Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Finally Finished Furnishing

This past weekend Antoine and I finally brought together all the odds and ends that we hadn't yet completed from our bedroom redecorating endeavor we began months ago. This was mainly spurred into action because of the crazy insanity that comes over me anytime my parents come to visit. And when I say "parents", I mean my mom! She, like her mother, is meticulously nit-picky about the tidiness of her children's houses! I know I shouldn't care and it's not worth the stress that we put ourselves under, but when your mom gets up in the middle of a conversation to get some Windex and paper towels to dust off your TV...then you come talk to me! BUT, I will say this...while the crazy, chaotic, all-consuming cleaning is uber stressful, in the end it is worth it! Because once my parents leave and drive three and a half hours back to northern Ohio Antoine and I are left to relax in our spotless house!

This past cleaning spree was particularly rewarding because it not only meant a clean house to enjoy, but also the completion of a project that had been lagging for a while now...our bedroom! Before our bedroom had been...unfinished, boring, messy and did I say boring? The color was okay, this bluish-purple color...

But at night the color caused the room to be overly dark and depressing.

Add to that that everything was, bedding, etc. And the somewhat large bedroom was dwarfed by an enormous king bed that was old and uncomfortable. And I didn't even have a nightstand! It was the only room in the house (minus the bathroom) that felt incomplete. We hadn't hung any pictures or committed any real time or energy to the space...something had to be done! So, we painted the walls and touched up the ceiling paint. We downsized to a new queen bed and got all new *matching* furniture from Ikea. And now, I'm in love! It's become my haven! It's relaxing and peaceful and modern.


The larger dresser has a mirror hanging over it and some cute little chicks & hens/succulents sitting on top of it!

We went to thrift stores and bought cheap frames and spray painted them black for our picture frame cluster behind our headboard! We filled the picture frames with shots of us, our animals and flowers/nature shots I've taken.

It makes me smile!

*Apologies for the not so stellar parents got me a new wide angle/fish eye lens for Xmas but I don't think it's 100% compatible for my camera!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Hello Again...

Hi there! It's been a while, hasn't it? I'm back from a very long and exhausting Xmas holiday. The craziness began about a week ago when my car decided to commit suicide on me...i.e. smoke coming out from under the hood while I was driving to Sbux. (It still has not been revived and Antoine and I are now down to one car...but we're making it work). Then, I got head cold, gushing snot, all around discomfort. And while it was nice to have a couple of days off from my real job I, unfortunately, spent those days attempting to clean/prepare for my parents arrival! Xmas Eve Eve was a fun-filled (note: sarcasm) day of non-stop cleaning. Xmas Eve morning was the mad dash to get the house in tip-top shape for the parental visit, attempting to finish all the bits and bobs that we hadn't cleaned/tidied the day before. Then, my parents had to go and stress us out further and show up nearly 3 hours early. THEN, my parents brought their two dogs into our 2 bedroom house and we experienced the shear madness of having two puppies and a yappy Miniature Pinscher in a not-nearly-big-enough space.

In order to make the weekend bearable we made several trips to the dog park! Oh, how I love that flippin' dog park! It's good times! It's my personal savior...turning a rumbustious puppy into a docile, exhausted pile of snoring fur! My parents had never been and their new puppy Lacey hasn't been around many people and Cheese had been the first dog she'd met (outside of their MinPin), it was interesting to see both what my parents thought of it and how the dogs interacted! I think it was an all around success. A little cold, but a triumph nonetheless! Here's some shots from the dog park...

Lacey, my parents' 3 month old great dane...and, of course, the Cheese-man!

Cheese chewing on a stick and playing with an adorable Bull Terrier!

Byron, my parents' Miniature Pinscher, froze like a little popsicle at the dog park, but he loved running around and chasing the big dogs!

I found it very difficult to get many good pictures of Lacey because she was constantly moving around, mainly because she was afraid of most of the other dogs!

Lacey watching as Byron and a stylish little Pug become acquainted!

In the end, it was a good holiday. Not the most relaxing, but it was nice to be with family. Also, I think Cheese really enjoyed his first Xmas...he got far too many toys and rawhides! And he's still recovering from all the puppy wrestling...he's been sleeping nonstop since Sunday. The house has been pretty quiet...delightful so!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Crazy busy...

Hi friends!

