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Posts Tagged ‘Apartment’

YAY!

We finally got the base cabinet we needed for the kitchen, cut the countertop and secured it in place. While we don’t have miles of countertop in our kitchen it certainly FEELS like we do.

Just having everything on something that’s supposed to be a cabinet is fulfilling.

Sorry I’ve been lax on pictures lately. Everything has been nothing short of hectic between planning a wedding, getting our kitchen (and the rest of our apartment) together and I’m finally making an effort to go back to the gym. Go me!

I started Weight Watchers on Thursday of last week and since then I’ve lost 6.5 lbs. I’m being honest with myself and I really think it’s mostly water weight loss, but it’s better than nothing and frankly at this stage of it I’ll take what I can get – anything to keep me motivated.

My goal is 140 lbs. That’s right in the middle of the healthy weight area for my height and because I have broader shoulders and hips I think that will work well for me. (I’d be slender without looking anorexic)

This morning I weighed myself at 188.5. That’s 48.5 lbs to go – too bad that I probably won’t continue to lose 6 lbs per week! That would make this incredibly easy.

I’m figuring this is what is going to happen:

I’ll lose weight up to 175 fairly easily – probably before the handfasting this September.

175-165 will take probably 2 months.

165-155 will probably take another 2 months.

At that point I’m not sure what I’ll do once I break the 150 mark. That’s a place I haven’t been since college – freshman year of college at that. I can say it will definitely be surreal.

The food on the Weight Watchers plan is actually pretty good. I enjoy cooking and since I’ve been in a cooking rut the last few months this has been helpful.  The portion sizes are a lot smaller than what I’d normally make, but I think so long as I really stick to them (and be okay with not being stuffed full) I’ll be fine.

The last week I’ve been making some pretty tasty meals including:

Tortellini vegetable salad

Asparagus, new potato and chive fritatta

Apple braised chicken – one of my FAVORITES (then again I love to braise anything)

Beef-vegetable pie (which if I brown the beef on the stovetop instead of cooking in the oven it will end up better I think)

Creamy curry pasta primavera – VERY tasty as well

and Wednesday I’m making Grilled ham steak with nectarine salsa

Doesn’t that sound tasty?

For next week I have most of my list prepared:

Chicken tortellini soup

Asian Noodle-Peanut salad

Beef, blue cheese and spinach quesadillas w/ Tex-Mex rice and bean casserole

Tofu and snow pea stir fry

Dijon Pork Cutlets

Baked Mac and cheese w/ broccoli

Japanese noodles w/ garlic toasted tofu

Huevos Rancheros

Cincinnati Chicken chili (one of my favorites kinds of chili!)

So far Garry has really liked the food. I’ve asked him to go on the diet with me, well not really “with” me, but not to buy junk food and bring it in the house or leave wrappers in the car. He can eat whatever he feels for lunch (although I’m nudging him to eat reasonably healthy lunches) but for dinner he’ll eat what I cook and in the portion I give him (and NOT complain that the portion is too small – that’s key).

What will be nice is when he will learn to cook that way too. Whenever he cooks the portions are ENORMOUS (at least double) and again, no surprise that we are where we are. He’s gained some weight since moving home a year ago and I’d like to see him lose some weight as well.

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Cabinet!

There was a moment of YAY on Tuesday when we went to Lowes and purchased our brand-new kitchen base cabinet!

I’ve been waiting for MONTHS to accomplish more with our kitchen and I”m hoping Garry will be so kind as to put the countertop on the cabinet for me so it can be fully functional by the weekend. 

Having this cabinet opens up more space in my office which will allow for actually finishing my office! YAY!

With having to tackle that task on the horizon I’ve been thinking more about the color scheme and designing silliness I’m going to do in there. The carpet is a blue commercial berber kind of deal and I’d like to keep everything flowing nicely through the space. The kitchen has light blue, brown, tan and cream – so I’m thinking of painting the walls tan. I know, sounds boring, but with white molding, white futon (faux leather) and two-tone espresso and white desk and night stand (a few throw pillows here and there and some artwork) – I think it will look awesome!

But more exciting right now is finishing the kitchen – or at least getting it to one more level of functional. We’re hoping that after the cabinet is installed we can start working on fixing some of the walls and painting. I think we’ll only be able to get one wall done until we start replacing our wall cabinets however, but it’s a start!

