Friday, April 26, 2013

Day 1: Biometric Screening

Day 1: Biometric Screening

Thanks to a carrot/stick combination at work this year, I'm in the middle of a live healthy overhaul.  Basically, we can complete the requirements and get a small monetary reward at the end of the year (carrot) or you can not complete the requirements and next year you pay an insurance premium surcharge (stick).  So, I will play along despite feeling like most of what is expected does not actually help. 
There was the 60 Day Challenge where you didn't actually have to change your behaviors, just report on them... There are webinars, some good, some bad... There is smoking cessation, weight loss, etc... But today...
Today was biometric screening.  Basically it's a day where they preach "knowing your numbers".  Gotcha. I was pretty sure i knew mine, but man was I off.
Happily, I've lost 7 lbs since the last time I was on a scale (wayyyyy back in September).  But from there, things got a bit dicey.
BMI - I'm on the edge between overweight and obese.  Yep.  I wear a size 14 pant... and I'm borderline obese.  I did not cry.  So at least I can hold on to that.  BMI... 30. Oh lord... it's out there.
Total Cholesterol - I'm "mildly high" at 218. Less than 200 is the goal there.
LDL "Bad" Cholesterol - Borderline High at 152.  Supposed to be under 100 here.  That is no bueno. 
HDL "Good" Cholesterol - Sad trombone again. Low at 45.  Considered a risk for heart disease.  
So... the plan of action is to go to myfitnesspal every day.  If I miss one, I will not punish myself.  I will be honest and open and anyone is free to swing by and be judgy... or supportive (which is strongly preferred). 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Goodbye House...

After a series of stressful events, we finally closed on our house in NRH on Monday morning.  Today, I'll do my best to get through the events, the positives, and the goodbyes...

THE EVENTS

Most of my things have been out of the house since late last year.  Or at least the things I use frequently... clothes, crafting supplies, electronics, a few well loved books... The rest has been gradually sold off or would be going in the last minute fire sale on Saturday. We had a great garage sale and even posted some of the items individually... like the couch that screams, "single white girl lives here!" and the desk that brings the world graduate degrees... In fact the very car that made it's debut here in October 2005 was sold along with so many other possessions. To be honest, I might have been having an anxiety attack watching everything I'd accumulated over the years in the house slowly disappear. Thankfully, just when I really hit the wall, a great friend (who has graced me with his friendship for nearly 20 years) and his lovely bride came by with booze.

Yes.

Now the deals are really flying.

Sunday, came and we continued on our quest to trash the rest of the items and get the house cleaned out.  We took a short break from the cleaning to run my brother back to our house so he could get on the road home and then we went by the storage unit to abandon some boxes... At some point during that short time, the homeowner to be came by the house unannounced and 1) spilled coffee on the (at his request) freshly cleaned carpet, 2) left boxes like he owned the place already, and 3) called my Realtor to let him know there was still stuff in the house.  Okay, ass hat.  1) What the frick.  2) I'm trying to clean and you DON'T OWN THE HOUSE YET. 3) I can keep everything I own in there until close and could even throw a raging drunk fest Sunday night if I wanted... In fact, I could use the things you left there...

Perhaps the giant bottle of booze you left in the bathroom?  Freaky...

Or perhaps your other box of "goodies"... I hope people are judging you, because I sure was.

So Monday morning... I've not slept well or much for the last few days.  The amount of work to be done and the stress of said work was wearing thin. 6:20am - Text from my Realtor telling me I needed to bring money to closing.  WHAT!?! Seriously.  In our contract we agreed to a sells price and that I would pay $0 in closing costs.  The ass hat buying the house had a VA loan so he couldn't pay the closing costs either... strange. Pretty sure he knew that (not anywhere near as young as the goodies box might have lead you to believe).  So I've been crewed, morning of... for $2555.22.  That is not chump change.  Good thing I sold my PT Loser Saturday.

Tears.  Hyperventilating.  Asthma attack.  Snot on face like toddler. I looked so hot.

The woman at the title company, after several hours of work found a way to get that figure down to $1355.22.  I guess I can handle that, so off we went, 2 hours late, to closing.  That's when I saw ass hat.  Yep, he's old and stuff.  After everything, all I could do was smile and think to myself, "you're the guy that needs 20% more lube?"

Fifteen minutes later and we were done.  No more house.

