Thursday, April 17, 2014

Getting it Together: Baby Steps

If you don't know what this is, get out. Or google "Perfect Strangers"
Hey, strangers. How you been?

I'm not going to bother trying to explain why I disappeared or what I've been up to since then because it's not even that interesting. I'll just start from today. (Also not that interesting, but hey.)

What I'm trying to do now is get my shit together in, like, every facet of my life. There are a lot of things that don't come easily to me - like organization, tidiness, and general having-it-togetherness - but I am basically going to try to force myself to change that and become someone I'm not! Starting off with a healthy perspective is so important.

Here's what I'm trying to do:
  1. Get our expenses under control
  2. Cook more, eat out less
  3. Pack lunches
  4. Use what I have, waste less
  5. Keep the house clean
  6. Keep the house organized
  7. Exercise at least somewhat regularly
(Yes, at the age of 30, my goals essentially boil down to just living like an actual adult.) Some of those kind of go together, and several of them have sub-goals that fall underneath. For example, a sub-goal relating to numbers 1 and 7 is to stop driving to work, that way I won't have parking expenses, and I'll be doing some walking as part of my train commute.

Some of those can also work directly against each other on days when it feels like there just isn't enough time to do it all. If making time for exercise comes at the expense of cooking dinner, but we end up eating crappy fast food because it's cheap, what good is any of that? No good. So far I've done a pretty good job handling those kinds of roadblocks, but damn, it's hard.

What I do after a day of ass kicking and goal achieving
I'm doing pretty well with our expenses, cooking, packing lunches, and wasting less. (Except for Milkgate 2014, but that's a story for another time.) I'm doing alright with the exercise. The clear loser in this situation is the cleaning and organization. I want to get better at that and add some new goals into the mix eventually, like learning to sew, learning to take good pictures, talking with long-distance family and friends more often, planting a little balcony garden, and completing some lingering projects around the apartment. But let's not lose our minds here.

Baby steps.


Monday, October 1, 2012

From the Frontlines of the War on Crap Disguised as Food

I've already admitted to liking my fair share of crappy food. I eat junk food and go to McDonald's sometimes. Yeah, I said it! But I also try to incorporate organic products when possible and when (I think) it really matters. I follow the "Dirty Dozen" list, for example. Even when I don't buy organic, I at least prefer to get food that is actually food. These preferences can result in higher food costs. Higher than exclusive Whole Foods shoppers' bills? No, but definitely higher than my frugal boo would like.

Boo prefers shopping at places like Superior Grocers, a local chain with super low produce prices and several lines of crap, er, products that are also super low in price. In my opinion, some of these things are actually overpriced because they aren't really even food.
Superior Grocers: Purveyor of Fine Foods, like Sugar Water and Salt Covered Chemicals
Juice is the bloodiest battleground in my house. Sometimes my boo comes home boasting of the incredible deal he got on "juice" which is really just sugar water. I tell him I can make some sugar water for free, artificial color included, with what's in the pantry. Nevertheless, I decided to go to Superior on Monday to try to do the boo a solid and save us some money. That is when I found this:
Bottom center, look closely
CONTAINS NO JUICE. NONE. APPLE ARTIFICIALLY FLAVORED DRINK! Line your kids up, everybody! We've got apple flavored drink for sale!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Update on Those Bloody Shelves

They are finally up.

Where was our drill? We still don't know, but we borrowed one from my boo's brother. We didn't have the right bit to drill through the bracket so we could have holes that matched up with the studs. Improvisation was required.

Then, after we were finished, he found the correct bit in a bag.

The shelves look nice I guess, but one is about six inches farther to the left than I wanted it to be. I measured where I wanted them to go before I found the studs, and then once the studs were found, things got wonky real fast. Oh well.

This is my only real concern.


Are all my beautiful vintage cocktail glasses going to slide off and crash to the ground?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Tale of Everything Becomes Annoying

Alternate titles* - The Tale of When Romance Helps with Rocky Moments, Except That Those Moments Make it Difficult to Generate Romance and The Tale of These Bloody Shelves. Pick your angle. Choose your own adventure.

Sometimes being in a committed relationship is like torture, only it's torture that you signed up for. Some of us even spent years longing for it and thousands upon thousands of dollars celebrating it. But you better believe most of us didn't see shit like this coming.

Am I talking finances?

Am I talking about matters in the bedroom?

Am I talking about trust issues?

