Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sneak Peek

Here's a little sneak peek at what's been going on at the new casa.

I'm up to my eyeballs in paint and boxes here but I've got a home tour to show you guys soon!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Jack-elopes and Rhinoviruses

So I meant to post yesterday but got completely laid on my ass with what I'm assuming was some kind of Spiderman version of the common cold. I couldn't even get out of bed. Fortunately today I feel a lot better.

Ryan and I went to sign our lease today! We move in on Wednesday and we couldn't be more excited.

But Tuesday was our really big day. We went down to the courthouse and Ryan made an honest woman out iof me.

That's right. We're married. Get it? Jack-elope? I know, I'm a riot. We're shooting at having a ceremony next spring so I still get to go through the exciting/stressful wedding planning.

I'm cool with that. 'Cause I'm stuck with my best friend with the rest of my life. :-)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Hello, Friends!

Let's ketchup.

I can't believe I've let two weeks slip by without a post!  Actually, I can, because it was kind of intentional. I personally hate to be blown off, so I'm truly sorry I did that to you guys, but it was all in the name of spending some much-needed quality time with my family.

And that was just week one.  Week two has consisted of doing a bunch of grown-up type things.

For instance.... WE FOUND A HOUSE! After months of hunting and creeping around back yards, we finally got a place and it is P-E-R-F-E-C-T for us! There are spare bedrooms! A garage! A fenced-in back yard! THERE'S A FIREPLACE FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!

We move in on the 14th and Ryan and I are both super excited. Now if only we could stop arguing about TV stands. ;)

We have a reaaaalllly big day tomorrow.  Can you guess what's gonna happen!?

I'll leave you in suspense until then. ;)

Happy Monday, friends!

Friday, November 18, 2011


After a couple months of hemming and hawing, I got a hair cut yesterday!

About two years ago, I thought it would be a really cool idea to grow my hair reaaaally long.  You see, I'd always had pretty short hair.  Like... Kate Gosselin short (but way more classy and a lot less porcupine-y).  And then I fell through the mirror into blog land and found out that "boob hair" is super cool.  And I had boob hair!  Such a fulfilling moment of my life, I tell ya.

Things were going well, and then we went on vacation.  And my hair asplode.  I guess it was the mixture of Gulf water and chlorine, because all my ends decided to just freak out and split all at once.  I tried to ignore it, I really did.  But the hair at the nape of my neck kept getting all dreadlock-y and all I could do was braid it.

I couldn't even style it anymore because it would just get all tangled and crazy.  I had to cut out more than one knot.  Eventually I just had this weird, frizzy, wavy matted thing living on top of my head.  It kind of reminded me of a shaggy sloth.

Those split ends were mocking me.  And I had way surpassed boob hair.  I could use my hair as a scarf.  Or a slutty shirt.  Once your hair starts doubling as bad clothing, it's time for a trim.

Now dammit if that ain't the most attractive thing you've seen all day!  I had a major case of triangle hair... pyramid hair...

So anyway, I booked an appointment with an apprentice at a local salon and this girl for real worked wonders.  Wonders, I tell you!

I haven't had a different hair style in four years.  And man, sometimes change is good.  Like when you change your underwear.  Or your haircut.  Or the channel when reality TV comes on.  But I digress...

Ta da!  I didn't know my hair could get that curly!  I'm so excited.  I had this big shit-eating grin all day yesterday and couldn't stop looking in the mirror.  My hair bounces, people!

Don't judge me.  It's the only way I could figure out how to take a picture of the back of my head.

And I'm not sure why, but I feel like a bonafide grownup with this haircut.  Not a semi-grownup, a real grownup!  Oh, and the best part?  My cut was free! F-R-E-E!  Because my stylist is still an apprentice her cuts are free and her colors are only thirty bucks!  I know, right!?  I'll give you a minute to pick your jaw up off the floor.

If any of you are in the Virginia Peninsula area and want to know the name of the stylist and salon, just shoot me an email!

Have a happy weekend!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Stickin' It to Design

I must have gone and lost my damn mind.  Seriously. 
Yesterday I got this crazy idea to go outside and get some sticks.  Pretty harmless, right?

Just some sticks, sittin' around my apartment, all innocent like.  For the record, Bear was really confused and kind of pissed that he couldn't chew on these sticks.

He was even more confused when he couldn't chew on them after I painted them.

"Quit taking pictures of those sticks and let me chew 'em, already!"