THE POSITIVES

  1. I no longer own the rodent problem... 
  2. I don't have to move the neighbor's yard anymore... the one who let her weeds grow OVER the 6' privacy fence
  3.  I don't have to see the glow of Auto Zone or the Chicken Place out my window at night
  4. I don't live one street from Watauga (check that place out on the sex offender map)
  5. I don't live next to a house with a non-working vehicle in the driveway... one that has been stationary for at least 5 years
  6. New Guy and I only have one mortgage! (and one electric bill, and one water bill, and one property to pay taxes on, and one set of homeowner's insurance, and one yard to maintain, and one house to clean, and...)
  7. The neighborhood was turning, there have been recent "upgrades" giving that neighborhood a turquoise house, a TCU purple house, and a banana yellow house
There are so many more positives.  But the point has been made. And I feel like a winner despite the $1355.22. 

THE GOODBYES

This is the last place my mom was well enough to have a good laugh at Maury Povich. I know it's crazy, but I have this fear that if it's all been a crazy dream, she will come looking for me and won't know where to find me... Like I said, I know it's crazy.  This is the first place I owned.  This is where I lived when I met New Guy. This is where I thought my mom would move when she retired.  This house was greatness for the most part and I loved it. I'll miss my final safety net from New Guy... but he said he was happy it was gone and that we were stuck with each other. 



Saturday, April 20, 2013

Craigslist: Couch and Loveseat



Gosh darn I loved these... If my boyfriend wasn't afraid to have such magical furnishings, we wouldn't be selling these. But much like our second dog, there's only room for one at our new combined home. Kidding, about the dog not the furniture. If you're awesome enough to sit, sleep, dance, etc on these fabulous, micro suede pieces swing on down to [Address Deleted], North Richland Hills, TX 76182





  • Location: North Richland Hills, TX
  • it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
**Update: We got the most amazing response to this post... after we sold the couch and loveseat.  I'm pretty bummed because I'm certain P.S. would have loved these in just the right way while typing charming emails on her laptop in the living room.  "Oh em gee !! Do you still have the awesome red sofa ?"  Dang it P.S., No, I don't.

Craigslist: Desk Fit for a Genius - $30



Is your kid a genius? Probably not. But, do you wish he or she was? Well, the first step is purchasing this sweet looking desk! I'm generally pretty average at life, but this desk helped me earn a graduate degree like a champ. Magnetic white board will keep all your financial analysis equations just where you need them... And those papers you will wang to put off until the last minute? Shove 'em in the drawer!

Make your kid more smarter by stopping by [Address deleted] North Richland Hills today before 1pm.





  • Location: North Richland Hills, TX 76182
  • it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
**Update: We actually had to give this away... no joke.  We drove it to a woman's house a few blocks away for free because we just couldn't sell it. The bucket my brother is sitting on that was 1/5 full of paint that is around 10 years old?  Sold that.  Desk?  Not so much.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Totally Stalkable Front Door Hanging

I'm not a huge fan of being able to be traced. I mean, I know I share a lot of personal info... but there has always been a reason for the nicknames... I just don't think you should put it ALL out there. But alas, the time has come when I can't post the magic of the new craft without sharing New Guy's actual name... and it's not "Smith"... So, please don't stalk him.  And if you're one of the few people who share the name, don't steal our door hanging.  That would be seriously uncool of you. 

Using leftover paint from the cornhole set (semigloss white) and leftover paint from the Christmas door hanging (craft, acrylic, green), I got to work on this old canvas.  Yes, it used to be something else too... But I don't generally memorialize projects that died at a mid point. 

So... mix mix mix... Three shades of whatever color you want and the white base. 

Paint the entire canvas the base color.  Why?  Because I said so.  But seriously, you only have to tape off one set of stripes if you paint the entire base.  After your base coat dries, tape off whatever background pattern you want (stripes, chevrons, polka dots, checks, etc) and then PAINT IT AGAIN WITH THE BASE COLOR.  Counter intuitive, but if you've been living under a rock and are still wondering how other people are getting such clean lines on their craft projects, this is it.  The coat above the tape seals the tape lines. No bleeding color. Wait for it to dry... again, then paint on your background color.

There is a lot of waiting in this project, but what can you do?  It happens.  For the center plaque design, I folder a sheet of copy paper into quarters and cut a simple design.  This can be traced onto the canvas and painted by hand using the next darker color you mixed. You might want to test your darker color first to make sure it is what you are looking for... or heck, live in the moment. I also painted a quick border on the canvas in this color because our front door is white and it needed some definition on the edges. Next, very exciting, let it dry. 