No, worse. I'm talking about my boo's inability to buy a freaking stud-finder when he says he will. Stick with me. There's a lot to go over.

if it wasn't clear, the gorilla is me.
Sunday evening - After many, MANY sweaty hours of working on some of my projects, I sat down to eat some dinner with boo. I desperately needed a shower, and it was getting late, so he offered to go to Home Depot for me to get the screws and a stud-finder for hanging the bloody shelves I bought from Ikea.  I read one too many horror stories about these shelves ripping out of people's walls, even when they used real bad-ass screws, because they hadn't screwed into studs. It was important to me that we find studs.  I made this very clear to him. Very clear.

Approximately 30 minutes later he returns. He says he's found just the thing. I say, great! With these screws and the studs we should be in business! He says, I didn't get the stud-finder.

HE DIDN'T GET THE STUD-FINDER.

I'll get it tomorrow, he says. He works next to a Home Depot, so this should be easy. It should take all of ten minutes.

Monday after work- I'm running approximately 8,000 errands while he is doing things like going for a freaking jog and nerding out to photoshop tutorials on youtube. I'd like him to find studs during this time, but he can't. And why can't he?

BECAUSE HE DIDN'T GET THE STUD-FINDER.

He forgot. So, that became errand 8,001 for me.

I finally got home at 8:15, one hour before I needed to get in bed, only to find that he hadn't thought to vacuum our horribly gross carpets before his mom's visit. (She stays over every other Monday.) He also hadn't thought to read my mind to know that he should do it.

Instead of screaming, “WHY DIDN’T YOU RUN THE FREAKIN’ VACUUM”, I managed to say “oh no, the carpets are so dirty! We need to vacuum before your mom comes”

He said it was okay, I said it wasn’t, he volunteered to do it. I sat in the bedroom eating gummy bears so as not to criticize him for not vacuuming to my liking.

Tuesday  - the shelves were not even close to being up, and the idea of getting dinner made and cleaned up AND putting up shelves made me feel stabby. That's when I remembered this -

My boo says, on multiple occasions, “I can help you with dinner so you don’t have to do everything yourself”

It occurred to me that if he helped my slow-ass with dinner, we could get to the shelf business a little faster.

I say, I need to ask you for help with dinner tonight.
My boo says, sure, I can help after my run.

AFTER HIS RUN?!

I just can't even. Before I even got a chance to post this last night, we realized we don't have the right kind of mothafuckin battery for the mothafuckin stud-finder. I do recall that several months ago I came upon some of these batteries on clearance, only for my boo to proclaim "when will we ever need those?"

The time is now, it seems.


*a thousand thanks to my friend Cristina for input and title ideas!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Do You Ever Dream of Candy Coated Raindrops? I DO!

Do y'all love candy as much as I do? I fucking love candy. Kim Kardashian would smell a cavity on me if we ever hugged, I just know it. Sometimes I think I might be six years old. Give me some chicken strips, fries, and some candy for dessert and I'm goooooood. I also love chips, sooooo.

Remember this?
I bought a box of these tiny bags at Target. Now you can pack little tiny candy portions in your lunch!!!Target has all SORTS of candy varieties just waiting to be packed in your lunch, or your children's lunch I suppose. That may not be the greatest idea lest you end up raising a child that is a lot like me as an adult.

I bring two, which is 75 calories worth of pure sugary, chewy, fruity bliss.

Treat yo'self. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

IKEA Survival Tips

I lost my blogging momentum. AGAIN! I hear blogs are dead, so it probably doesn't matter much anway.

I'm having friends over next Saturday which has prompted me to (attempt to) complete many, many little projects around this apartment. One of which required a trip to IKEA. If you've ever been to IKEA, you know it can be a unique and strange hell on earth. Here are some tips for getting through it alive and with your personal relationships in tact.

That door is like a mouth, ready to eat you. via ikea.com

1. If possible, go alone. 
If you don't really need help, go by yourself. Don't take your children if you can help it. You can move more quickly and don't have to worry about the potential fatigue, hunger, irritability, or generally otherwise unpleasantness of your companions.

1a. If you do go with other people, don't feel obligated to stick together.  Unless the other people are children.
This is especially true if you and the people in your group shop at different paces. Make a loose plan about when/where you will meet up periodically and/or keep your phones on you with the volume on if you need to call and find each other. Large groups move at a glacier pace, irritating themselves and everyone around them.