Just a quick note for you today. I've been paper marbling like crazy since Thursday...but now's the time to clean up and catch up with actual work stuff! Then comes the massive clean up known as "Clean-every-flipping-inch-of-our-house-so-that-my-parents-don't-complain-when-they-come-to-stay-with-us-for-Xmas"! It's intense and will completely preoccupy my time until Xmas eve when my parents are, this is the last you'll see me for a while! Try not to be brave dear friends!

Have a great holiday season, I'll see you on the other side with full, detailed posts of paper marbling fun and holiday festivities! Until then, be safe and happy!

Warmest of Mushy Wishes,

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cheese Loves Snow: Part Two

Below is another sequence of shots I took of Cheese trying to gobble down a snowball! I love these, because you can almost imagine this thought process! And because he's so flippin' cute...

In other fun news, today and tomorrow our department will be marbling paper! It's part holiday party, part staff/student appreciation festivity, and part Preservation awesomeness! Best part, I'm the one who's pretty much organizing the whole thing. So, I am really excited about it! I plan on taking pictures and documenting the event so I can share the fun with you guys. In the meantime, you won't be hearing from me again until Monday! Have a fantastic weekend! See you later friends.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cheese Loves Snow: Part One

If you live in the Midwest, as I do, you might be aware that this past weekend was a snowy one. Luckily, in Cincinnati, it didn't start snowing until about 6am on Sunday morning and I had already made it safely to work by then. So instead of scrapping off my car and trying to venture down icy roads I stood in Sbux, sipping coffee, and watching the big, beautiful flakes come down. It was a very picturesque morning. After I got off from work Antoine and I decided to take Cheese outside to play in the snow, just in front of our house, so I could take some pictures.

Our house

Cheese loves snow...what little snow we've already had this year he has absolutely loved it! He especially likes to put his face in the clue why?! He's just strange!

Another thing we discovered is that Cheese loves snowballs. He loves to eat them. Here's some proof:

Stay tuned tomorrow for more pictures of Cheese in the snow! Until then, Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Today is not going to be a fun day for me at work. We're all being forced to participate in this silly strategic planning retreat nonsense, where they've hired this lady to come in and tell us what the libraries are doing wrong and what we can improve on. It'll be a lot of breaking into groups and role playing...not my cup of tea. But while I'm there, if I feel like I'm about to lose my mind I'm just going to picture this in my head:

We took Cheesy out to play in the snow this weekend and he had a blast. This picture makes me smile!

I hope that your Tuesday is more enjoyable than mine friends! I will see you tomorrow, provided I don't slip into a coma out of sheer boredom!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Xmas Cookies and Such...

Last Tuesday I went over to my sis's house to make some Xmas cookies. I generally like to make some sort of goody to give away as gifts to coworkers, since it's easy, inexpensive and fun! It was good times baking and decorating with my sister! Here's some pictures I shot with the new camera (aka "Sprocket")...

Michelle pulling cookies out of the oven

Sugar cookies cooling on top of Michelle's vintage oven

Voila! Sugar cookies decorated and drying

My sis continuing to decorate

Toffee bark goodness

Almond biscotti (the first biscotti I've ever made)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

There's A Bird In My Icing!

You know those Rorschach tests where there's a ink splatter and you're supposed to see something in it? Like an elephant riding a tricycle (the clusterf__k interpretation: you never got to go to the circus when you were little and you feel inadequate as an adult) or Christian Bale holding a chainsaw (the clusterf__k interpretation: you secretly love Phil Collins...I'm looking at you Christian!). Anyway, last night I was making Xmas cookies with my sister and as we were cleaning up I say a bird in the runoff icing. A peacock to be exact:

Isn't that insane!?

Then, after I took a picture of it with my iPhone and Michelle and I marvelled over its awesomeness, I was getting ready to crumple up the wax paper and throw it in the trash when we spotted another bird...

This time a parakeet!