FYI – our cabinets are just plain unfinished oak and our countertops are just the pre-cut (you size it yourself) pieces at Lowes. So far we have our sink cabinet in and it looks awesome! (Although I’m thinking it needs one more coat of stain and definitely some poly – which we neglected to do during the winter – oops!) and our flooring still looks pretty good. We’ve definitely learned some important lessons about renovating so far (like take your time and do it right the first time).

Although there is one small, teensy-weensy problem. Our cabinet doesn’t have a shelf – meaning we’ll have to put one in there (Augh!) at some point. However, for the most part the cabinet will house our larger appliances (mixer, blender and some of the larger pots and pans) so we might not need a shelf afterall. After that is figured out (and we get some more moola) we’ll get to fixing the walls and installing the wall cabinets (that will be fun).

Right now our kitchen still looks like it’s from the ghetto, but in about 2 months time it will look infinitely better I think.

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It looks like this will be the month I finally get to have a fully-functional big-girl kitchen! YAY!

Victory is mine!

(Sorry, that’s my favorite “I’ve accomplished something” music – it’s from Final Fantasy VII)

It looks like maybe in a few weeks we’ll finally be able to get the kitchen counter we so very desperately need. There are also some slight cosmetic issues that need to be taken care of as well – we have most of the stuff to take care of that already – and possibly we’ll get the upper cabinets done too.  I could be looking at a whole new kitchen by my birthday! 😀

I’m a little over-excited about this to say the least.

Until then though – we’re sticking to our regularly scheduled budget/plans and unfortunately that is mostly a lot of very uninspired meals. I know this blog has really gone downhill since I stopped cooking loads of really awesome food.

However, mostly it’s because Garry and I are engaged and we’re planning our wedding for next year! (you can read my blog on our wedding here) So I’ve been preoccupied with making sure we have money to cover the costs that need to be covered and all that stuff.

This weekend is 4th of July which is the 2nd most-holy-grilling-day (next to Memorial Day weekend). Much to everyone’s surprise – we don’t own a grill. Luckily a friend of mine is willing to let us borrow hers for our Crazy Lady Night next week where I’m hosting it for the second time. We’re having an Americana-themed party (I love themed parties) and it should be a good time. Although – outside of hotdogs and hamburgers (and of course – spiedies!) I’m not too familiar with grilled recipes – so does anyone out there want to share their most glorious grill recipes with me? (FYI – I’m allergic to anything that lives in the water and mushrooms)

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Home Safety

Garry and I fortunate enough to live in a relatively nice neighborhood. Unfortunately, sometimes bad things happen in good neighborhoods.

Yesterday apparently some guy was walking around the property of our apartment building. Garry asked the guy if he could help him, he replied “No.”

A little suspicious, Garry said “I’m the property manager, is there something  I can do?”

The guy said “No” again and walked off at a quick pace behind the house and to the house behind ours.

Garry followed him a little ways, saw the guy dart across the yard and then back up the side of our house. The man got in a truck and Garry wrote down the license plate #.

Weird.

So Garry is really nervous that someone is going to try and break into our apartment building. We’ve started taking more advanced precautions, which even if there’s nothing to worry about – it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Things like renter’s insurance is really important to have. If someone breaks in (or if there’s a fire, water damage or anything of the sort) your belongings are covered. Chances are, if someone breaks in they’re going to go for things like tv’s, game systems, computers and jewelry. More than likely they won’t go for your book collections or photo albums.  We signed up with the same company the car is insured with so that gives us piece of mind.

Another thing to do is to have your pets microchipped. I’m not entirely sure on the cost (I don’t think it’s more than $30), but you take your pet to the vet’s office, they’ll inject the microchip into the skin between their shoulder blades. You fill out the information and the vet enters it into a national database. This way, if your pet is ever lost and ends up at an animal shelter or vet’s office, you will be contacted immediately. Most places will have a scanner that picks up the information on the microchip (your name, address and phone number) so they can contact you.

Safe deposit boxes are great for items (like birth certificates, deeds, SS cards and passports) that are difficult – or impossible – to replace. Personally, I keep a copy of my birth certificate at my home, my mother has mine in a safe deposit box in Florida. Luckily, the hospital where I was born is pretty good about printing new copies for you if need be.

A home safe is something I have mixed feelings about. If you bolt it to the floor that’s one thing (a theif can’t run off with all your valuables) – and if there is a fire, flood or some kind of disaster, your valuables will be safe. (ie, heirloom jewelry from 3 generations ago, family photos – also from over 3 generations ago… etc) In this instance I would keep the original photos in the safe and have copies printed (it’s really cheap to do now) to put in the house. That way you never have to worry about losing those photos forever.

