Thursday, December 6, 2012

Always Be Closing

I think because of my father, I'll always be a sales(wo)man. I'm always looking for the BBD (bigger, better deal) and also manage to get what I want...although that might be in part due to the fact that I am an only child.

But that's a rabbit hole for therapy, not my blog. I digress.

Granted, I also studied marketing in college, so I get it. There are tips and tricks to make consumers buy your goods. Although I haven't figured out Target's. That place must pump a mix of meth and heroin into their store because, without fail, I managed to load up my cart. Every. Single. Time.

Again, I digress.

Marketing, sales, I get it.

Here's where rubber meets the road: I dream about it.

Even though I'm not in a marketing or sales role anymore, although I believe those also entail herding cats which is part of my job now, I still look at campaigns, pricing, product placement, etc. For example, my cousin complained about the K-Mart commercial that played The Lights because it got stuck in her head. That's a genius - albeit evil genius - campaign because she remembered that it was a K-Mart. I tweeted that whenever I hear an instrumental version of Carol of the Bells, I get "Give a, give a, give a Garmin" with the ending of "Garmin dot com. Garmin dot com." Now that, is true marketing genius. I not only think about giving a Garmin, I repeat the website.

So anyway, about my dream.

The setting: A conference room with dry erase boards about.
The people: Me and a half dozen indiscriminate faces.
The topic: Meeting about Cinnabon cinnamon rolls.

Yes. I dreamt about being in a marketing Cinnabon gender roles. The guy leading the meeting said, "So, if the cinnamon roll is the father figure, how can we draw in the mother?"

Here's where I come in: "The frosting. It's warm, the best part, and it smothers everything."

Yes. I likened a mother to frosting because it smothers.

I'm amazing.

Oh, and just as my alarm was going off, the rest of the indiscriminate faces were giving me accolades for my brilliance.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

So What Wednesday

It's that time of the week where I link up with Shannon at Life After I "Dew" and say SO WHAT!

So WHAT if...
  • I am still stoked that I managed to get a week's worth of meals on $11 and what I already had? I blogged about it. Enjoy.
  • I waited until I was down to cheese & booze before going to the store? You gotta do what you gotta do.

The left side is my roommate's side.

  • I now have Broncos jerseys in all three color combinations? My mom surprised me with a white jersey. Trifecta.

Miller - Lynch - Miller.

  • I feel like some sort of genius for draining my black beans by cutting two slits on opposite sides? Lets air in while the bean juice drains.

Opposite sides make sure it doesn't spout all over you.

  • I shed a tear when I spilled my Crystal Light fruit punch on my diploma? Let's not talk about how it's also four years later and I haven't framed it.

  • I made this SWW post look longer with pictures? You dug it. Admit it.
What are you saying So WHAT to? Link up with Shannon and tell the world!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Frugal For One

Alright. Let's face it. I'm not the best at budgeting. Before, I had talked about $20/week for groceries and with coupons, smart shopping, and holdovers in your "stock" from previous weeks, I think that, for a single lady, it's possible.

Well, thanks to an unexpected bill for Harry's double pink-eye, I found myself with $11 in my checking account for this first week of December. (Granted, I have credit cards, but that's a slippery slope and savings is SAVINGS.)

How did I manage? Well, prior to December 1, I had purchased a pound of rice, a 4-pack of Greek yogurt, and a bag of shredded cheese for a total of $7.05 at Target. That held me through Saturday and Sunday (with some sausage I already had) since most of Saturday was spent with Grape Flu.

Now, how am I going to make it from December 3 - December 7? Monday, I had a yogurt from my 4-pack, and some leftover chicken in the office from the boss that was going to go bad. Then I ventured to the grocery store.

Here's what I needed:
  • 4 Breakfasts 
  • 4 Lunches (Between the chicken on Monday and two servings of rice, I had 3 covered)
  • 5 Dinners
Here's what I had:
  • Brown N Serve Sausage ($1 at Safeway)
  • Shredded Cheese ($2.49 at Target)
  • EVOO/Spices/Condiments, etc.
  • 2 yogurts left from my 4-pack ($3.69 for 4-pack)
  • 2 c. cooked rice leftover from the rice ($.87 at Target)
I have the right side of the fridge. Which has cheese, booze & baking soda. I am literally on empty.
Here's what I bought at Safeway:
  • 2 Southwest Ranch Salad Kits (On sale at 2/$5)
  • 3 Pineapple Greek yogurts (Flavor - overstock -  on sale for $.69)
  • 1 can seasoned black beans (Reg. price at $.89)
  • 1 can Swanson's chicken broth (On sale $.88 until 12/25)
  • 16 oz brown rice ($1.99 - boo to paying $1.02 MORE than Target)
BOOM. $10.83 for a weeks' worth of meals. AND I saved 26%.
Now, how do you menu plan on so little?