Not bad, if I do say so myself.  But I wasn't content to just let them sit in a vase on my coffee table.  And I had to get them out of the dog's reaches, so...

I put 'em on the wall.  Not only did I put 'em on the wall, I hot glued them to the wall.  I'm pretty sure there's a line in my lease that says you can't hot glue shit to your walls.  And if there's not, there should be.

I just hope it doesn't mess up the paint.

I think I kind of like it.

So, done anything completely irrational lately?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Editing Photos in Picnik

In Friday's post I briefly mentioned that I had edited all of the photos in Picnik.  If you've never used it, Picnik is a free, online photo-editing program.  Just upload your photo, edit, save, and you're done!  You can even print from Picnik.  I know, how sweet is that?  So today I thought I'd delve a little more into the world of Picnik.  This also gives me an excuse to post 23857 pictures of my dog.  ;)

So, here's the original photo.  It's not a bad one, but it could use a little touching up.  Note that Bear's ears are in the "I just heard the phrase 'do you want a treat?'" position.

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Perfect Day

So the other day I said I was going to wake up early and go jogging.  That totally didn't happen.  But what did happen was way better.  I brought Bear to one of our favorite trails with the full intention of jogging but I forgot how much running hurts.  I am many things, but a glutton for punishment isn't one of them.  I also brought my camera and kept stopping to take pictures.  So what was supposed to be a 20-minute jog turned into an hour-long walk with just Bear and I.  And it was perfect.  I'll let the pictures do the talking.

It was so quiet and peaceful.  It was like walking in a cathedral.  Only better.  I'm not a very religious person, but sights like this remind me that there has to be something greater out there.

Bear was not impressed by my need to stop and take pictures every ten feet.

I love the fact that this trail is never packed with people.  It's the only place Bear can run free off his leash and I don't have to worry about being screamed at by park rangers.  One end of the trail dead-ends at the reservoir, and Bear always gets to swim around and make a mess.  Unfortunately he didn't get to today because he just got a bath yesterday.  He was NOT happy about his lack of a swim.  Oh well, you win some, you lose some.

Dang it if that ain't the most handsome mutt you've ever seen.

Bear kept sticking his tail in the shot.  He was getting pretty antsy at that point.  He doesn't understand why his human wants to just sit around and take pictures when there are so many things to sniff and pee on.

Did I mention that it's a perfect 70 degrees out right now?  Autumn in Virginia is probably the most perfect thing ever.

P.S.  Have you ever tried Picnik?  It's probably the best thing ever.  I edit all my photos on there and it just turns them into magic.  AND it's free.  Doesn't get any better than that.

Have you been having any fall adventures lately?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thank You, Anthro!

As soon as I buy new book cases I'm totally doing this:


Also, I am requesting either (or both) of these couches as a housewarming gift. 



Start pinching your pennies, people!  We need to can make this happen!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Before I graduated from high school, I really wish someone would have sat me down, smacked me across the face, and said "Listen up, 'cause this shit is important" and then proceeded to tell me the following things:

1. Go to community college for two years and get all the stupid core classes out of the way, and then transfer to a real university.  Because if you don't, you'll be in college an extra 3+ years because you can't manage to show up to Sophomore English.

2. Don't get a credit card, because you're going to be way too broke to make the payments, and then lawyers and creditors are going to start calling and harassing your 80-year old grandma.

3. Don't be a Music Major!  Get a real major so you can get a real damn job when you finally graduate.

4. Start exercising, because you're going to be too broke to buy real groceries and your main form of sustenance will be something off the McDonald's dollar menu. Every. Day. And fat ain't cute and you can't afford to buy new jeans every time you gain or lose a pound.

5. Live at home until you're 30.  Yeah, living with Mom sucks and you hate her rules, but having roommates with alcohol/drug problems who do things like beat your dog, file false police reports on you, and bail two days before $1100 of rent is due are WAY worse than being home by midnight.

6. Just don't date. Boys will ruin your grades and the bad sex is way overrated.  Just make sure you make it to a certain bar on September 16, 2010, 'cause that guy is actually worth keeping around.

7. You can't raise your brother, make good decisions for your mom, or repair the relationship with your dad, so quit stressing out over it. All that crying you do while driving is probably going to cause you to wreck (again) and you can't afford to total another car.