You will want to either draw or print the initial you will be using.  I went all freehand magic because how hard could an O really be?  You'll go back to your base color for the letter and then... wait for it to dry.

Lastly, in the darkest of your colors (I used straight from the bottle green), using a nice thin brush, paint on the name.  I again did some freehand work in cursive.  I actually tried print first and ended up backtracking to the plaque shape and starting fresh.  Best piece of advice here, for the name, dilute your paint slightly.  It will go on so much better (smooth, no blobs, less chance for error, longer lines without lifting your hand). 

Anywho... that's it.  Another easy one, but a great piece for the front door and it can be any color scheme you want!

Flip Flop You Don't Stop

What does a girl who failed a marital rating test from the 1930s do with her bachelorette* style evening?  She grabs a pair of flip flops and attempts a change that will make them wearable once again.  No, there was not a flip flop blow out (though this would work for those too).  The broken foot seems to be causing a serious reduction in shoes for me.  Apparently, once healed, there is a super sweet calcium lump at the site of the break.  Mix that with the fact that my feet are the only part of me that are legit thin... and you have some serious discomfort with all shoes that rub...  Flip flops included.

I saw a picture of these, but couldn't find the original instructions... I hate that about Pinterest.  Seriously people, links are your friends.

So...

This is at most an hour long project.  At most.  Turn on your favorite TV program to ignore and get to work.

Supplies:

  • old (or new) t-shirt
  • old (or new) flip flops
  • scissors
  • hot glue gun
Directions:
  • Cut the bottom hem off the t-shirt
  • Cut four 1 inch strips off the bottom (midsection) of the t-shirt, they should be loops when you remove them
  • With your hands inside the four loops, stretch to make the edges curl in on themselves
  • Cut loops once to make four long strips
  • Braid the strips into a long 4 section braid (need directions?)
  • Secure ends
  • Wrap braid around ankle and down between your toes to measure length, cut to length (my original braid was long enough for both flip flops. If yours isn't, repeat above steps to make second braid)
  • Remove old straps from flip flops
  • Trim bottom of flip flop enough to house fabric knot, but be careful to not punch all the way through the shoe (be conservative - don't go scissor crazy like you did the first time you gave yourself bangs in junior high)
  • Cut one 2-inch wide loop from sleeve
  • Stretch new loop then cut across width to make 2 equal strips
  • Putting the two ends of your braid together, tuck the loose ends through the top of the flip flop and knot together on the underside of the shoe
  • Trim the excess
  • Wrap one short strip around each side of the braid to secure the braid to the flip flop
  • Push loose ends through top of shoe and knot on the underside, trip excess (do for each side)
  • Using hot glue, secure the knot and fill in excess space on the underside of the shoe
  • Let dry
  • Try on
  • Look amazing
  • Go somewhere and show off your new shoes!


*New Guy is away on business.  Despite my failure on the test (for wearing pajamas instead of a nightgown and other not sexy things), he didn't leave me.  He's just working hard for his money... ooo, ooo... so hard for his money... in Phoenix this week.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Sew Skinny!

First thing to note... I'm not skinny. I'm not obese or like a hideous monster covered in growths... Just not skinny. And most day, I'm okay with it. When I'm not okay okay with it is when I buy a pair of pants in. A store that uses funhouse mirrors. You know what. I'm talking about. You look amazing in the store and then over the course off year you wear the pants about 25 times for 1-3 minutes each time. Because at home, your mirror doesn't lie. These pants are awful. Dang you J Crew.

Well, it was time to either make these pants work or, through the wonders of thrift shopping, burden someone else with this fashion monstrosity.

I happen to have a have a pretty great pair of skinny jeans from The Gap. I didn't want my J Crew sailor legged pants to be quite that skinny since I intend to wear them as summer pants to the office. But, the skinny jeans should make a pretty legit pattern. I laid the smaller jeans on top of the larger pants and grabbed a pen. Measuring 1/2 inch from the skinny jeans ( to add 1 inch to the diameter of the pant leg) I marked a line matching the skinny jean. For this part, you want to make sure the outer seam (outside of leg) is even. The. Inside seam won't be, pants just aren't built that way... Maybe pajama pants and scrubs... Who knows. But in order to get the new outside seam to match up, that bit has to be flat. Don't cut the inside seam.