Here's my plan. (Not accounting for office coffee & candy.)

Greek yogurt

Boss' chicken

1/2 Salad Kit

Greek yogurt

Black Beans & Rice

Remaining 1/2 of Salad Kit

Greek yogurt

Pantry Clean Out Rice (Literally picking random spices & sauces I like)

Black Beans & Rice

Greek yogurt

1/2 of second Salad Kit

Black Beans & Rice

Greek yogurt

Other 1/2 of the second Salad Kit

Sausage & Cheese Rice (just like it sounds, but with onion & chili powders)

After I've typed this out, I think I'll even have leftover rice. With the chicken stock, water, and a full bag of rice, there was close to 10 cups of cooked riced.

Basically, I feel like a champion for finding deals and sticking to my budget. I think that if I increased my weekly budget to $15, I could even get some chicken in there to "beef up" the menu, too.

Have you ever challenged yourself to a budget for groceries?

p.s. Pro tip: Non-processed foods are not taxed. Look at my receipt, I didn't pay tax on any of that.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

So What Wednesday

I haven't linked up in a couple of weeks, but I'm here! Shannon's weekly link-up at Life After I "Dew" makes my life a little easier to blog in bullet point.

So WHAT if...

  • Feel like hammered dog shit today? I've had a tad of a cold with sinus pressure and a post-nasal drip caused sore throat that culminated in me waking up at 5:30am today with a raging headache.
  • I managed to not look like hammered dog shit? Thankfully I laid out my clothes last night and popped in the shower this morning hoping the steam and heat would make me look a little better.
  • I am done decorating for Christmas? Not by choice, but my only decorations I got from Colorado pertained to my tree. Whatever. It's done.
  • I have to stop working at 5:00pm tonight? They are doing maintenance on some IT stuff, so that means I have an excuse to duck out.
  • I need a nap at 9:30am? See the first bullet point.
Go link up with Shannon and say your SO WHATs!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Sometimes I Don't Get My Mom...

...but my mom always gets me.

Case in point:

While I'm back in Colorado for Thanksgiving, I decided that a night on the town was in order. I didn't go out while I was in town in September, so a Rio margarita must be consumed on this trip. In addition, BFFL (best friend fo liiiiifeee) Daisy celebrated her final year in her 20s since I last saw her. Clearly, there should be a celebration.

That led to this email string:

From: Ana
To: Daisy
Subject: Hitting Up Both of Your Emails…
...since I don't know what one you'll check most often whilst working.

Anyway, I'm going to be in town the 18th - 23rd. I have two goals that week: 1) to celebrate your birth with a meal and possible cocktail, and 2) to see people that I want to (which includes you, the mister, and others).

With that in mind, I propose a dinner with at least you and, if you would like, a handful of other people. THEN, invite more people out for drinks, hangout-ness after. One-stop-shop, if you will.

What do you think? What night is best for you? Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday? I know the bars are hoppin' on Wednesday night... 

From: Daisy
To: Ana
Subject: Hitting Up Both of Your Emails…
Yes, liking it…as always.

Let’s do Wednesday night, actually. Night before a holiday may actually produce a somewhat rowdy crowd.  Who doesn’t want to be hung over on Thanksgiving day?

How about you pick who you would like for dinner so you can have one-on-one time. The rest we’ll invite for drinks afterwards. 

From: Ana
To: Daisy
Subject: Hitting Up Both of Your Emails…
For Wednesday dinner, I was thinking you, me, Jess. Yes, that limited. Then we can meet up with people for margaritas to start at Rio. Hell, we could do dinner at the Rio. I want chips and guac. We can even do post-work to get more of a crowd. Call it Boozegiving. 

Screw it. 

We're doing Boozegiving. Everyone's invited, only your attendance is compulsory. I'll be there. And maybe with my mom as DD for me. No joke.

It's happening. Look out for the facebook invite.

That's how I roll.

From: Daisy
To: Ana
Subject: RE: Hitting Up Both of Your Emails…
At first I was only thinking of suggesting Jess as the other invitee for dinner, but your plan for Boozegiving sounds good too – how you roll is how I roll. 

