Friday, October 29, 2010

Call Me Judgemental...

...but when a guy tells me he doesn't eat carbs I think of him as less masculine.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Natural Solution for Teething

It feels totally weird to offer a child care tip for Works for me Wednesday considering I don't have any kids, but I thought of this idea when my eleven month old niece was visiting a couple of weeks ago.

Her mom forgot to bring her teething ring, but I wanted her to have some relief for her sore little gums. My quick, easy, free solution was to simply freeze some water in popsicle molds and then give them to her. Because it was a whole popsicle, it didn't present a choking hazard (we were supervising her though) and because it was just water it didn't stain anything as it melted (an important factor in my non-childproofed home.)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Chatty Strangers and Other Random Things

1. I ate lunch at Dupont Circle today and a man came up and hit on me. It was glorious. I can't tell you the last time someone hit on me. He also couldn't believe I was 31. He was a big time boost to my ego. (Don't worry. I told him I was married. He took off not long after that.)

2. A couple of LDS missionaries also approached me at lunch today. Here's the thing: I don't know how to make it clear to them that I don't want to hear their pitch while at the same time being polite. I get that they're passionate their religion and they think they're being helpful by sharing it with me but I'm totally not interested. I have some LDS friends, for whom I have tremendous respect, so perhaps that's why I'm not good with setting my boundaries, but I've researched their religion and it's not for me. I respect their beliefs but I think they should respect my beliefs too, by not making me listen to their spiel. Tell me what to say to them next time so they don't waste five minutes and one of their pamphlets on me.

3. After my suitor and the missionaries, I got approached by a lady offering to do a tarot card reading for me for $1. I must have had an "APPROACH ME STRANGERS" sign on my back today.

4. Yesterday, a flea jumped on my forehead while I was on the bus. It was both gross and confusing. Since when do fleas ride the bus?

5. Last night, I had an idea about upcycling an old cookie container into a planter and Chuk (jokingly) called me a hoarder. I love that show, by the way.

6. I still haven't bought plane tickets to California for Thanksgiving yet. It's making me nervous. It's probably going to cost me a fortune now.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Things that Suck

1. Getting up while it's still dark outside. (Soon it's not only going to be dark when I get up, but also dark when I leave work and that's THE WORST.)

2. Headaches.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Chuk was away this weekend helping his dad move. I spent all day Saturday (and most of the day Sunday) in my pajamas. It was awesome. I watched tv, got a little caught up on blogs, read, and played Facebook games.

Pajama parties for one? Yes please!

Monday, October 18, 2010


Today's my birthday. I'm in Chicago.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Cheap Autumn Decor

I used to budget about $10/week on flowers for the table. I've cut that back significantly as we've tightened our belts, but I still want to have something pretty to look at while I eat (besides Chuk).

I bought a bunch of gourds and mini pumpkins at the farmers' market and grocery store. They were 3 for $2. I threw them in a jar I already had and voila...decor that will last me through October and November for less than $10.

P.S. It looks better in person. I had to turn on the hideous overhead light which made the colors look weird, but you get the gist.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Creating More Storage Under the Sink

The petal on our garbage can broke. Chuk tried to fix it, but couldn't. To buy another garbage can like it would cost $40. I decided to make due with what I had instead: an open trash can that I used for recycling when we had parties. It would have to go under the kitchen sink, but there wasn't any room.

Before. Blah.

Five minutes of organization later, I was able to fit the can under the sink. All it took was moving the garbage bags to the utility closet and straightening everything else up.

I think what really made this such an easy job was that I use plate shelves to organize under all my sinks. It is such a simple solution that allows me to take advantage of the vertical space under the sink. My plate shelves are just cheap ones from Ikea, but they work wonderfully.

After. Awesome.

I know it doesn't look like the Container Store, but 99% of the time it's only me or Chuk who see it. Besides, I'm ok with function taking precedence over beauty under my kitchen sink. Now I have a neat, functional space that cost $0 (my favorite price) and 5 minutes.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

There Are Two Types of People in the World, Part 3

Those who wear thongs and those who don't.