A dog is another good home protection measure – that is, if you’re a dog person and would be so inclined to own a dog anyway. I get a little annoyed when people say “I got a dog to protect my house” instead of “we got a dog, he’s part of our family and also happens to be a good watch dog.”

I can say that by taking these precautions I feel a lot safter in my home.

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Driving Ms. Crazy

Yesterday was an odd day of sorts. It started out normal enough at the office and at the radio station – then I trotted off to Joann Fabrics to buy pillow forms (I got three sizeable pillow forms for about $15!) and look at fabric for the plethora of projects I have on the table. After looking through everything I realized that it’s probably cheaper for me to purchase a lot of the clothing we were going to make for Faery Fest. That and I couldn’t find the kind of fabric I was looking for.

So when Garry gets home we’ll hop online and order some pants for him. I can make the vests without too much trouble I think because I have some stuff for them already – which of course, makes my life infinitely easier.

I’m also thinking that I’m going to forgo making a dress for the Masquerade Ball. I’ll look at Dress Barn and see if they have anything – if not than I’ll wear my black dress I wore last year. It’s not like I get to wear it all the time. I’ve worn it twice.

So really, it would be wings and the vests I’ll be making. Considering the long laundry list of items I was going to drive myself crazywith make, I think I’ve pared it down considerably and thus saving a sliver of my sanity.

The living room is painted as well. Tonight I’m just going to do some touch up and then finally move the furniture back where it belongs and get the things back on the wall that need to be there. I also need to throw my fabric for the pillow covers in the wash and I can start on the one pillow form that the fabric does NOT need washing. It’s a variation on this pillow from Rockett St. George:

I really like this pillow – the letters are made up of different colored buttons – which I really like the texture of. Mine will be a little different than this one – it’ll be all white buttons on tan fabric and the buttons are all different sizes. I’m not sure how this is going to work out really – but I think it might be nice. My pillow is also square and much smaller than this one (I think I got the 16×16 for this project) we’ll see. It might be like the Philadelphia LOVE sculpture after I plan it out. Either way – I’ll post pictures.

Tomorrow – if the weather cooperates – I’ll start working on my endtables and other things that need spray paint. I figured that latex paint is a little too thick for what I want it to look like so black spray paint will work – not only is it quicker than regular paint (gotta love instant gratification!) but it’s much cheaper too.

Oh, so going on with my day yesterday…

Garry called me at work (not an unusual thing) and at first his voice sounded like something really bad happened – which of course made me a little anxious. Well, nothing was wrong – actually he had good news! He was approved for a sizeable credit limit at Kay Jewlers! So I’m guessing the plan is that he’ll drive up to Rochester and get it all done and taken care of on the 12th.

Now a new problem is errupting. While he has a credit limit to do something superfantastic for an engagement ring – there’s practicality we have to keep in mind. First of all, I don’t really wear much in the way of jewelry. Really, I have a pair of pearl stud earrings that I wear quite a bit, but other than that I only really have a few pieces – and I’m perfectly fine with that. I’m not a *bling* kind of girl – Amanda… well she is – at least more so than I am.

My friend Amanda is also getting the commission from this ring – and she’s my best friend and I love her dearly, but I do feel that she’s going to try to push us into spending more money than we really want to spend. To be perfectly honest, I don’t want something really flashy with tons of diamonds. I bought the stone (a sapphire) because it was beautiful on it’s own – not because it needed other stones to accent it. Okay, I mean maybe some channel set smaller diamonds would be okay, but I don’t want “side stones” I just think it looks distracting. When she mentioned to me that she wanted us to get our bands done at the same time – well sure it would be good to get them done and out of the way (one last thing to worry about right?) but I have my heart set on a paticular kind of band and I’m not sure if it’s something her store can do. If they can then fine, but I don’t want anything with tons of (or really any) diamonds. I just want a simple posey band and it is important to me that Garry’s and mine match. Is that really so wrong?

I’ll be honest, I’m a little nervous sending Garry on his own without me, but then again after we go and look at what we want to look at and I decide what I like and don’t like, I know he’ll make a good choice and I hope not go crazy and spend every last cent of the credit limit. I know he can be firm and say that “this is what I want” and not be swayed into something that might be a little too “much.” I tried to explain that yesterday to her, but I don’t think it really sunk in. I like simple things. I don’t need a lot of glitz and glamor like I used to. I work with my hands a LOT (and so does Garry) so something that’s bulky and just out there is just not really a good idea.