That being said, I think it's pretty apparent I'm under a LOT of stress right now, most of it being caused by financial burdens.  I wish just a few short years ago I'd really understood what living above your means actually meant.  More importantly, I wish I had understood the consequences.

I've been feeling really overwhelmed lately, and when that happens I tend to just hide from everything so I don't end up having a giant panic attack (been there, done that, ain't fun).  Seriously, I didn't get out of bed until 2 pm today.

When I get like this, I remember what my friend Jamie told me, and it's some of the best advice I've ever gotten: "You can't do everything all at once.  You need to break things down and take care of one thing at a time."  So that's what I'm going to try to do.

Here's what needs to happen in the next month:

Tomorrow I'm going to wake my ass up sometime before noon.  I'm going to take Bear and go for a jog. Because like I said before, McDonald's is making my ass bigger than it already is and I don't need that extra stress.
Tomorrow I'm also going to apply for Federal Student Aid for next semester.
On Friday I'm going to send off the check to make the first payment on my student loans.  It's due on Monday and I can't afford to deal with any late charges.
On Monday I'm going to pay off the $140 hold on my student account and attempt to get registered for the last two classes I need in order to graduate.
On December 1 I'm going to pay my rent.

Through December, I'm going to save up for all the money that moving requires (damn you, security and pet deposits!).

Once Ryan and I move in January I'm going to call those pesky debt collectors and set up some kind of payment plan.

I've got to get a handle on my money, I can't keep living life hiding from my bank statements.  And I'm pretty sure my family is going to disown me if those lawyers don't stop calling.  

On the up side, my car will be paid off in May, and that means that not only do I not have to worry about car payments, I can also drop my car insurance down to liability and that will save me a little money too.

Breaking things down I just realized that I only need $250 by Monday to make sure my immediate concerns are taken care of, and that has alleviated the stress a little.

Am I the only 20-something that feels like they've been thrown out on the wind with no sort of idea how to be a grown-up?  You'd think they'd have some kind of class or handbook for this sort of thing.

I wish I was rich enough to just have some kind of financial advisor.  But then, if I were rich, I guess I wouldn't worry so much about my car being repossessed. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Living Room Inspiration

Despite the fact Ryan and I have no idea where we'll be moving to in the near future, I've got design inspiration on the brain.  We've narrowed our choices down to two houses (even though those plans can change in a second), and I'm already dreaming up furniture layouts.

posted about the colorful vs. neutral quandary I was having, and some of the owners of those lovely living rooms gave the tip that I should keep the big things neutral and bring in color via accessories.  Well, I've been Pinning like a madwoman, and here are some of the ideas I've slapped together.

As much as I love bright, colorful spaces, I just can't get neutral rooms out of my head.  So here's a sort of not entirely logical progression in lieu of going from entirely neutral to adding that perfect pop of color.

Completely neutral and completely perfect.  I think one of the things I love most about neutral rooms is how much plants shine in them.  This room would border on boring if it weren't for some simple potted plants.  Downside: my cat looooves chewing on house plants.

Again, the perfect shades of white with the same lovely plant action.  What can I say?  I love leaves.

The next two design boards are by the lovely and talented Darlene of Fieldstone Hill Design.  The way she adds subtle colors to an already beautiful neutral background makes my heart pitter patter.  This is more in the direction I want to go in with my own space.

And then there's this living room.  Designed by Jamie Meares of i suwannee, it is probably one of the most prefect rooms I've ever seen.  I especially love the fact that it's a gorgeous room that looks like you could actually live in.  I'm especially diggin' those dark orange velvet chairs.

So, there you have it.  Aside from writing music for my high school group, these living rooms are pretty much the only thing I've been thinking about lately.  And of course, Ryan thinks I'm completely crazy.

P. S.  This pillow is going to come live with me someday.  Hopefully that someday is in the very near future (A.K.A. after I pay rent!)

Hope you all are having a lovely week so far!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! Stay safe and have fun. :)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Apple & Pear Crostadas

I've been a busy bee over here, trying to get both my semi-grownup life and my Halloween costume together.  And I've been recruited to be Ryan's official makeup artist tomorrow night.  He's going to be some kind of Satanic demon-priest?  And he wants his look to be perfect.  This guy is putting on the pressure, let me tell ya!