For me, I've tried it and decided it wasn't worth it, but I have friends who swear that for them, thongs are more comfortable than, shall we say, fuller types of underwear.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Columbus Day

I celebrated Columbus Day by sailing the high seas.

(By "sailing" I mean kayaking and by "high seas" I mean the Potomac river.)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Best Saturday Ever

A morning spent at the farmers' market.

An afternoon picnic in the most perfect weather imaginable.

Then a couple of games of bocce ball with friends. (If you live in the DC metro area, I think Garfield Park is one of the best around. It has lots of grassy areas, picnic tables, tennis courts, a volleyball court, a horseshoe pit, two bocce courts, a skateboard park and two playgrounds.

In the evening, I got to meet a friend's sweet new baby. He's not yet three weeks.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Let's Make a Deal

Years ago, my brother got me an as seen on tv Ronco Food Dehydrator. While the infomercial is one of my all-time favorites, I have no actual need for a food dehydrator and have never used it.
It's just taking up space in my pantry (I don't like small appliances out on the counter) when someone else could be making good use of it.

While I don't want a dehydrator what I do want is to read The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. I've been on the library's waiting list for months and frankly, I'm tired of waiting.

What I propose is a trade. I'll send you my brand new food dehydrator and you send me your used copies of the Steig Larsson books. To make the trade even sweeter, I promise I'll mail the books back to you once I finish them but you can keep the dehydrator.

Sound like a deal? Anyone?

Friday, October 8, 2010

There Are Two Types of People in the World, Part 2

Those who like cilantro, and those who don't.

Where do you stand on this hot button issue?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

There Are Two Types of People in the World, Part 1

Those who like exercise and get a "high" or "rush" from it, and those who don't.

(I don't.)

Monday, October 4, 2010

My Hair (and Other Deep Thoughts)

My hair has been doing this weird thing lately whenever I put it in a ponytail. It kind of bugs me, but not enough to start actually styling it rather than just throwing it into a messy ponytail. Also, even though ponytails have been my default “do” for 30 years, they have recently started to give me headaches. Does this happen to anyone else?

In other important hair news, I’ve finally decided to acknowledge that my hair looks about a thousand times better when I blow dry it rather than let it air dry. But, oh it feels like such a hassle to blow dry it! I really must be the laziest person on earth.

Deciding whether or not to blow dry brings up a larger issue that I struggle with though. Should I put time, energy and effort into my appearance knowing that it reflects upon how other perceive me, or should I put more time, energy and effort into other endeavors because I believe that it’s what’s on the inside that counts.

As I’m getting older there seems to be less and less middle ground to this question. I want to look nice, but not really enough to work at it. This is a slippery slope because as I get older, it takes more work to look good.

I feel okay about aging; in fact, I’m probably more comfortable with it now than I ever have been, but I have also noticed that I’m getting to the age where people are making more assumptions about me on the basis of how I look, and I’m not okay with that. I still want to be perceived as competent, pulled-together, responsible, and, if I’m being 100% honest, attractive.

It’s difficult to admit that in reality, my life and lifestyle have changed. I am no longer a rising young professional, dating and going out on the town. I am a chronically under-employed wife whose husband prefers me to look “relaxed”.

I don’t have resolution to any of these thoughts. I just wish concealer wouldn’t cake into the wrinkles under my eyes and that my hair wasn’t so frizzy all the darn time.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

In Laws in the House

My father-in-law, sister-in-law, and niece are staying with us this weekend. Lord, beer me strength.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Are You Freaking Kidding Me: Cheese Edition

Last night, after I had gone to bed, my husband ate 2/3 of a wheel of brie. I don't even know how to respond to it.

"Dude, do you know how much brie costs?"

"Do you realize how much saturated fat is in cheese? It was nice knowing you."

"Were you actually hungry, or just bored?"

I'll probably just let it slide though. Living with other people never gets less weird.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Are You Freaking Kidding Me: Library Edition

To access my local public library online, even just to browse the library's collection, I need to enter my fourteen digit library card number and a four digit PIN. That means if my wallet got stolen, it would be as hard for the thief to get into my library account as my bank account.