BTW, if I sent my mom an email like the one you did Momma Jane wouldn’t even know how to respond…especially since she doesn’t have an email address!!!! Hahahaha!

Love all your plans – Rio in a week!!!

Now, you're fine and dandy with Boozegiving, right? Well did any one read this line, "...We're doing Boozegiving. Everyone's invited, only your attendance is compulsory. I'll be there. And maybe with my mom as DD for me. No joke..."


That happened.

As evidenced by this email string:

From: Your Daughter
To: Mama Sandy
Subject: So, I know I’m almost 30, but…
...a taxi from Denver is $40...

Feel like being my DD on Wednesday? I'm going to meet up for drinks with people and wanted to make sure that I get home, obvio. If you're working that day, I can take you to work and switch out when you're ready to go home.

In fact, join us for a round. Who can say no to tequila? Or at least chips & guac?

From: Mama Sandy
To: Favorite Daughter
Subject: RE: So, I know I’m almost 30, but…
I’m taking the whole week off with an occasional conference call thrown in. DD is fine and dandy and will carry Tupperware in case you feel the need to vomit!


Is why she always gets me.

The Tupperware is because there have been a couple of days that succeeded drinking nights with family events. It's a little rough. Tequila shots es no bueno.

Also, I somehow have found that if I travel for Thanksgiving, the night before I leave is some sort of celebration. See Friendsgiving, Sherer's Wedding. Sunday? Is gonna be rough. But that's a whole other blog post.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

So What Wednesday

Linking up with Shannon at Life After I "Dew"  and saying SO WHAT!

So WHAT if...

  • I am UHB. Sessed. with Made in Chelsea? It's a British import that is basically The Hills, but with accents. So, naturally, I'm in love.
  • I am mentally packing for my trip to Colorado? Packing takes some thought to coordinate space allotments for carry-ons.
  • In mentally packing for Colorado, I immediately have NOTHING to wear? I don't want to have to do laundry before I leave.
  • I got a pair of orange, suede, shearling "loafers"? I use loafers loosely since they rang up as slippers.
  • I am not ashamed to wear my slipfers? They have a sole and when they are on, you can't tell that they are comfortable, shearling heaven shoes.
  • I took to the Twitter for shopping advice? It's the fastest way to find the best deal for whatever I'm looking for...HELLO $23 jewel-tone leggings.
  • I'm uber nervous about cooking the turkey for Friendsgiving? The turkey has been in the fridge defrosting for three days and this sucker is rock solid still.
  • I decided I needed a Boozegiving in Colorado? I'm missing the Colorado Edition of Friendgiving, so I'm getting together on the other traditional holidays for a random Wednesday night adult beverage night out.
  • I'm obsessed with a makeup blog I found on Pinterest? Do yourself a favor and go to MaskCara and watch all of her tutorials, read her tips, and work your own magic.
  • I'm perfecting HACing? Her blog is evidence enough, but once you try it on your own, you're hooked.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

So What Wednesday

Linking up with Shannon at Life After I "Dew" for a little Sandy themed SO WHAT.

So WHAT if...

  • I'm over hurricanes? I mean, c'mon. Blizzards are way more fun because you can go outside and play in the snow. I don't want to go puddle jumping when the 'hood smells like a gerbil cage.
  • I never lost power? Don't hate if you did. I have a brick row house from 1880. I win.
  • I'm glad to back in the office? I mean, I love me a long weekend, but I was getting a little stir crazy.
  • I drank during the day? I wasn't driving, no one was working, and what else do you do in a natural disaster?
  • I kept making jokes about Hurricane Sandy being like my mom Sandy? C'mon. We all know that when she gets cold, she gets bitchy (mixing with a cold front). And she was 15 minutes ahead of the forecast (my mom is always early), and messing up Halloween plans (my mom's birthday is Halloween).
  • I called to wish my mom a happy birthday at a suitable hour and still woke her up? It's for all the years she woke me up in college for my birthday.
  • I'm not handing out candy this Halloween? I'm turning of the porch light and hiding for two reasons: I'm cheap and I would eat more than I handed out.
Difference? Less leaves.
*I know I fared so well that it sounds like I'm bragging, but for people not directly impacted, there are rays of sunshine. I do sympathize with those who fared worse, so don't go hating. I don't have time for that.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Pinterest Bedroom Makeover - Part 4

Oh Sandy, you make this post perfect. And no, Mom, I'm not talking to you. Granted, we're both known to watch the boob tube a lot, I'm talking to the Sandy of the Hurricane variety. I digress.