Michelle then attempted to try to discover more birds lost in the globs of icing, but her pursuit was fruitless and the wax paper went into the garbage. Still, pretty cool and random, huh!? I wonder what birds symbolize?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I'm Crazy Strong

I recently switched up, yet again, my weekly schedule at Sbux. Originally I was working Monday night, Thursday night, and one weekend day...but the Madeira Farmer's Market (on Thursday evenings) was making my life a living hell, so I switched to Wednesday nights! Ah, Wednesday nights, they're usually boring and virtually uneventful...just the way I like it! Then, I worked a freak open shift one Sunday morning after one of our baristas didn't come into work the night before (and, thus, fired)...leaving the schedule all kinds of jacked up. And I really enjoyed it, the opening shift I mean! Sure, I had to get up around 4am so I could make it into Sbux before 5:30am (we open at 6am on Sundays), but then I got out at 11:30am and had the rest of the day to do stuff! It was pretty sweet, and when I told my boss that I liked opening we kind of decided to make it a permanent thing! So now I work Sunday opens from 5:30am to 11:30am. Sure, it gets busy around 8 or 9am, but the first couple hours are a breeze and then pretty much the whole day is mine!

So, getting to the story...this past Saturday it snowed here in Cincinnati and the temperature got really low overnight. After I got ready for Sbux I went out to my car, around 5am, to start it so it could warm up. I pushed my little button thingy to unlock my doors (yes, even though my car is nearly two decades old I still have a fancy remote thingy). I go to the drivers side and pull on the handle. I can tell the door is frozen shut, but not too bad, so I pull a little harder. And. SNAP!! The door handle breaks off into my hand! I stand there, in the cold, baffled...with door handle in hand. I utter a couple of swear words, but not under my breath and walk to the passenger side to start my car.

Here's what my car door looked like before the snapping off:

Actually, this is my passenger door (after the fact), because I didn't have a photo of my driver's side door just lying around. Because, frankly that would be weird!

And this is the "after" picture:


I have come to the conclusion that my car is either trying to psychologically mindf#@k me until I stop driving it or I've got crazy strong, almost superhuman, strength at five in the morning. I'm going to go with the latter, considering I already have superhuman knee caps. Seriously, I think my patellas are made of steel! If I justify it as superhuman strength then I won't have to stress that we can't afford to get me a new car for another year, so if Arthur (my car) decides to die on me now...there's not a flippin' thing I can do about it! What, stress?! Anxiety!? What do those words mean?! I have no clue!

Friday, December 3, 2010

'Tis the Season

It's funny how every year the holidays seem to become more and more commercialized. All of a sudden November hits and you start to see Christmas merchandise in all the major stores. Before you've even enjoyed your food-coma-that-is-Thanksgiving you're being bombarded by holiday music on the radio and in the stores. And as much as I hate all of this, the new LCD Xmas lights sitting next to the Halloween clearance and the oh-so-joyous-and-gloriously-nauseating stream of Xmas music playing at Sbux every evening I gotta admit something to you, my very lovely friends...I'm kind of excited about Xmas this year!

Last year, around this time, we were just trying to get settled into our new house (read: "our first house together") and the last thing we had time, energy or money for was Xmas! Hell, we still had crap in boxes cluttering up our living room, we certainly weren't thinking about a tree, stockings or Xmas lights! We ended up spending the holiday at my parents house, as I had all my years before, but in the way-back parts of my brain I was scheming and planning! Planning for next year, when we could actually celebrate in our own home!

The second Xmas was over Antoine and I headed out to the stores (with my Mom in tow) and, taking advantage of 50 to 75% off, loaded up on ornaments, stockings, and a beautiful pre-lit tree! In the past, I've always been the one to assemble and decorate my parents was grunt work, like cleaning the toilet, something that my Mom's back and joints couldn't handle and didn't involve the basement, garage or yard and was, therefore, out of my Dad's scope of duties. But last year, the idea of a Xmas OUR home...gave me little butterflies on my inside parts! It's so sappy and consumerist of me, but I can't help it...something about a Xmas tree makes our house feel even more like HOME! So, behold, our beautiful tree that I assembled several days after Thanksgiving (aka WAY too early) that the animals have yet to knock down or destroy...

Oh, and I happen to have about 98% of my Xmas shopping done as well! I'm a lunatic, I know!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Saturday at Findlay Market

There's something so simple and fantastic about spending a Saturday morning/early afternoon wandering around Findlay Market. It's just such an inviting place, especially when it's not crammed with people...makes it a little easier to peruse and explore...

The Saturday after Thanksgiving Antoine and I met up with my sis and my brother-in-law for a little excursion to Findlay.