This level of security seems unnecessary. Who do they think is going to break into my library account? As if anyone besides me cares how many people are in front of me to get The Girl Who Played With Fire.

The library doesn't even let me pick my PIN. That means I have to remember a total of 18 numbers just to see if my branch has a copy of Never Let Me Go. Ridiculous.

Have you read any good books lately?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

And the Winner Is...

...Lucky number 3 Taryn. (Chosen at

Thanks for everbody's patience. It's been one of those weeks and I haven't had a moment to blog. I plan on spending the weekend catching up on reading your blogs, catching up with my DVR, napping, and hopefully getting ahead on my blog.

What are your plans for the weekend?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Remembering My Dad

Today would’ve been my dad’s 63rd birthday. He died almost three years ago, but I’ve been crying for the last two days anyway. I’m going to bake him a birthday cake and tell you a story about him because I’m thinking about him.

My parents had three kids, including me, and we are all very close in age. When it was about time to teach us how to read my dad tried to persuade my mom that they should teach us to read using a mirror so we would only be able to read in the reverse.

Thankfully my mom did not allow him to do this, but he always defended his idea. I would ask him, “What would we have done in school?” He said we would just bring a mirror to school and he would tell the teacher, “Yeah, they know how to read, but they only know how to do it backwards.” He insisted that as long as we were providing our own mirrors it wouldn’t be a big deal.

I would ask him where he got this crazy idea and why did he even want to do it and he always said, “What’s the point of having kids if you can’t experiment on them?”

What a weirdo! He also used to crack my toes and sing at full volume to the background music in the grocery store and tickle me until I couldn’t breathe. He was my weirdo.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Daily Decluttering


I'm still working on decluttering and reorganizing my apartment. I'm taking on smaller projects than I was before, but the satisfaction of completing a small project keeps me more motivated to keep going than getting stuck in the middle of a big decluttering project.

Above you see a corner of a shelf in the master closet. Two crates were filled with Chuk's and my belongings. I took them both down and got rid of everything that was mine except for a photo album from my first trip abroad when I was 15 years old and my diary from elementary & middle school (which is both hilarious and humiliating). Both of these went on a bookcase in another room, which I've already cleared out.

When Chuk got home from work I politely asked him to review the items that were left in the bins. As a matter of respect, I don't get rid of his stuff. Turns out I didn't need to. He took pictures of a lot of what he had and then got rid of almost everything.


This is all that's left: a tub we occasionally use to soak our feet (is that TMI?), two crates just in case we have something we want to store later and in the bottom crate Chuk's old camera and lenses. (His camera case is green so you can't see it very well in the photo.) He's thinking about selling them, but hasn't made up his mind yet. I think he did a great job already, so I don't want to pressure him.

We have lots of extra space in our closet now and are feeling great about how much better our home is looking.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Big Giveaway

I have a $45 gift certificate to give to one lucky reader! All Modern, a CSN Store, has a fantastic selection of modern bedding, furniture, lighting, accessories, and so much more.

You know I've been lusting after new bedding lately. This would match my bedroom curtains perfectly.

Hello, Gorgeous. Do you want to come live with me?

These vases are screaming autumn to me and would transition nicely into winter too.

I seriously need this rug.

I actually use this chair as my desk chair. It is seriously comfortable.

Pretty fabulous stuff, right? Want to win? You have up to three chances.

To enter:
1. Visit the website of any of the CSN stores and leave a comment telling me what you'd get if won the gift certificate.

2. For an extra entry, become a follower of my blog and leave a separate comment telling me you are.

3. Tell readers on your blog about this giveaway, linking back to this post. Leave a separate comment for that too.

I'll pick a winner using the random number generator at 9:00 pm EST next Tuesday, September 21.

Please note, the gift certificate cannot be put towards the cost of shipping, but it's no biggie because almost everything they sell has free shipping.