The rest is basic sewing, use a thread that won't embarrass you the first time you sit and get to work revamping those pants. A few other notes, should you decide to do this... Don't cut the pants until you've tried them on with then new seam. Have your seam ripper handy, better to get it right and take a little longer. New Guy was responsible for answering, "no seriously, how do they look" along the way. Best to have a buddy. I mean, if you're doing this too, you did buy ugly pants to begin with.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Margarita Mini Cupcakes

Another super cute idea from the cooking class... But more importantly, the reason I have decided to invest in a mixer.  I know what you're thinking, "Wow, Lacey doesn't have a mixer? She's so old school and cool." Kidding, no one is thinking that.  Everyone is appalled.  Fine. Whatever.

But, before you start hating me, make a mental note that I did make a Margarita Swiss Meringue Buttercream from scratch. So ha. I'm awesome even without a mixer (for now)... and even though the cupcake is a modified bow recipe... dun dun dunnnnn!

With all that said, if anyone has a suggestion on a mixer, I'm open!

Anywho, without further ado... The Margarita Cupcake!


Margarita Cupcakes - Makes 24 cupcakes or 48 minis

Ingredients:

  • 1 pkg (18.25 oz) white cake mix (no pudding in the mix)
  • 1 can (10 oz) frozen Margarita mix thawed (undiluted, Sauza will work too)
  • 3 egg whites
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp lime zest grated (about 1 lime)
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Line cupcake tins
  • In a large bowl, combine cake mix, Maragrita mix, egg whites, and vegetable oil using electric mixer (30 seconds on low, 2 minutes on medium).
  • Stir in lime zest, mix completely
  • Fill prepared cupcake tins 2/3 full
  • Bake 22-24 for full size cupcakes, 12-14 for minis, or until a toothpick insertes in center of cupcake comes out clean.
  • Cool in in pan on cooling rack 5-8 minutes
  • Remove cupcakes from pan; cool completely
Margarita Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Ingredients:
  • 5 egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • pinch of salt (If you're like me, you hate pinches and dashes... I like definite numbers.  Sorry to throw you to the wolves on this one, but... you can decorate with salt and then the salt in the meringue... not so important, so go light)
  • 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened but cool
  • 2 tablespoons tequila
  • zest and juice of 1/2 lime
Directions:
  • Put egg whites, sugar, and a pinch of salt into the top of a double boiler over a pan of simmering water.
  • Whisking constantly, cook until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm (about 160 degrees)
  • Pour heated egg whites into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment
  • Beat egg white mixture on high speed until it forms stiff (but not dry) peaks
  • Continue to beat until fluffy and cooled, about 7 minutes
  • Switch to paddle attachment and take a deep breath
  • With mixer on medium speed, add butter two tablespoons at a time, beat well after each addition
  • Increase speed to medium-high, continue beating until frosting appears thick, about 3 minutes
  • Reduce speed to low; add tequilla, lime zest, and juice... 
  • Remember that deep breath.  The whole mess will look like it's ruined... don't worry... in through the nose and out through the mouth
  • Increase the mixer speed gradually and watch your creation come back to life!!!
  • Mix until incorporated 
Finishing Touches
  • We finished our cupcakes with a little piece of fresh lime, the frosting, and a sprinkle of kosher salt that has been dyed green
They are pretty freaking amazing.  The booze, just like college in 1999, is tempered by the salt and lime... And even if your tolerance has seriously diminished since then, like mine, you'll be fine. Just no sipping form the bottle until after you've finished the frosting.  It's easy to jack up if you don't have your wits about you. 

Brownie Mix Bridal Shower Favors!

When planning favors for Chelsea's bridal shower, the trick was two fold.  First, how do I keep with the theme of retro housewife and still give something that all us modern gals would love.  Second, how do I make the favor something awesome... and still affordable. To accomplish the theme and the affordability, I'm going to have to roll up my sleeves and beg the other bridesmaids and mother of the bride for a little elbow grease. 

The beauty of being a woman in 2013 is that you can love baking and your stressful corporate job... and no one judges the dichotomy of your lifestyle. We all seem to be there now... managing a household and a demanding career.  I wouldn't have it any other way. But I digress... 