It’ll be fine though – and I’m sure when we go shopping and collectively figure something out it will be beautiful and I will be 100% happy with it. That’s the point isn’t it?

So going back to my shopping trip at Joann’s (sorry this is so disjointed) I figured that as long as I’m there I should look at the bridal fabric. And you know what? I found some gorgeous polyester shantung at $10 a yard! I know! AND if I went in there with a coupon I could save a LOT of money on fabric. The shantung is great because it looks raw… it’s not super shiny and blingy. It’s natural looking (eventhough it’s polyester – I don’t think I can afford raw silk) and if I can hire a seamstress to make it I think I’ll make out better in the end. I don’t want anything super complicated either. I’m thinking just an a-line or trumpet strapless dress. Maybe some beadwork… or maybe just some lace overtop the bodice and have a long satin sash (okay so a little shiny) with a little beadwork or embroidery. This is the pattern I think that will work for me:

Only no bow, and the sash would be floor length. What would be OMG soooooooo awesome if I can do this – is have tone on tone embroidery of each of our famly’s coat of arms on the showing side of the sash at the bottom on the widest part. THAT would rock my friends!

To be perfectly honest, I could probably make this dress myself. I might make a test for myself for the handfasting out of a broadcloth or jersey or something like that (you know that I could hem later and wear to work) – but we’ll see. Although that’s a NEW level of crazy I’d be bringing upon myself. Yeah, that’s fun. Again, if I can’t make it difficult it’s not worth doing.

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One of things I’ve learned about myself is that I am not happy unless I have some project that I can make more difficult than it needs to be. Right now I have about 3 or 4.

First and foremost is repainting the living room and dining room. The dining room has a coat on and I need to touch it up in some spots. The living room needs to be primed first and then painted. THEN I get to get some of the stripping agent and get all the old crusted and chipping paint off of the window sills and repaint it.

After that is done I have decided I’m going to stain the end tables, dining room table and chairs and buffet – black. Most of my friends were kind of upset with me that I wanted to restain them, but honestly I think it will look really nice with the sage green walls, white molding and dark brown floors.

That will take me through the weekend no doubt.

So then what? Well then we move into the kitchen where I have to wait until we have an extra $300 or so and I can buy a base cabinet and some counter top so we can start to finish the kitchen. It won’t be really finished until we get new wall cabinets, but at least with the base cabinet I can get the boxes of crap we have in my office out of there and into a cabinet.

Aside from that – there are all sorts of little projects that Garry needs to take care of like finishing the cap on the shower wall, install a chair rail in our bedroom, and put in the thresholds around the kitchen. There is also the ever-lingering issue with the door jams (which I’d just like to replace ALL of the door jams and level them out properly) and get all the doorways fitted for new doors. We also need the back door replaced entirely.

There are some cleaning things that need my attention – both the front door and the door to the patio are pretty grimey and I’ll need to make a date with the Goof-off to get the majority of it off (baking soda can only go so far I think).

Once I can get my office cleaned out completely and everything in it’s place – it’s back to purchasing other things we need – larger bookcases, a desk and chair for me and a futon for when company comes over. At some point in there I’m going to fix the walls in my office and repaint it. I still have no idea what color yet – I’m still working on that. I’m leaning toward a mocha or deep tan color.

Then there is the multitude of finishing things like curtain rods, drapes, area rugs and artwork.  At some point I’m going to have Garry build a little cubby for the washing machine in the dining room which will serve as a nice tall stand for… oh probably a vase of flowers or a sculpture of some sort. I’d really like a hutch to put all my nice china in, but well, good luck with that any time soon – that’s dead LAST on the priorty list.

While working on everything in the apartment – I’m also working on new costumes for Garry and I for Faery Fest. This year I’m going to make life easy for myself and purchase a dress to wear. If I could pull it off – I’d purchase my dress for the Masquerade Ball as well, however it looks like it will be cheaper to make it myself (I’m just going to make a simple strapless dress out of broadcloth, sew some beads on and add a satin sash that I’ll decorate. I don’t think it will be *that* difficult to be honest.