Monday, September 13, 2010

French Dinner Party

Last week, my friend Rebecca sent out an email inviting our group of friends to a French dinner party at her place. The menu, direct from Julia Child, included

Asperges avec sauce creme
Poulet au porto (This was flambé!)
Gratin de pommes de terre et saucission
Tarte aux peches

The food was amazing, but the company was even better.

As a hostess gift, I embroidered a dish towel with Rebecca's name and presented it with a little plant I picked up from the grocery store for a couple of bucks. It was easy and inexpensive, but heartfelt and practical...all my favorite things in a gift.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

We Will Never Forget

This is a re-post from last year. I'm re-posting it because I want to remember that I was supposed to be in the Pentagon on September 11, 2001 and I want to acknowledge how close I was to the White House. Had the White House been hit, I probably would have been hurt.

My college roommate almost lost her NYC apartment after the World Trade Center was hit. She knew people who died. She talked about how for months her apartment smell like "dead body". She could have died too.

There seems to be more hatred and intolerance this year than last. To address that, as a person who could have lost a lot on that tragic day, I want to say:
It is not a crime to be Muslim.
In my opinion, Islam is no more responsible for 9-11 than Christianity is responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing. Evil people do evil things not because of their religion but because they are sick.

What I walked away feeling after 9-11 was a great sense of national and international fellowship and community. People pulled together and comforted and supported one another. I hope we can get back to that someday soon.

September 11, 2001 I was staying in a hostel in Washington, DC a few blocks from the White House. I had just graduated from college in June and I was planning on moving to the District (as we locals call it) so I was in town looking for an apartment.

I woke up that morning and went to the breakfast room and was eating Honey Nut Cheerios. The room was empty except for a janitor and me. A radio was on but something else seemed off. The janitor said to me, "The World Trade Center has been bombed." I said, "In New York?" He said yes. At that point, it didn't seem like a big deal. I finished my cheerios.

The rest of the morning and afternoon was a blur. I don't remember how I found out about the Pentagon. At some point the gravity of the situation hit.

I had planned on going on a hostel-organized tour of the Pentagon that morning but decided to sleep in instead.

I had borrowed my mom's cell phone for the trip and the lines were jammed all day. I knew my family would be worried and I wanted to get a hold of them. I wanted to get a hold of my college roommate too. She had just moved back to New York and I knew her apartment had a view of the World Trade Center.

That night I went to a bar in Adams Morgan with a bunch of other kids from the hostel. They were mostly British, Australian, and South African. There was a guy from Chicago there too who kept hitting on me. We talked about how strange everything felt. There were military police officers on almost every corner.

A British girl kept saying she wanted to go home. I didn't feel unsafe. I felt very connected to this group of strangers.

I went on a tour of the White House the next day. I still have never been to the Pentagon.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Happy Hour at Home: Peach Sangria

Summer may be waning in some parts of the country, but where I am, it's still hot and the grocery stores are still bursting with peaches. For my Project Runway party last month, I made a delicious (if I do say so myself) peach sangria inspired by a white peach sangria at a favorite Spanish restaurant in Chinatown; I know, ironic.

Peach Sangria

1.5 Liter bottle of white wine (I used a chardonnay.)
1 cup of brandy
1/4 cup triple sec or Cointreau
2 cups of orange juice
1 can peach nectar
1 cup of 7-up
4 cinnamon sticks
20 oz. fresh or frozen peaches (peeled and sliced)

Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher and let chill in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight. Serve in wine glasses with toothpicks so the boozy peaches can easily be retrieved from the bottom of the glass.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

I Am A Bedding Addict

I have a problem. I lust over bedding. It is my biggest spending weakness. More often than not, when I'm in a shopping mood (which, in my defense, is fairly rare) I want to buy bedding.

I'm in one of those phases now. I desperately want a new duvet for my bed. However, I have zero need for a new duvet. I'm trying to fight the lure, but it's hard. Hopefully admitting this to you will be cathartic to me. You're like my AA for bedding.

This pillow costs $90.

This pillow costs $143.

