, but it's absolutely the best feeling in the world to take off you pants and flop on your bed after work and the walk home in the oppressive DC humidity. The duvet wasn't having that, though.


The IKEA duvet was plain and without any frills. I wouldn't rip it. I thought the grey would be a nice compliment to my various colors of pillows, and hide any potential spills very well. Somehow the West Elm duvet completely hid a Kool-Aid spill. 


The result was very 'meh'. Instead of making the pillows pop, it seemed to pull them into it's blasé abyss. Note that not all of these pillows live on the bed at the same time - I was just trying to see who would compliment the new bedding best. It's a real life Survivor: Pillows up in here. That, and the comforter within doesn't want to lay flat, so there's persistent lumps. And I need a headboard and side tables.

I thought maybe the problem was the euro sham textures being too matchy-matchy with the standard shams, so a quick trick of the fabric, and I had two new pillows. Or fake pillows, as this is just fabric thrown over them. I'm sorry, that was insulting. Of course you knew that.

 
Turns out, that wasn't it. It's not working, and I have to face the fact that I might need more of that blue damask fabric. I think, however, that I'll crush this duvet problem with a white bedspread. All white, with subtle texture, and that's big and voluminous. The pillows will pop, my future door-turned headboard will be a neutral, non-completing background to add some masculine to the fluffy, feminine bedding, and it will just be the perfect yin and yang. Funny thing is, I thought I wanted that in January. I held off on that though, and then three months of pent-up duvet-postponed led me to jump on the first neutral in Ikea (because there wasn't a white). I fully regret these decisions.

A lot of this is pending a house and a wedding and other monetary-demanding things. 

As if my six-months of deciding and really feeling that this could be it, fate stepped in with this post on a blog I follow today:


That's Erin's bedroom from House of Earnest and she just so happened to post a new white bedspread today, complete with a narrative about how she's been pining for one, talked herself out of it because it'd be hard to clean, realized that all hotels have white bedspreads and there's a magical thing known as bleach, and then went for it. If that's not a sign, I don't know what is.

Sorry for so much bedspread talk. I'll try to liven it up.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Picture This: Week 24.

I started a picture-a-day project this year. My intent is to try and appreciate every day, the good and the bad. That, and it's a fun way to see the year compiled into a bunch of snapshots. I'm posting weekly recaps of the past seven days. It's a fun way to recap the week and to keep me motivated to try new things and live it up every day. It's rarely ground-breaking, but I couldn't handle that anyway. Does anyone else do this? I'd love for you to share! You can start anytime, too - a new year doesn't have to start on January 1. I'd love to nose around your life and live vicariously. In the least creepy way possible. And PS - my sister does this as well, but I'm losing faith in her ever updating her blog. Check out my past weeks through the "picture-a-day" topic link on the right.


June 10, 2013

I had a meeting Monday afternoon that required me to brave the sudden opening of the heavens. That water rushing down the street was almost overflowing onto the curb!


June 11, 2013

There was no sign of the storm on Tuesday, just a beautiful walk to work. My walk from Chinatown to Mass Ave takes about six blocks, and the character of those areas changes just as quickly. I discover new pretty buildings every day.


June 12, 2013

I'm lucky to have a family that understands my obsession to this instant dough. I haven't been able to find it easily in DC, so my mum makes sure to stock me up.
 

June 13, 2013

The threat of storms and a derecho lurked most of the week. Unfortunately, we didn't even get a good thunderstorm out of these ominous clouds.


June 14, 2013

I got a new work computer on Friday. It's lid snaps close! Major upgrade.


June 15, 2013

I'll miss the brick sidewalks and tree-lined streets of Alexandria.


June 16, 2013 
 
There are days when I wake up and my bed-head is better than I can hope for my hair to look that day. I'm jealous of my bed-head volume.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Pack it up, pack it in.

Every time's a good time for a House of Pain reference. 

As I gradually pack for my two moves this year, the first coming in a few weeks, I've been trying to organize and sort everything I've gathered in the past two years of not moving. It's like these two moves are to make up for my celebration of a lack of move last year. Karma. Anyway, the goal is to make it as seamless as possible, or as close to that as I can get with boxes and possessions in storage across three states. 

The closet is under specific scrutiny and my fix victim was my ribbon hanger.

I originally got the idea from Pinterest. Take a pants hanger and use it to stock your spools of ribbon. This was a revelation made in my early days of Pinterest, when every pin made me scream YES! THAT'S SO SMART. My enthusiasm was that strong. Now, most intimidate me. That's neither here, nor there.

It turns out that the ribbon spools on the pants hanger was not a smart idea. Rather, ribbon spools on a hanger in my closet might not have been a smart idea, because the ribbons twisted and twirled around my clothes. The real solution would be a craft room, but that's an out-of-reach luxury in DC.  I also had the unfortunate luck of buying ribbon spools without an actual spool piece on each side, so the ribbons wobbled.


I had initially thrown the ribbons in a bag and resigned myself to a life of ribbons stored in a bag. Okay, maybe that's a little dramatic. Pinterest, the sneaky site that it is, came in to save me when I didn't know I needed saving and presented this: the ribbon box.


The pin doesn't link to anywhere useful, but the concept is clear. 

I set off to make a box to hold it all. By make a box, I mean that I used a shoebox.


Even the size 11 box couldn't fit my small array of ribbon.


I used an exacto knife to carefully cut some holes along the side. 