THEN I have the planning of my handfasting looming over my head. Looming in the sense that it’s all self-inflicted and that it’s not even really “looming”. The big difference between Garry and I is that he is a very spontaneous person. He thinks 3 months is enough time to plan a handfasting. Um, maybe for him, but certainly not for me. I like a whole year. Why? Well of course to make it much more complicated than it needs to be of course! Well, that and so we don’t go into debt trying to pull it off. Considering all the major projects we have going on – I’ll have to save some pennies to pull of something next summer. Oh, did I mention that I’m having a handfasting and a wedding? Yep, I really am crazy.

Of course, all of this is before we’re even “officially” engaged. We’re going ring shopping on Monday and I think he’s going to go to Rochester to visit my friend Amanda who works at a Kays Jeweler so she can actually do the mounting and get the commission – you know, because she’s going to need the money to get back to Binghamton every so often to help me with things and keep my sanity in check throughout this whole process. As far as the handfasting – it will be relatively simple. To be honest, I could probably pull one off for August (if I knew about it now). I even have a ceremony idea started. I don’t even need elaborate table settings – just a vase of flowers on each table and some votives – nothing fancy. We won’t end up having a lot of people for that ritual anyway – probably around 30 – 40 people.  BUT STILL it’s still a lot of work and for some reason unbeknowst to me, I’ve been driving myself absolutely BONKERS over it for the last few days.

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Fail

My stomach is still not wanting to function properly. Sometimes it will, sometimes not… still not really sure what’s going on in there. It doesn’t seem to be one particular “thing” I’m eating or anything… hmm…

Well this weekend was very productive. Like I predicted, Garry did wait until the 11th hour to get everything done that I wanted him to do before his trip. So him and our friend Jeremy finished the base molding in the apartment (except for one stupid piece that they forgot) and got all of the junk off of the balcony! YAY! We’re so close to being able to get tables & chairs out there and have Happy Hour out there!

I put my headboard/footboard for sale on Craigslist (I’m hoping it sells soon!) and yesterday I got a LOT accomplished in just a few short hours. I cleaned the bathroom, did 3 loads of laundry, vacuumed…

I’ll admit, I got a little upset that Garry was going to go over to his other group of friends’ house right before going out of town for a week. Maybe it’s because I’m just that needy, but I didn’t like that he was going to go play games with his friends all day, come home around midnight and then leave the next day for a week.

So he went and did some yardwork for a friend of his while I stayed home and accomplished all of the stuff I did. And had a brownie sundae. Mmmm… it was so good!

He came back home around 4ish to spend the evening with me (after I “alledgedly” guilt tripped him into not going to his friend’s house to play games). We took a walk around our neighborhood since it was such a nice evening and there are TONS of houses for sale where we live. We can’t afford any of them, but it was interesting to look. We were going to print out a bunch of pictures from Beltane and start our own scrapbook (which surprisingly he didn’t think was too girlie for him – heh, he’s never scrapbooked with me before) but we never got around to it. (So all of my scrapbook stuff is STREWN across the table in the dining room – which needs to all be packed away again)

Since Garry won’t be home for a week  I have a lot of projects in mind. First and foremost, I’m repainting the living room and dining room. (I know, I’m nuts) and then – if I have time – I’m going to restain the end tables, buffet, and the dining room chairs and table. I have a feeling I’ll get the living room painted and possibly the end tables stripped and stained before Garry gets home. Everything else will have to wait I guess.

I’m planning on purchasing an art print to hang in the living room in an antique frame I have. Maybe some sconces would be nice to flank it.  There’s another print I want to put in the living room too – we’ll see if that works out. The dining room will need a little more work, curtain rods, curtains, chair pads, table runner, new light fixture and – of course – artwork.

I’m really liking Alphonse Mucha. He’s been a favorite artist of mine for a while now and his work is so… decadent. Might be a while before we get the artwork unfortunately.

I stripped the fabric off of an old chair and I’m going to use it to make throw pillows. And OMG pillow forms are on SALE 50% off at Joann’s this week!  *Squee!*

Tonight my plan is to get the baseboard taped so I can paint on Wednesday (or tomorrw if I skip my Crazy Lady Night) and get those pillows sewn. I don’t think I have the stamina to clear the dining room, tape and then paint all in one evening and all by myself. Okay, maybe I am that crazy to try, but we’ll see how it goes – if I at least get the tape down and everything ready I’ll be thrilled. Besides I have to paint the living room too. Ideally I’d do it all at once, but chances are good I’ll only do one room at a time.

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