I digress.  Needless to say, between the makeup and the aforementioned roommate situation, I've been a little stressed out.  Which means I've gone into blog-reading overload.  Some people, when stressed, drink. Or cry.  Or clean.  I read blogs.  In fact, on Tuesday I didn't even get out of bed until it was time for my night class.  But before I was forced to put on pants get it together, I was pulled in by that homemaking maven, Martha Stewart.  This woman ALWAYS gets me in trouble.

I was browsing her Thanksgiving recipes (I refuse to think about Christmas yet), and found a recipe for an Apple and Cheddar Crostada.  So, I got to baking and let me tell you, these things are perfection.

Please, try not to drool on your keyboard.  Wanna know how to make this puppy?  Of course you do!  It's so easy even I didn't screw it up!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Unexcused Absence

Sorry for the lack of posts, friends.  I've been doing my usual 7-day work week, which leaves so much spare time for blogging.

Ryan and I were house hunting all weekend, so hopefully in the next couple weeks we'll have a place to move into!

I also might sue my roommate.  Doesn't that sound like fun!? 

It actually doesn't sound fun at all, it just sounds like a bunch of extra stress, money, and drama.  But hey, that's the real world, right?

I'll be back soon. In the meantime, I added my bedroom to my Home Tour page.  I want to try and get all the rooms in my apartment photographed and put up there, so I'll have a reference to things I want to do/change in the new place.

Hope everyone's weekends were great!  Please tell me you did something more exciting than house hunting and retaining a lawyer.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Yesterday at Target I was wandering about aimlessly, as I am wont to do on an afternoon when I'm trying to waste some time before work, and the idea of patterned tights popped into my head.

So I found myself wandering awkwardly amongst the old lady bras and little kid shoes and finally found myself in the tights aisle.  Not much appealed to me, and then, all of a sudden, something fuschia and zig-zaggy and wonderful just jumped into my hand unbidden.  Missoni for Target tights.

I guess I had a small moment of insanity, leftover from the Missoni Madness that happened all across the country a couple weeks ago, because when I saw I was holding the last pair, I decided I had to have them. I could always return them if I didn't like them, right?  Well, I got home, pulled those bad boys up, and fell in love!  

I haven't worn tights in over fifteen years, but as I kid I had all kinds of tights.  I guess these just bring back happy memories.  Then I realized, how the hell am I gonna outfit these?  I have a HUGE donk, aren't these going to look dumb?  Ryan's going to hate them.  I need to color coordinate.

Then I hopped on Pinterest and found a new obsession: shorts with tights!  And now, for image overload:

I think the key here is keeping the shorts a little longer and loose, as opposed to Daisy Dukes.  And let's face it, no one looks good in hot pants anyway.  

I'm super excited to try out a couple outfits, although I'm sure Ryan is going to make all kinds of fun of me.  But whateva.

So, what are your thoughts?  Am I the only one itching to release my inner six-year-old and jump on the tights bandwagon?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Restoration Hardware Hack: Framed Sheet Music

About a month ago, the Restoration Hardware Source Book arrived in my mailbox and I've been trying not to drool all over buy everything in it.  Because I'm moving in a couple months, I've been avoiding buying anything decor-related for my apartment; but when I saw this picture I realized it would be a pretty easy DIY.

A gallery wall of framed sheet music?  Lovely!  Paying $199 a pop over at RH?  I don't think so.  Being a musician, I have TONS of old sheet music laying around so lucky me.  If you're not musically-inclined, there are a ton of websites out there where you can download free sheet music, so no worries. :)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Tipping: It's Not a City in China

Before I start this post I know that some asshole is going to post an anonymous comment talking about how whiny I'm being.  And to that, I say: shut up and go somewhere else.

A Little Background:

Now, on with the show.  If you don't already know, I'm a server/bartender at a fairly upscale restaurant in my area.  I've been there for almost four years and, for the most part, I love my job.  I grew up with a single mom who was a bartender for years, and I remember seeing how difficult it was for her to support us, and now I'm finding myself in her shoes.  (Seriously, when was the last time you had to make the choice between buying groceries and paying rent?  If you've ever been there, you know how terrible that feels.)

Seriously, I didn't buy groceries for six months one time.  I lived off of leftovers from my mom's house and free meals my friend in the kitchen provided because he felt bad for me.  Oh, and peanut butter sandwiches.

August - October are notoriously slow in the restaurant industry.  My manager gives us the same spiel every year- "Save your money, turn as many tables as you can, etc."  I get it.  I have a daily budget.  I'm not an idiot.