I fed the ribbon through the holes, but realized it wasn't right.  The holes were too big and the ribbon still wobbled. It was more manageable, because it twisted back into the box instead of around my closet, but still. That wasn't the goal.  I had planned to recover the box, but scrapped it when it failed. So that bottom box of the Pinterest pin is a hoax. Truth hurts.

I retried with a bigger shoebox. This one had sold shoes, not just sandals. I started by spraying the sides with spray adhesive and using leftover curtain linen to smooth around the sides.  I finished the present-wrapping method by hot gluing the fabric on the inside of the box.


It turned out quite nice, if I do say so myself. I may have just tried this out in different sparse displays in my house because I packed every knick knacky thing up.


I then measured out where I wanted my holes. I chose to space them 3/4" apart, so I went along the box and marked the spots in pen.


I had originally planned on punching the holes where I marked the pens, but my eyelet-puncher/hole-puncher only has two depths, so I deferred to the 3/16" setting. The pen marks did help line up my punches, though, so it wasn't a total lost cause.


Using the eyelet punch piece, I then went down the line of holes and popped in the eyelets. It was super easy - I pushed the eyelet through then used the punch to flatten their posts and secure them in place.


Just like that, my ribbon was moving in and staying put. 


The mistaken bonus is that the lid slides down over the eyelets, holding the ribbon tails in place. It also means that if my need for hoards of ribbon ever dies, I can re-purpose the box and not have to worry about the strange sight lines that a row of eyelets on one side.


Man, I should've made this box eons ago. I'm a bit disappointed in myself, and I packed away all my little decorations so I can't even style this guy up on my desk. Karma.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Rainbow Cake Bake.

Veronica's 24th birthday was a couple of weeks ago.  She's big on life presents (presents spontaneously presented to her throughout the year when the desire strikes the presenter), so she's always tossing out options for us. Off-hand, a few months ago, she mentioned that all she and Dinah, her older cat that turned five this year, wanted for their shared birthday was a rainbow cake.

I was up for the challenge.

I started with two boxes of white angel cake, a pack of food coloring, and the ingredients to make our favorite homemade icing. I wanted to just link up the icing because I was sure I had made it before on here, but it seems that is false. So here's the icing interlude:

Icing, makes 3 cups:
  •  1 cup vegetable shortening
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla or almond extract (I usually do a half teaspoon of each if there's no nut allergies celebrating)
Mix the shortening, water, and extract in a mixer. Add in the powdered sugar slowly and increase the blending speed. Mix until all is well blended. This recipe makes stiff consistency icing. For thin consistency, add two tablespoons of water for each cup of icing. For those that don't want to do the math, that was six tablespoons in addition to the ingredients above for thin icing.
 ...do do do. We're back to rainbow cake making. I mixed one box of white cake per the instructions on the box. I then divided the mix into three bowls by scooping 1/3 cup to each until I was out of mix. Then, I added in drops of food coloring until the mixes were looking like their respective colors.


I baked the mix according to the box, let them cool, and started icing. The layers stacked from purple up to red.


Greg bought some sparkler candles to top off the cake.


We sang, she smiled, and blew out the candles a few times.


Then we cut the cake for the big surprise.  Veronica was really excited.


Happy 24th, pretty girl! You have a very exciting year ahead of you, and I can't wait to celebrate along the way with you. I love you!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Picture This: Week 23.

I started a picture-a-day project this year. My intent is to try and appreciate every day, the good and the bad. That, and it's a fun way to see the year compiled into a bunch of snapshots. I'm posting weekly recaps of the past seven days. It's a fun way to recap the week and to keep me motivated to try new things and live it up every day. It's rarely ground-breaking, but I couldn't handle that anyway. Does anyone else do this? I'd love for you to share! You can start anytime, too - a new year doesn't have to start on January 1. I'd love to nose around your life and live vicariously. In the least creepy way possible. And PS - my sister does this as well, but I'm losing faith in her ever updating her blog. Check out my past weeks through the "picture-a-day" topic link on the right.


June 3, 2013

I arrived for my first day of work on a new client and was greeted with a sign: You're ready for this. I sure hope so.


June 4, 2013

I took the mile and a half walk to another client on Tuesday, passing the Government Accountability Office and a file of unattended papers. Yet, we still wonder how government secrets get published.


June 5, 2013

...that seems a bit harsh.


June 6, 2013

I fixed my sister's birthday present on Thursday with a new clock attachment. I'm so proud of this. Details to come.


June 7, 2013

Nero's a pretty, pretty princess! Poor boy puts up with a lot, being raised with two aunts. 


June 8, 2013

I went dress shopping on Saturday with my two aunts that were in town, my future mother-in-law, my two sisters and bridesmaids, and my mum. I was prepared for the worst, but after a marathon four-hour session, I found a dress (spoiler alert: it's not the one pictured) and it was a great afternoon. I must remember to bring snacks for the next marathon wedding-planning session.


June 9, 2013 
 
On Sunday, Veronica, Stephanie, and I ran the Color Me Rad 5K in Pittsburgh. Veronica and I ran it last year and loved it. This year's verdict: the race wasn't as good, but it was better with Steph. The race was at a new location this year (an outdoor concert venue), but that meant running in a gravel parking lot (read: skidding and sliding around turns for us). There weren't as many color stations, and the people at the color stations weren't as pumped as last year. It was a little disappointing (and sucked some motivation), but we still had fun, and are trying to preserve out shirts.

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