Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Project Runway All Stars!

You all know I am a fan of the original.  Sadly, I was a late starter to the series, but I have watched every episode of no less than five seasons of this fashion design gem.  I love to watch the process, I love to see the beautiful clothes, I love to hear the critiques from some of fashion's biggest names.  It's fun.

So can you even imagine my glee at the news that there would be an ALL STAR season?  Some jilted past contestants getting another shot at a grand prize?  Um, yes.  Excellent.

When I fired up our DVR-ish system to watch the first episode a few months ago, I was surprised to see a new cast of supporting players.  A new host, new mentor, and new judges.  Let me break it down for you.

Host- Angela Lindvall. 
She is no Heidi Klum.  I must say that I'm not a fan.  I enjoy Heidi's blunt commentary much more than Angela's seemingly watered down thoughts.  Also, she is apparently a supermodel, yet I don't so much recognize her.  Anyone?  Anyone?

Mentor- Joanna Coles. 
I appreciate her genuinely supportive, yet constructive, criticism of the designers' work.  I appreciate her important position in the world of fashion.  But she is most certainly no Tim Gunn, who is undoubtedly the brightest spot on the original PR.  I miss Tim.

Judges- Georgina Chapman (of Marchesa) and Isaac Mizrahi (along with the host). 
I enjoyed these two.  Georgina is very sweet, but very real with the contestants.  And Isaac is just funny and fabulous.  No holds barred.  Love.  The guest judges were also wonderful, ranging from huge names in fashion (like Diane von Furstenberg and Tommy Hilfiger) to huge names in entertainment (um, Miss Piggy?).  Delightful.

I was a little behind as far as contestants are concerned, since I missed a few of the earlier seasons, but by the time we got to the end, I was up to speed.

The final three were really something else.

Austin Scarlett could not possibly be more dramatic. 
His wardrobe (the sequins!), his hair (omg- he sleeps in curlers!), and even his speech (who says farewell instead of goodbye?) are completely over-the-top at all times.  Fun to watch.  But his final collection was equally over-the-top, and I got lost in his explanation.  A 300-year-old vampire borrowing clothes from his modern day Hasidic friends in Colonial Williamsburg?  I swear to you, I am not making this up.  It was a bit much.  He gets big points from me for his wedding gown, however.  Incredible.

Michael Costello- ugh. 
I remember Michael from his original season, and I hated him there, as well.  I feel like he is completely fake with his emotions, and that is something that I cannot abide.  When someone was sent home instead of him, he cried fake "it should have been me" tears every timeUgh.  And since he made it to the finale, I guess he must have talent.  I will admit that several of the pieces he created over the season were really quite beautiful.  But why do I feel like he just kind of got lucky with every win?  His final collection was nice, but that's all.  Just nice.  (And had so much animal print that I thought I was in the jungle, but whatev.  I guess that's what he was going for.)

Mondo Guerra. 
I love me some Mondo.  I was so sad for him on his original season that he lost out to that bitch Gretchen.  I was so excited to see him get a chance for redemption.  Although his designs are not something that I would wear, I can appreciate it for its artistry, and the skill that goes into creating it.  He truly is a creative genius.  And although he got a titch overdramatic towards the end, it worked for him.  His "Therapy" collection was inspired. 

And if you couldn't tell from my contestant descriptions, Mondo was my clear favorite...AND THE WINNER!  Huzzah.  The good guy wins in the end.  All is right with the world.  Team Mondo 4-eva. 

Loved this show.

Monday, March 26, 2012

I Let It Get Away From Me

This weekend was nice.  Relaxing.  We had a babysitter Saturday night and hit the town to celebrate a good friend's birthday.  We lazed around yesterday, took a walk, ran a quick errand or two.  J and I even played some Rock Band while the nugget was napping.  I did no chores.  That hasn't happened in a long time.

So why is it that after taking one weekend off, I feel like my house is a disaster?  I made a "to do" list about a week ago, and I don't think I've managed to cross one thing off of it.  Ah, the joys of home/pet/child ownership.  It's the perfect storm.

But I wouldn't have it any other way.

Happy Monday, y'all.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Pinspired: Project Grout

I do believe that I've mentioned several times before that I'm continually shocked and amazed that my house isn't spotless at all times, given the urge to clean that seems to be with me all the time.  The urge started during pregnancy, and never left.

I realize that the truth behind my not-so-spotless house is that I enjoy spending his awake time playing with my boy, rather than cleaning.  And I have two dogs, who are a constant source of dirt and hair, but lovable nonetheless.