But when I work five days a week and consistently make 10% tips, avoiding homelessness gets pretty difficult.

I'm Good at This:

Now, let me just say that I am awesome at what I do.  I'm one of four certified trainers for my job.  That means that every server we hire is trained by me.  It took me three years to work up to a bartender's position, because we only promote from within.  In my manager's words the bartenders "are the cream of the crop."  I've been employee of the month.  I'm good with people.  I'm NOT one of those jerk waitresses who doesn't give a damn about you.

I understand that your tips pay my bills.  More importantly, I generally like you (unless you're rude).  I honest-to-God want you to have a good time while I'm waiting on you.

Cutting Corners the Wrong Way:

But these last couple months I've noticed a really disturbing trend: people are still coming out to eat, still spending the same amount on their bill, and are tipping less.  Um.... what?  If you can't afford to tip, you can't afford to go out to eat!

Salary?  What's a Salary?

In case you didn't know, I DO NOT make minimum wage.  In fact, I make $2.13 an hour.  Yes, you read that right.  Two freaking bucks an hour.  AND I tip out 3% of my total sales to the bartenders/bussers/hostesses.  AND I pay taxes on those sales.

So when you come out to eat and have a $75 check, don't leave me $5!  How is anyone supposed to live off of $5?  Where I used to average $500/week, I'm now averaging less than $250.  That's over a fifty percent pay cut.  Imagine your life if your salary were cut in half, without notice.

Wednesdays are one of the busiest days of the week in my restaurant.  With my sales, I should have made around $100- $120 last night.  I made $39.  Last Sunday,  I made $18.  Eighteen.  Dollars.  I sat in my car and cried when I got off work.  

I don't know how many times in the last four years I've gotten the "Thank you so much for your service!  You were wonderful!,"  followed by a tip like the one below.  Hint: A verbal compliment (or what we in the biz like to call a "verbal tip"), while very much appreciated, DOES NOT pay my bills.

Not my finger.
This is just unacceptable.  Trust me, if I could find a full-time day job, I would.  But I'm putting myself through college, with classes during the day, so I can't.  I have rent.  I have bills.  I have a grownup life I'm trying to live and pay for. 

The "Standard":

I'm sure at some point you've heard that the tipping standard is 15 - 20%.  What exactly does that mean?  That means that 15 - 20% of the total bill is what you should leave as a tip.  Now let's get real: 20% is actually the standard these days.  Living is expensive.  I give great service, and I'm disappointed when I get a tip that's less than 20%.

I Suck at Math!  Help!:

Now, the easy way to figure out 20%: Take your total.  For an example we'll use the one from the picture above - $89.00. 

Now move the decimal to the left by one place.  That gives you $8.90; that's 10%.  

Now multiply that by two.  That gives you $17.80. 

Now go out there and start leaving 20%.  And for the love of God, if you get terrible service, TALK TO A MANAGER about it!  I've left two bad tips in my entire life, and trust me, they were warranted.  However, the problem was brought up to a manager beforehand.

If you've stuck through the rant this far, thanks.  Sometimes you need to get something off your chest before you're forced to start pouring bleach into people's sweet teas.  Totally kidding.  I don't poison people because that's illegal. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I'm Torn

Ryan and I are looking at moving in together after the new year.  Let's not even talk about how scared I am to take such a big step.

I'm SO sick of looking at Craigslist and realty websites.  I've been stalking streets with Google Maps, trying to discern if the neighborhood is "sketchy," and whether or not the house in question has a fenced back yard.

Of course, not being the most practical of people, I'm already dreaming of how I'm going to decorate our new place.  Let's keep in mind that Ryan is way more opinionated about decor than any sane man has a right to be.

So, here's my dilemma: Do I go colorful or neutral?  Because I am drawn to both!  I know, I know, keep big things like furniture neutral and then you can change it up with accessories, but who really has an extra closet for things like throw pillow covers?  Also, Ryan is drawn to what he dubs modern, while I like a mix of old and new.  So, some inspiration photos from both sides of the color argument.


Kristen F. Davis Designs

Danielle Oakey Interiors


Haute Indoor Couture

For the Love of a House

There's so much to love about all of these rooms!  I'm instantly drawn to bold colors and pattern, but neutral rooms are the ones I find myself thinking about again and again.  I also have a mild obsession for anything old.  The more falling-apart, the better.  I also have a dog who makes keeping anything clean impossible.

Help!  Where do I begin!?