What I find particularly fascinating is, even if you are a Findlay regular (or a semi-regular like us) you will continuously find new things at the market...whether it's the ever changing gelato selection at Dojo, a little hidden shop or vendor that you've never noticed before, or a new/fresh face to the market.

Saturday we took it upon ourselves to try out the newest addition to Findlay Market: Pho Lang Thang, a Vietnamese restaurant. I had been really eager about the opening of this particular restaurant since it has become my mission to find a Vietnamese restaurant that Antoine approves of! Since he's Vietnamese and he's grown up on his Mom's traditional cooking he compares all Vietnamese food to hers...and it usually doesn't stack up!

Antoine, Christian and myself got the Pho (they got the pho bo, beef, and I got the pho ga, the chicken). Michelle got the Bun Chay, fried tofu and vermicelli noodles. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed what they got. Michelle raved about her tofu! Antoine commented that the pho was good and very affordable (at $5.50 for a very generous sized bowl). The only complaint was that my pho ga was oily. It was still delicious, but I'm hoping that was just a fluke...Antoine's Mom's pho is never oily (now I'm starting to sound like Antoine!! Geez!). **Update: we went back to Pho Lang Thang a month later when I was under the weather and craving a bowl of steaming hot pho. I again got the pho ga and this time it was not oily at all! It was so delicious and I highly recommend it to anyone! In fact, I'm craving it right now!**

I was also very eager to try the iced coffee! It's slow drip coffee that is mixed with condensed milk (you can see it on the bottom of the mug in the picture) and poured over ice. It was my first time having Vietnamese iced coffee, but Antoine had told me how amazing it was when he visited his Uncle's coffee shop in Vietnam...and Antoine doesn't drink coffee!

The coffee drips VERY slowly, which probably gives it it's very rich, complex flavor! It smelled and tasted fantastic! I'd definitely get it again!! Antoine said it was really good...the only thing that was missing for him was the freshly grown cane sugar, since that's all his Uncle uses in Vietnam! I told him he's just going to have to settle for a packet of sugar because I'm pretty sure you can't grow cane sugar in Ohio!

With bellies full of warm, delicious soup we made our way to Dojo! For us, no trip to Findlay is complete without a trip to Dojo gelato to try out their new flavors! And we can't seem to walk away from that case without a pint in hand. And luckily, my sis has been converted as well (above, Michelle patiently waiting for her custom pint to be packed with tasty gelato)! This time Antoine and I went home with a pint of half Sea Salt Caramel and half Pumpkin. It's funny how once you get home with that pint of gelato it just seems to vanish into thin air! Weird, huh?!

If you're looking for something fun, relaxing and productive to do on the weekend...checkout Findlay! For me, it never disappoints. Drop by Dojo and load up on the best gelato in Cincinnati and stop into Pho Lang Thang for some flavorful, steamy pho (a perfect remedy if you're feeling a little under the weather!). Just because most of the local vendors have packed up and left for the winter doesn't mean there's not a ton of stuff to do and see at Findlay!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Cheesy Cheese-Man

Here's the first round of SLR pictures I took with our new camera...

Also, I'm so glad that NaBloPoMo is over!! And the peasants rejoice! That was intense! I mean, blogging everyday, no matter what, is a difficult endeavor, but add in holidays, two jobs, a messy house and four creatures and NaBloPoMo can look like Mount Everest some days! But it's done and I don't have to stress about posting anymore...weehee!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Cute Bundle of Fur OR Demon-Possessed Creature From Hell!?

Exhibit A: Look at this cute, cuddly ball of furry goodness!

Guillermo (or Gui-man, around the house) is a lovable and very passive cat. He's still a kitten, just over a year old, but he loves being held and snuggled. I adore him...well, most of the time! The times I don't like him so much...when he does stuff like this:

Behold Exhibit B

The absolute worst thing about Gui, he love chewing on cords! This cord happened to belong to the extension cord we were using for the Christmas tree. Luckily, it was not plugged in when he decided to do this or else we would have had fried kitty on our hands! And here I was stressing about the cats climbing in the tree, Cheese chewing on the tree, or all matter of creatures chewing the tree...when I should have been more concerned with the extension cord! Fingers crossed that the next extension cord won't fall pray to Guillermo. Hopefully dosing it in bitter apple first will help deter him, if not, I'm not sure what to do!