Monday, March 30, 2009

Dog Day Afternoon

California is a beautiful place to be in March. Warm but not too hot. Well, maybe a little too hot. Did it really get up into the eighties this weekend? Don and I laid out for a bit in the backyard with the dogs, but I quickly got too warm and went in the house.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Lingerie Olympian

I found this fun Quiz through a fellow bloggers' website I was introduced to by a friend called Eve's Apples Lingerie Blog. The quiz measures your lingerie personality type and they got me dead on with the Lingerie Olympian:

"The Olympian is always on the go and doesn’t have time for frilly designs or needless lingerie - she wants something that looks good, practical, and that can work indoors or out on a run. She loves simplicity, with styles that flatter the body she’s been working so hard for."

Saturday, March 21, 2009

New Blog

I started a new blog called LA Cheapskate and am hoping the whole world will sign in and "follow me" so that I can feel more popular.

Credit Crisis

The Crisis of Credit Visualized from Jonathan Jarvis on Vimeo.

The best educational video I have seen in a long time. This is so good I stole it from Katy. It walks you through the steps with excellent visual aids that really boils down how the credit crisis came to be. Take ten minutes. It's worth it!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Accidental Fung Shui

Let me tell you how much I love my husband. He said something to me today that every wife longs to hear. As Sunday afternoon rolled around and I posed the question, what would you like to do with the remaining hours of our weekend? He actually came back with, "I think I'd like to continue with the cleaning." Yep, ladies. Sorry to say but the ring on his finger proves this one is taken and he is all mine! We'd already had a fairly productive weekend. Went hiking with friends, got in a good Saturday afternoon nap, did some grocery shopping, meal planning, laundry and light chores. As I headed out for my second walk with the dogs of the weekend, I even hinted lightly (in other words spelled out to him in plain English) how happy it would make me if he vacuumed the living room while I was gone which he obliged as well. So when he mentioned that he wanted to spend the rest of our Sunday afternoon cleaning the house it wasn't the first thing on my mind but I was quick to get behind him on the effort. He even went so far as to say that he would like to make an effort to be more organized and proactive about chores such as making sure we put our dirty clothes in the hamper and finding a place to put our shoes when we take them off. Actually it's nice, the cleaning part I love of course, but in general, since being laid off, you know we go through stages. And Don seems to be moving into productive stage. He's starting to have ideas brewing, creative juices flowing, and their finally starting to give birth to execution. It's exciting to be around.

So one of the major things on our to do list for creating a more clean and organized home life, was to get the office in shape. It continues to be our "dump" room. There is too much clutter in there to begin with and whenever we don't have a place for something we just throw it into the pile. We really need to go through everything in there, organize the space, store, shred, and donate items, and consolidate the necessities to eliminate the clutter. Recently I blogged about our trip to Matt and Camille's new place and how much we loved their office. We loved the fact that they had included a couch in their office. It gave it so much more of a comfortable, soft, relaxing, livable space, rather than a sterile cold cluttered office environment. Don and I have been thinking about that ever since and decided to jump on Craigslist this afternoon to see what we could find. We liked the idea of getting a sleeper sofa like Matt and Camille so that we would not only be able to relax on the couch in the office and watch Hulu on the Mac but we could also use it as a place for guests to sleep when we have family and friends in town. It was our lucky day as a nice couple had a listing just one block down from where we live now. We headed over and picked it up right away. Perfect! It was in good shape, clean, sturdy, just what the doctor ordered. We payed the bargain used price of $125, loaded it up in the truck, and headed the quarter mile trek back to our place.