But there was one project that was nagging at me, in the back of my mind all the time, since back in the days before the nugget was born.  It was something that desperately needed to be done, but I just didn't know the best way to go about it, and so I put it off.  For a long time...

Then I saw a pin on Pinterest, and I knew what I had to do.  Get out the toothbrush, get down on my knees, and get to work.  (And now get your mind out of the gutter.)  

I'm talking about grout.

Friends, please don't judge me when I tell you that I haven't ever scrubbed that grout since I had the tile installed over four years ago.  I've mopped plenty of times, I've spot-cleaned tough spots on the tile, and I've even used (many) floor cleaning devices throughout the kitchen.  But I had never focused on just the grout, and after years of neglect, it was starting to show.

It hit me one day when I glanced into a corner where no one walks, and I noticed that the grout there was a completely different color than the grout in the main area of the floor.  And then I became disgusted.  You see, it's hard to notice the gradual darkening of the grout as it is occurring.  It takes that glance into the corner to realize how filthy the grout has become.  Okay, dirty grout, you get the picture.

SO, back to Pinterest.  Here is what started the nagging in my mind.

I started out following the recipe as it was written- 3/4 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup bleach.  At one point, I recruited J's help.  He mixed way too much bleach in with the baking soda, and his mixture was much more soup than paste.  Turns out, this was a happy accident.  The mixture flowed more easily into the grout lines, but was still thick enough to stay put for the required ten minutes.  (Thanks, dear!)
SO, for the next two weeks (that's right, folks- two weeks!), I spent the nugget's nap time working on small sections of floor.  Mixing the baking soda and bleach, allowing to sit for ten minutes, then wiping up with hot water and scrubbing with the toothbrush.

Was this project quick?  Absolutely not.  Was it effective?  Indubitably.

See for yourself with the before and after.  (And again- please don't judge me...I am fully aware of how gross the before shot is.  Also, if all of you out there scrub your grout on a weekly basis, I will eat my left foot.)

End result- clean floor, happy mama. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Dream Realized

Today, I was called into the Principal's office- always a nerve wracking experience, even once you've moved past childhood into adult territory.  There is something about that mammoth wooden desk, and the stern way in which he's seated behind it, that makes my palms sweat a little, even now.

But I am no stranger to this experience.  Each year since I've started this job, at just about this time of year, I am called to his office to collect a letter from Human Resources.  This letter states that I am employed on a terminating contract (as are all part-time employees), and that my re-hire status for the following school year is uncertain given the difficult financial times.

This hasn't given me too much worry in years past, as my unique position is mandated and funded through a special, federal pot of money that I know isn't going anywhere.  And this year, when the principal handed me the "dastardly letter" (his words), I had even less concern than usual.

"I'm giving you this letter, because I'm supposed to, but it doesn't really apply to you this year, does it?" he said, with a genuine smile on his face.

You see, friends, I got my dream job, and I will not be returning to my teaching position next year.  Upon the conclusion of this school year, I will start my first day with the job title "Stay At Home Mom."

I've mentioned in passing that J got a new job back in December.  That opportunity brought us the financial ability for me to give up my part-time work and stay home with my nugget full-time.  I decided to finish out the remainder of the school year, though, as I certainly do not want to burn any bridges here.  This position has been ideal over the past few years, and there may be a day when I'd like it back.  Also, my continued income throughout the first half of 2012 will put us in a good spot when that income ceases to exist in a few months.

My principal let me know that he is happy for me, and I believe that he is.  He also let me know that he'd be happy to have me back if that was ever something that I wanted, or that I could feel free to call on him if I'd like his help finding something else.

Suddenly, my palms aren't so sweaty and the nerves have subsided.  Now, I'm just happy.

July 1 marks my first day on the new job, and I couldn't be more excited.      

Don't Turn Your Back

Or your kids will grow up and you'll miss it.

They'll also get into the pantry and ten seconds later emerge with a snack.
So I guess he's eating Pop Tarts now.  I didn't have the heart to take it away.  And yes, he thoroughly enjoyed it.

He's a quick one, that nugget.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Pinspired: Pinned It, Did It! Vol. 1

New feature!  I have really been utilizing Pinterest a lot these days.  Mostly for recipes, but also a few other crafty things.  I thought that this would be a good place to record all of those efforts- you know, for posterity's sake.

And although I am calling this Vol. 1, I should certainly reference here (birthday party theme courtesy of Pinterest) and here (Pinterest recipe reviews).