I landed on favors that are perfect because:
  • They are in line with the retro housewife theme
  • They are pretty enough to be out on the table during the shower
  • They match the color scheme (and could easily match any color scheme you choose)
  • Most (there's always a few sticks in the mud) women will love the gift 
  • It contains reusable parts (future pinterest DIY project - umm, yes!)
  • Super affordable if you take the time to order the components in advance

For the shower we made nearly 50 Brownie Mix Mason Jars!  Shocking but true.  The jars will be coupled with wooden mixing spoons, because, I'm pretty sure you can never have enough wooden spoons. The breakdown on the costs per person: 
  • Wooden Spoon - $1.16
  • Mason Jar - $1.20
  • Dry Ingredients - $1.81 (with extras for the house!)
  • Fabric/Ribbon - $.08
  • TOTAL COST PER PERSON - $4.97
I'm pretty sure I could have paired this down using an alternative recipe that didn't require so much cocoa powder.  That was the killer ingredient cost at well over a third of the total ingredient cost.  Consider yourself warned.

So, the recipe* and the final result... 
Chewy Brownie Mix in a Jar
Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 25 mins
Cooling Time: 20 mins cooling
Servings: 24 brownies
  • 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup Baking Cocoa
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
LAYER ingredients in order listed above in 1-quart jar, pressing firmly after adding each ingredient. Be sure to wipe out inside of jar with paper towel after adding cocoa. Seal with lid and decorate with fabric and ribbon.
Attach the following recipe:
Chewy Brownies
PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Grease 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Pour brownie mix into large mixer bowl; stir. Add 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) melted butter or margarine, 2 large eggs, 2 tablespoons water and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract; stir well. Spread into prepared baking pan. Bake for 18 to 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out slightly sticky. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Dust with powdered sugar.
Makes 2 dozen brownies.


*Original recipe can be found at recipegoldmine.com

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Retro Themed Bridal Shower Recipe Cards

What do you do for the bride to be who is super crafty and creative? How do you make her bridal shower an event that is worthy of her amazing skills and cheerful spirit?

Well, I'll tell you. You hop on your laptop and get to work with your favorite design program to make her recipe cards that are as fun and unique as her.

In keeping with the retro housewife theme, we opted to design recipe cards to go to each of the shower invitees. The bride to be is an amazing cook, but what girl couldn't get on board with 50 favorite recipes from her closest gal pals and all the ladies in her family?




There are 6 different designs, three red and three blue. Color front and back (back has same polka dot border with line for directions).  If you're thinking... dang, I wish I has a set of these, feel free to swing by Etsy and grab one of the extra sets!

Monday, April 01, 2013

If you like Pina Coladas...

And getting caught in the rain... THESE ARE THE CUPCAKES FOR YOU!

Seriously though. If you like makin' love at midnight... don't eat too much frosting or you won't be awake for it. 



I took a class on desserts with a twist this weekend... drunken desserts might have been more accurate.  For the most part the booze is light and just adds a kick of flavor.  So without further ado, pineapple cupcakes with coconut cream cheese frosting... or Pina Colada Cupcakes!

Makes 24-28 cupcakes
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups canned crushed pineapple (drained slightly)
Instructions for cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside
  3. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the eggs and sugar until slightly thickens and a light cream color (about 2 minutes)
  4. On low speed, mix in the oil and vanilla until blended
  5. Add in the pineapple and sour cream and mix until fully incorporated
  6. Add the flour mixture about a third at a time and blend just until combined and smooth
  7. line a cupcake pan with liners and fill about 2/3 full
  8. bake cupcakes for about 22 minutes at 350 degrees
  9. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack
Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature (1 stick/8 tablespoons)
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coconut extract
  • 4 cups powdered confectioners sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum (can substitute 1 tablespoon heavy cream or milk... but where is the fun in that?)
Instructions for Frosting
  1. Place butter in a large mixing bowl and blend until smooth
  2. Add cream cheese and blend until well combined (about 30 seconds)
  3. Add vanilla extract, coconut extract and powdered sugar (1 cup at a time) and blend on low speed until combined.
  4. Increase to medium speed and beat until it begins to get fluffy
  5. Slowly add the rum (or heavy cream)
  6. Beat until fluffy, about 1 more minute
  7. Use at once of keep refrigerated (This frosting will keep well in the fridge for several days, but may need to re-beat for best texture)
Decorate!!
  • Decorate cupcakes with frosting, a sprinkle of toasted coconut, a fresh pineapple triangle, and a maraschino cherry!
If you aren't going the rum route, no need to dress it like a pina colada... but they are super pretty!