I'm home today as Sandy merges with a Nor'Easter over the District. the wind and rain haven't really kicked up, but since all mass transportation and office building closed, I'm going rock yoga pants and watch movies while I work today. Oh, and since I'll be looking at the boob tube, I'm glad I got to Part 4 of my Pinterest makeover.

Let's face it. I'm addicted to TV.

And I need my Real Housewives in HD.

And I need them out of the way.

Enter: My Dad and Madre Dos' housewarming gift.

The 32" 780p LCD gem.

Minus the stand. Ain't nobody got time for that.
Because my dad is handy and hung the TV (first time not so level), I'm not going to post about it. Other than the anchors and nails used here went through the drywall and the brick that's 3" back, I also acquire spackle and a putty knife which will be handy when I move out.

Anyway, with the DVR and DVD, we had to mount a shelf to the side. If I chose below the TV, I would have to duck walking around the bed or hang everything higher. Not. Happening.

Here's what I was left with:
Black cords es no bueno on a light wall.

Lots of messy cords in the way.
Yes. I lived with it this way for several months. Deal. I was busy. Or whatever.

Anyway, I set out to make some upgrades by covering the cords and hiding them on top of the cable box.

Enter, leftover fabric from my curtains and some pop up mini-boxes from Closetmaid at Target.

First, I tidied up the area a little bit with cable ties and coax staples found at your local hardware store.
Legit amazing.

Coax staples kept the extension cord and coax cable neat and trim against the wall and blending in.

Cable ties tightened up the mass of power, HDMI, and video cords to the TV.
Then I set to making the cord sleeve with left over fabric.

What you'll need:

  • Fabric (at least double the width of the cords your covering and a little longer than what is seen so it can be tucked away.)
  • Velcro squares or strip
  • Scissors
For my cords, I already had a stretch of fabric a little longer that the cords from the TV to the cable box and since it was 8" wide, I didn't trim any excess.

With my fabric folded in half, right side out, I can tell that it will hold my cords.
Right side down, I fold the top over and affix half of the velcro (right side). Just below it, I place the other half of the velcro (wrong side). When you bring the two together, you will have a tube right side out.
Continue the length of the fabric to complete your cord cover.
Once you're ready to cover the cords, you simply un-velcro, then re-velcro over the cords.

 After everything was back in order, I tucked the cords into the pop-up boxes.

Voila! Cords are camouflaged with come creativity!
Now for the all-too-important Before & After Shot!!

With a little creativity, you can take the drab to fab with how to cover unsightly cords or a general mess. And, as you can see from the time on the cable box to staple the cords to the wall, cable tie the cords together, and make and install the cord cover. For 50 minutes worth of my time to clean up that mess, it was well worth it! Granted, I wasn't inspired by any actual pins, but someone has got to go out there and make new ones, right?

Now I can cozy up and get down with all of my Real Housewives.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pinterest Bedroom Makeover - Part 3

Now that you've seen the final product of the back corner and the closet wall, I'm going to talk to you about the curtains.

And then for a tutorial about how I (and by I, I mean my Aunt Marsha) sewed the panels. First, I will tell you that I'm sure that I could have done it with a lot more patience, time, and a sewing machine...with her supervision. There is no way I could have done this without frustration and wasting material.
Don't you just love the look of the bars and brick? Me too. Now you know why a whole wall of curtains had to be done. 
In short, my Aunt Marsha rocks.

Anyway, here's how I went about choosing my fabric with guidance from my aunt.

  1. Hunker down at the computer with my glasses so you can see clearly.
  2. Go through thousands of swatch samples from JoAnn's Fabric. Don't limit yourself and click on every sub-category. If you have a color idea in mind, make sure that you look at your primary and secondary colors, i.e. primary: purple, white, gray, secondary: blue, dark gray, etc.
  3. To see how the colors would go together, I saved the swatches as pictures and stitched them together with Picasa Collage Maker. Very simple and helped me start to visualize what I was about to do.
  4. Since I had a long wall (8 feet) I knew that I would need at least 1.5 times that in width to get a "casual" hang in the fabric. For a dense look, you would double the width.
  5. The panels of fabric helped me decide on what came to be about 1.5 times the amount of fabric in width.
  6. For length, you need to measure the height that you want to hang. I was somewhat limited by the height by my reach from a 6 foot ladder. And the top of the window is already at 9 feet. I don't think I need 12 foot high curtains, thankyouverymuch. Remember this gem pin?

For the rod, that was pure math and really only based on the finials. Basically, I already had the brushed silver look going on my furniture. And they are rectangular, so boom. Choices made. And Target had it.