2. Eat first. 
50 cents to save your life
I swear, even if you ate at home, grab one of those 50 cent hot dogs BEFORE you shop. It may be located by the exit, but you can just cut over and grab one and then go back inside. This way, you will avoid becoming one of those people slowly floating around in some sort of hot-dog deprived, low blood sugar fog, running into people at every turn. (See number three below)

3. Watch where you are going! (Also known as, stop and look at the roses)
It seems like you should be able to walk at a leisurely pace while browsing the selections, but this is simply not reality at IKEA. You will bump into people. Other people will bump into you. I like to pick a little out of the way corner, stop, look around and survey the scene, and then walk over to particular items that look good to me. If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.

4. Skip the showroom
Here is where you get to business.
If you are going to IKEA for a specific item, go straight to it. If it's furniture, just make sure you know everything you need to know before you get there. (See number six below) If you do need to go through the showroom, try to stay focused. Save your energy for the actual reason(s) you're there.

5. Go rogue
Yesterday the aisles were packed with people. Large families mostly, and tons of children. Everywheres. In most spots, the areas where furniture and other items were on display were pretty empty. I skipped the aisles and walked through the display areas. Much easier. When I got to the marketplace area, I went against the flow of people and started at the end. People tend to follow each other, and if you break from the masses, you'll have more space to yourself to look around.

6. Be willing to accept the consequences of shopping at IKEA in the first place
IKEA products notoriously lack specific instructions, and all it takes is a quick google of "IKEA fail" to see that assembling and installing IKEA pieces can be a disaster. For example, I thought I had done plenty of research on the Lack floating shelves. One thing I didn't research was the best way to hang them or the required screws and such so they don't come crashing down. Of course IKEA does not provide the screws as there are all different kinds of walls requiring different screws! Of course! Wouldn't it have been nice if this had occurred to me yesterday? If you have your eye on a particular item, get Google's take before you buy. If you make an impulse purchase, be ready for it to be a more involved project than you realized.
A strong but understandable stance
If your trip is still a disaster after taking my advice, you can join the band* of people who've determined IKEA to be satan.



*they are, in fact, a band. as in one that plays satanic and bluesy music. they might not actually consider IKEA to be satan. learn about them and see original pic courtesy of the Icelandic Music Mafia. My ability to link disappeared halfway through this post so go to http://icelandicmusicmaffia.blogspot.com/2011/03/music-alliance-pact-map-30-march-2011_15.html.  Furniture pick-up area pic from here http://phoenix.about.com/od/shoppingandservices/ss/IKEA_9.htm


Friday, September 7, 2012

It's the Freakin' Weekend - Make Yourself a Drink

Summer is almost over! (Don't you dare tell me that it's already over because it's after Labor Day and kids are back in school. Don't you dare!)

 Before summer is actually gone, you should take an opportunity to enjoy its bounty. By that I mean, you should take some summer fruit and mix it with ice and alcohol before it is too cold and too cost prohibitive to do so.

Skills, I like to think I has them.
While in Miami, I felt like it was only natural that I drink copious amounts of rum-based beverages. I also insisted on stocking the condo with fruit, less because I was feeling health conscious and more because it seemed like the right thing to do in such a tropical environment. The rum and fruit came together with mint in a glorious union known as the mojito. I made classic mojitos, strawberry mojitos, and watermelon mojitos.(See above photo, obvi) I suggest you make some tonight, and if you don't know how, you're 'bout to know.
I have this sitting on my vanity. I don't do yoga. Get yours here.
First you will need to make a simple syrup. If you want to get fancy with some sort of flavor-infused simple syrup, please, go nuts. I am going to put the simple in simple syrup. It's basically one part water to one part sugar, brought to a boil until the sugar dissolves and then cooled. It keeps for awhile, so if you make too much, do not worry. This will give you a reason to make more drinks over the coming weeks. In fact, make too much.

Muddle 1.5 ounces of simple syrup in a glass with a whole mess of mint leaves and a wedge of lime. I don't have a muddler so I use a spoon. Muddle the shit out of that mint, lime, and syrup.Some recipes will tell you to use the juice of the lime, but all sorts of delicious lime flavors comes out of the rind as you muddle. Use the wedge.

I leave all the bits in, though they do get in the way, so if you must, take out the lime wedge. Then add 2 ounces of clear rum and a generous splash of club soda. Ice too. Mix and serve. To make the flavored kind, add some strawberry slices or scoops of watermelon (or whatever fruit you want to use. probably not apples, though) to the muddling step.

I'm so vain I thought this post was about me and not the drinks.
That's it! Easy! Go get drunk!


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