Did I say perfect? More like too good to be true. Of course we had taken measurements of the office space to make sure the couch would fit in the office. But we hadn't measured the door frames. The doors in our hallway leading to the office, not to mention the tiny hallway itself, are (to borrow a phrase from my sister) something like straight out of the pages of Alice and Wonderland. Too dang small. No manner of tilting, angling, pushing, or prodding would make the couch fit through the hall into the office. It was mathematically impossible. Darn! So we just dropped some cash on a new couch, which would have been perfect for the setup we were trying to create, but no possible way to get it into the office. Our gears started turning, maybe our friends would want to trade our new larger couch for one of their smaller ones? We called Matt and Camille and made a proposal to them for a trade which they were willing to consider but like they mentioned, their couch had been a gift from family and was all torn up by the cats anyway, so initial thoughts were that it might not really be the best idea. So we pretty much gave up on that and decided to put the couch back up on Craigslist ourselves and hopefully we could at least make our money back. So we made some dinner and went about our evening. Nathan and Paige came over and we played a little game of Vegas Showdown which I won but man was it a close game. We all ended within two points of each other.

After the game, we were sitting around conversing, and about to call it an evening when we got back on the subject of the couch again. It occurred to me, that we do have a large enough living room to accommodate two couches. What if we were to move the chairs into the office and bring the new couch into the living room? It's not exactly how we had pictured it but it just might work. Don mentioned he would miss his recliner, but we would be watching more TV on the computer in the office now than we would in the living room anyway so he might actually prefer it in there. You know this just might work! So we finagled Nathan into helping us bring in the sofa and rearrange the furniture and actually ended up with a really nice living arrangement that actually accommodates more seating now for entertaining and accomplishes what we wanted in the office. There is still a lot of the "cleaning" part now to be done in the office, but now that we have a vision for how things are going to end up it's kind of exciting! I snapped a few photos but I think I'll wait until we have completed the whole project so that you can see the end result all clean and sparkly.

By the way, now that we have more overnight accommodations, anyone want to come for a visit?!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

The Beautiful, Wonderful, So Good, Very Happy Day

Yesterday was just a good day. After a couple of not so good days this week, my awesome friend Camille was the first to jump on the cheer-a-friend-up wagon and offered her fabulous company with the potential for lots of fun distracting activities. Exactly what I needed and can't think of a better person to do it with.

So Camille headed over Sunday morning and we decided to start the day with a walk to Starbucks with the dogs. It was so nice to be out and about just the two of us. I think with everything going on, I've definitely been honing in on more of my introverted side lately. We do so many activities in big groups with guys and girls that it was a rare treat to have Camille all to myself. Camille is always fun but she's really special and really shines in quiet conversation. She's such a good friend, a good listener, full of wisdom of the heart and a comforting presence. While we certainly have our own lives and things that make us different, I do feel like our paths connect in a lot of ways too so it's nice to talk to somebody who understands what you are going through and can identify with your feelings. Camille is just what the doctor ordered!

Anyway, back to our walk, it turned out to be a gorgeous day! So gorgeous in fact, that by the time we neared Bucks, we were too hot and thirsty to even think about drinking coffee so we headed across the street to Ralph's for some bottled water instead. We had a nice little break in the shade with the dogs where Cordy scored with a random french fry on the ground before I could stop her, and both dogs sniffed the same rock and cigarette butt about a hundred times expecting it to turn into food scraps. After we had quenched our thirst, we headed back to the house where the dogs passed out into happy panting zombie wieners and Camille and I quickly refreshed and changed for the second event of the day -- a trip to the Mall!

No girls' day would be complete without a little bit of shopping, and though we are on a tight budget right now, I still had a Macy's gift card from Christmas burning a whole in my pocket. So we went right to the heart of retail therapy and shopped for shoes. Now Camille is a master at finding sales and she headed straight to the clearance rack. After digging through insanity for twenty minutes, she managed to find an adorable pair of red leather ballet style flats with cute little bow accessories. But the most amazing part is that they had originally been priced at $200, marked down to $100, 40% off of that at $60 and then she had a $40 gift card so ended up getting a $200 pair of shoes for $20! 90% off, not bad at all!