Here are a few of my latest endeavors!

Magic in the Middle Cookies.  I made these awhile back, actually, to put on my Christmas cookie trays.  I have got to say that they were absolutely delicious, and it was fun to watch people bite into them and be surprised by the magic inside (peanut butter really is magical, no?).  That being said...they were a pure pain in the ass to make.  Not sure I'll be making these too often, and definitely not during my Christmas cookie baking extravaganza.

52 Reasons Why I Love You gift.  I took the time to craft this for J as a Valentine's Day gift.  He told me that if our house were to ever catch on fire, this would be the one thing he'd want to save from the flames.  (After me and the nugget, I'm assuming.)  Not sure I could have received a higher compliment.  BEST. GIFT. EVER.

The Sock Bun.  I have become a little OBSESSED with the sock bun.  I just can't quite master it- I think because of the layers in my haircut?  I'm not exactly sure, but I do know that I will get it someday.  I really love this easy look.

Crockpot BBQ Chicken.  This was only okay.  I think that boneless, skinless chicken breasts tend to get a little dry in the slow cooker.  This may have been better with dark meat, but I am most definitely not a dark meat eater.  Next time, I'll stick to the grill.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

How Do Babies Do These Things?

He's been sitting like this for the past twenty minutes.  Aside from the occasional head bob, there has been absolutely no movement.

He's either:
a.) been hypnotized
b.) seen the reflection of a basilisk through his plastic Captain Anderson clock and been petrified
or hopefully
c.) asleep sitting up.

Alas, a slow sideways tip, and...
Whew.  That was a close one.

The Pox Remains

And just when I thought we were all on the mend...

Last night, the nugget slept, shall we say, fitfully.  As in, every ten minutes, there was crying.  ALL. NIGHT. LONG.

I knew that something was obviously wrong, as my boy is a terrific sleeper.  Oh, and did I mention that he was burning up?  

So to the doctor we went...again.  When we were there on Friday, to address the chronic, nagging, ohmygodwillheeverstopcoughing cough, all looked good.  Clear lungs, clear ears, "allergy" nose.  We chalked it up to seasonal allergies and away we went.

So sometime between Friday afternoon and last night, the poor boy's ear became so infected that the doctor assured me that his poor, blistered eardrum would most likely rupture at any moment.

Of course he cried all night long.  I probably would have, too.

Thankfully, ear infections are easy.  (And can you believe this is his first ever??)  We've begun the antibiotics, and hopefully I can return to work tomorrow and actually finish out the rest of the week.  Luckily my students saw me for a hot second yesterday, otherwise, they may have forgotten my name.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Time Change Blues

Walk with me down misery lane, won't you?

I hate the time change.  It's true.  While most people are rejoicing at the prospect of longer hours of daylight, I am whining about the darkness that greets me when I awaken.

It has been clearly established here that I am not a morning person.  A lack of sunshine in the mornings makes this worse.  Add in the fact that it's MONDAY- boo- and my first day back at work after an extended absence, and the morning is super craptastic.

I had to wake the nugget up, which is near the top of my list of reasons why being a working mother sucks.  AND it breaks rule number one in our house, which, in case you forgot, is NEVER WAKE A SLEEPING BABY.  I forgot to take my antibiotic, and forgot to give Gabe his Claritin.  I lingered too long at drop off (you know, since I didn't actually get to see the boy before work, him being asleep and all).  Lingering is never a good thing for me.  AND, I discovered that my countdown of days until the end of the school year was off, and I had to add a day. 

But to look on the bright side- trying to take care of a one-year-old while both parents are sick is a real treat.  You should try it sometime- NOT.  Work today will most certainly be easier than that.  And I'll have the afternoon at home with my boy, which we will be able to enjoy outside in the 70 + degree weather.

Okay, Monday whining over.  Much happier posts to follow this week, folks, I swear. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Pox On Our House

I have not abandoned ye old blog...

Our house has been stricken with the stomach flu.  First the husband, then me, and finally the baby.  And it ain't been pretty.  Throw in a urinary tract infection here and a nasty cold there, and we may as well quarantine ourselves and call it the plague.

I will return soon, once I have nursed the household back to health.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Product Review: Mascara

Is there any woman out there who is not constantly searching for the very perfect mascara?  I think not.

I suffer from scrawny lashes.  Which is extra unfair, since I live in a house with two very long lashed boys.  Waaahhhh.  But I have high hopes that someday I will find that magic potion that will make my lashes look better than my husband's. 