Once the fabric came in, you basically have to create a hem, fold down a bit at the sides, and then create a rod pocket which is really just fancy talk for not sealing the edge of what is essentially a hem. Make sure that the rod pocket is also big enough for your rod in case you choose something thick.

Iron those suckers before you hang them.

Once you're ready to hang the rod, make sure that you measure & level twice, drill once. The end of the rod should be about three inches out from your windows. In my case, I put the ends of the rod 3 inches in from the wall.

Be prepared to go up and down the ladder. A lot. Like, annoyingly a lot. Especially if you're hanging these by yourself. Actually, make sure someone is around to hand you things. That would reduce the number of trips up and down the ladder.
You can see the top edge of the window and the window about the door. That? Determined the height of my drapes. Well, that and the height I could reach from a 6 foot ladder.
With the finials and the body of the fabric, you can see how the curtains really fill the space. 
I love how my curtains turned out. They cover a mucky, random door, filter light so I have a little bit more of a cave to sleep in, and adds a HUGE pop of color. BOOM.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Pinterest Bedroom Makeover - Part 2

Closet Wall Edition

Now that you're hooked on my mad skillz on Pinterest and my bedroom, I thought that I would showcase the other half of my bedroom for the real deal ingenuity that would make my mom say that I should have been an enginerd engineer.

First, let's start with the BEFORE picture so you can see what I was working with.
No center support and no shelf. LAME. Obvious a boy lived here before me. And? Let's talk about the second rod 6" above that rod (barely visible here). WTF?
Somehow, I found the extra support bracket that should be upholding the rod and installed that sucker with drywall screws and my screw driver. (Yes, every adult should own one. Go get yours.)

Then, with the help of my dad, we picked up a laminated piece of particle board found at Home Deport or Lowes in various widths and lengths. Lucky for me, they had one in the (almost) right length and width.

After a stop at Target to get literal bargain bins ($5.54/each) for the above closet storage and some cloth Closetmaid collapsible bins ($7.99/each), I managed to create storage and minimize the clutter.

Now, I knew that I needed something major to cover that stupid, random storage space. I had mulled over an idea to have floating canvases, a tension rod with cafe curtains...but I settled on oversized canvases that would hide the bins, but be a piece of art.

Ta Da! Clutter is hidden!
Then I had to decide what to do with the canvases. To leave them white? What about a coat of paint from the Colorado Gray to match the other wall? Create a piece of wall art?

To the Pinterest!

Source: via Ana on Pinterest

Source: via Ana on Pinterest

From these two pins, I liked the idea of a blossoming tree as I already have the flowers and cherry blossoms through the seasons on my bed wall. I liked the idea of the leaves, but wasn't sure I could incorporate them into the canvases.

I settled on a hybrid of the two pins. I would try to make flower buds from the fabric plus paint tree limbs. For my background? I used the leftover Colorado Gray from the bed wall! Score!

(I was better about taking pictures this time.)

What you'll need:

  • Sponge brushes (varying sizes - paint & Mod Podge)
  • Brushes (I used a 1 1/2" for the tree)
  • Paint
  • Fabric
  • Scissors
  • Mod Podge
  • Patience

Give your canvases a couple of solid coats of your background color.

While the paint dries on the background, go ahead and make some leaves. *I made circles believing I could make something similar to my canvas flowers, but it looked poopy.
Watching paint dry.
I assembled the canvases as they would hang. Taking my brush, I gooped up a lot of paint and swirled the tree branches out from the trunk. I like twisty branches.
To add some depth to the branches and trunk, I added brown shading  to show that the branches stemmed from all parts of the tree, not just the top & bottom.
After trying to place the circles, I decided that I needed to make proper leaves.

I made a form to trace with scissors to make a good looking leaf shape.
As I made a batch of leaves, I started to place them on the canvas to see what looks good so the colors are distributed evenly and logically on the limbs.
Overall, the tree looks balanced and like an ethereal tree from the depths of Pinterest.
Now, get to Mod Podging!

I suggest working methodically from the closest leaves to the farthest so you're not sweeping them out of place as you move about the canvas. And don't forget the overall coat to the canvases to make sure the sheen is consistent.

Once dry to the touch (which is about 30 minutes), go ahead and hang those suckers to start enjoying your craftiness and cover your clutter.

 And now for the big wow in a side-by-side comparison.

Stay tuned for Part 3 where I talk about how to make those curtains from Part 1 and leave enough for other decorations around the room *cough* artwork *cough*