I parroused the sale racks too but didn't find anything that spoke to me. Besides I was on a mission for a specific wardrobe item - work shoes. My criteria - basic pump, 2 inch heal or less, doesn't slip off the heal when you are wearing nylons, and some level of comfort. So after searching the store, I narrowed my selection down to three options. 1. A basic black pointy toe pump, nothing two exciting but versatile and comfortable. 2. An adorable black peek toe pump with patterned detail by the toe. The cutest and sexiest of the three but unfortunately could not be worn with nylons. 3. A super fun and classy metallicky shiny pump, with black heal from Calvin Klein. Well, it was an interesting moment, being surrounded by three pairs of cute shoes all which would have added an interesting and unique function to my wardrobe. I told Camille that I missed being made of money because before I would have just bought all three pairs right then and be done with shoe shopping for a year or two. But here I was having to choose and would I make the right choice? After careful thought and consideration, I was forced to eliminate my favorite pair, the patterned peak toe, since they didn't fit the purpose they were supposed to serve. In the end I chose the metallic Calvin Kleins. The black pumps just weren't exciting enough and it's hard to describe the color of my CK's but their kind of a silvery taupe that changes colors depending on what you wear so I can wear them with just about anything. If I wear them with black they pop a silver reflection, but if I wear them with brown they sheen kind of a copper gold. Total purchase rang in at just about $97.50 leaving me $2.50 to spare on my gift card. I have to say I feel rather successful and proud of my purchase. I definitely think I made the right decision and will get the most use and enjoyment out of my new shoes.

We dined in style at the food court. I had my favorite Crepe from Crepe Express - The Bon Appetite. It has shredded chicken, potatoes, mushrooms, swish cheese, and the best part, this amazing dijon creme sauce with some greens on the side. Yummmmmm. Camille snagged herself an amazing plate of fresh soft tacos from La Salsa. After we had finished our shopping then we headed back to our first attempted destination, from the safety and airconditioning of our car - Starbucks. Camille treated us to a couple of iced lattes with her gift card (apologizing to me in advance for subjecting me to Camille on Caffiene). It was the perfect culmination of our girls' outing.

But the day was not yet finished. When we got back to my house Camille checked in with Matt who had the car and learned that he had just spent an hour sitting in traffic. So we determined that since she needed a ride anyway, this would be the perfect opportunity to see their brand new appartment. All I can say is cute! They have a sweet old style kitchen with antique oven. Fun open floor plan betwen the dining room and kitchen and closets and storage I could only wish for. Their home office is just starting to come together and I'm so jealous! They have found a place for their nice plush sleeper sofa in the office which just looks so inviting and relaxing and now I wish more than anything that we could fit a sofa in our office! I can only imagine the quiet creativity that could take place there, spending hours reading books, sipping coffee, snipping recipes out of magazines. I'm totally digging the space! But the best part of their new place isn't even the appartment, it's the neighborhood itself. As much as we love our friends, and we love the dearly, we used to dread going to visit because they lived in a huge multi story multi unit complex with no parking in a neighborhood that never felt very safe. Now they are in an adorable quiet residential neighborhood in a small complex with 6 or 7 units and tons of street parking. It's so peaceful and relaxing!

When we got there after we had taken the tour, Camille and I decided to go explore a bit of the neighborhood while Matt and Don played some video games. So we went for a short drive and checked out the local library, a park and some historic sites, and tons and tons of huge expensive million dollar homes up in the hills. It's such a neat area to explore. We decided I would just have to bring the dogs over sometime so we can walk the neighborhood together. After our drive we went back and touched base with our friends Ben and Corrie who are in town for a seminar. They were going to head over and meat us for dinner so we decided to pop in the pilot episode of Big Love which they had just received on Netflix to kill some time. We didn't make it the whole way through episode before our friends arrived but enough to get me hooked already. You can bet we'll be queueing that series up here shortly!

We finished the evening with a walk to Zankou Chicken for dinner which is kind of a high quality Armenian Fast Food joint but it's also combined at this location with a coffee shop and has a really nice and comfortable layout. So we had a fun cheap meal, catching up with friends. It ended up being a pretty long day for Don who is still getting over the plague so we headed home pretty quickly after dinner and went straight to bed and caught up on a couple of episodes of Battlestar and Dollhouse. Still not sure what to make of the new show Dollhouse, but we'll keep watching and see how it goes.

A good day.