I will not claim that this is the perfect mascara, but after wearing it for a few days now, I will say that I am pleased:
L'Oreal Voluminous False Fiber Lashes.

This stuff claims to have fibers that grab onto your existing lash, and extend outward from there.  I've gotta say, this might actually be happening.  My lashes are LONG (or, at least, long for me).  I haven't had any issue with clumping, and haven't ended my days with unfortunate raccoon eyes.

So far, so good.

This one may be worth a try, ladies.

Monday, March 5, 2012

A Trick of the Eye

Every time I glance at my inbox today, I see this:

Your Amazon.com order of "Member's Mark - Children's..." has shipped!

I keep thinking that it says my order of Maker's Mark has shipped (as I apparently block out the part that says Children's...because clearly there is no children's version of Maker's Mark).  And then I think to myself, "Self, when did you order liquor on Amazon?  You don't even drink Maker's Mark!"

And then I realize that it says "Member's Mark," and that it is actually allergy medication for the nugget.

But then I back up, and realize that it would be pure awesomeness if I could order liquor from Amazon...because I totally would.

That is all.


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Operation Save-a-Bonus-Room

We are in a very tough spot around here.

My kitty, Princess, has been a bad girl.  Her litter box is located in our bonus room.  She has the run of the house during the day, but is locked in the bonus room at night (as she likes to knock on all of the other closed doors in the house if she roams free overnight, equaling rest for no one).  Well, for some reason, unbeknownst to me, Prinny has taken it upon herself to claim the entire bonus room.

As in, she pees wherever she pleases in that room.

The perimeter of the room is pretty much wrecked.  She chooses to use her litter box sometimes, but other times to back herself up to the wall and let it flow.  Seriously gross.

The thing is, she only does this in the bonus room.  She has never peed anywhere else in the house.  I genuinely believe that she thinks it's okay to pee on the floor in the bonus room.  That this is the spot we've designated for her.


I have come to the point where I would like to reclaim that room.  No, I NEED to reclaim that room.  The nugget is growing quickly, and his many, MANY accouterments are taking up mucho space in the house.  The boy needs a play room.  And we will, at some point, have another baby, at which point we will REALLY need every available inch of space in this house.  Not to mention the fact that we are really starting to think about putting this house on the market and looking for something a little bit bigger and a lot closer to J's new job...


I hate to say it, but my first thought was to give the cat up.  I really didn't know what else to do!  I have really, really been struggling with the decision, as I am not one to just give a pet up because they are an inconvenience to me.  But I felt as though I was left without any other choice.

Turns out, there isn't a single no kill shelter that will take her.  At eleven, she's too old to re-home.  I absolutely WILL NOT take her to a shelter that euthanizes.  And I can't let her outside, because she has no front claws.  

Moving onto Plan B...

Today, we went to Home Depot to special order an exterior door with a built-in kitty door.  We will move her litter box out into the garage, and she can enter house/garage at will through said kitty door.  Then, we will rip up all flooring in bonus room, spend several weeks de-stenching subfloor, sealing, replacing trim, and will finally lay new carpet.

Oy.  I am exhausted (and broke) just thinking about it.

The bright side here (I guess?) is that if we want to sell this house, we would have had to do all of the flooring mess either way.  So we'll call that part a wash.

I sincerely hope that my kitty can be a good girl, and stick to the garage from now on!  We will keep all upstairs doors closed at all times, so she can't sneak back to her old ways.  And this way, I get to keep my pet, who I've had since I rescued her from a fraternity house when I was in college.

Everyone, fingers crossed that Operation Save-a-Bonus-Room is a success!

Thursday, March 1, 2012


I love the change of seasons.  Every fall, I get so excited to pull out my jeans, sweaters, and boots.  But the time has arrived when I am ready to PACK 'EM UP.  I am now excited for sundresses and flip-flops.

Today will mark the first 80 degree day of the year, and I am oh-so-ready for Spring.  I smelled freshly cut grass on my way home from work today...SPRING!  My bulbs are beginning to bloom...SPRING!  Windows are open...SPRING!

I also have a desire for some crazy Spring cleaning, like organizing the garage and scrubbing the grout in the kitchen.  But as my husband will tell you, I'm sometimes crazy like that.

I am sad to see the potential return of winter early next week, but these warmer days are becoming more and more frequent these last couple of weeks.

Fingers crossed that any day now, Spring will be here to stay.    


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