This fabric is $17.95 per yard.

Let me know if you want sources for either of the pillows or the fabric.

I should probably stop browsing, right? This could get dangerous.

Whining and Moaning

Several months ago I was buying deodorant but rather than buying my usual brand, I opted for a generic that was cheaper per stick and had a special buy one get one free deal because I didn't think there would be a big difference and I like a bargain.

Let me tell you, it sucked. The cheaper brand totally did not work as well as my usual deodorant. Even though I wasn't happy with it, I kept using it for months because I didn't want to be wasteful. Finally, this week, I ran out of the generic. I don't know that I have ever been so excited to buy deodorant before. I went right back to my old brand.

Here's the thing though: I thought I used to get the "Shower Fresh" version, but apparently I remembered incorrectly because this stuff is really strongly scented. Every time I move my arms I get a whiff of it and think "YUCK!" I might as well have B.O.

So my question to you is: Should I stick it out and use up this overly perfumed deodorant so as not to waste or let myself off the hook and get new deodorant because I've been in deodorant hell for many, many months?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Closing Bags if You're Ghetto

We use chip clips a lot at our house. We use them for pancake mix, frozen veggies, brown sugar, cereal, and, of course, chips, amongst other things. Unfortunately, because they're so well used, we don't have enough chip clips to go around at our house. I make do by simply closing bags using binder clips.

Using office supplies in the pantry makes me feel a little trashy, but not enough to actually go out and spend money buying more chip clips. Binder clips work for me.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Adding Storage in the Bathroom

After the drama of the bathroom leak that necessitated the cutting out of half the bathroom ceiling and one of the walls (not to mention the ripping up of the carpet) I never got around to re-hanging three small prints I had on that wall.

Can you see the mold?

Then I found two glass shelves on the side of the road while I was on a walk. I thought they would be perfect for the bathroom and snatched them up. I wound up only hanging one of the shelves, but because it was so narrow I was having a hard time figuring out how best to utilize it.

Then I remembered three little espresso tins I had gotten for free from the cafe next door. As luck would have it, they fit the shelf perfectly. I spray painted them silver and then, rather than using my beloved label maker, labeled them with a single vinyl letter. I think it's more discreet and looks a little more modern.

I'm really happy with the way they turned out, but I'm still trying to figure out how to style the shelf. It looks a little bare with just the tins, but I don't think candles or two of the old prints that were there before look quite right. Ideally, I'd like to see if I could get two more tins from the cafe, but I don't know if they are still giving them away.

If they're not, do you have any ideas of how to style it? I generally like a clean, uncluttered look, but I don't want it to be overly minimalist.

Your suggestions are greatly appreciated.

This post is linked to:
Show and Tell at Blue Cricket Designs
Spotlight Yourself at It's So Very Cheri
Get Your Craft On at Today's Creative Blog

Monday, September 6, 2010

Saving the Sentimental While Decluttering

I'm still working on decluttering, but I've been having a hard time letting go of sentimental items. For example, the box above housed the my wedding invitations. Obviously, I've already sent out my invitations, so I no longer need the extras, but for some reason I was having trouble recycling the leftovers.

The solution I came up with is to frame one invitation as a keepsake, which I know is not a novel idea, but because I'm such a pack rat I also attached a couple of extras (including envelopes, response cards, etc.) on the back of the of the frame with a rubber band. They're out of the way but I still have some complete sets in case that I can share with future generations, if they're interested.

Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best. Now I feel okay letting go of the rest of the invitations. Another box down, hooray.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Jessica, the kindest blogger in the whole wide web, gave me an award. I've had a lot going on, so this is the first chance I've had to thank her and fulfill the "requirement" of the reward, which is to tell you seven things about me.

7 Random Things About Me

1. I am a middle child.

2. I sleep with an eye mask in and ear plugs in every night because I'm prone to insomnia and need total sensory deprivation. Drinking Sleepytime tea while watching bad infomercials or QVC also helps me with occasional insomnia.

3. I don't know how to do a cartwheel.

4. I love club sandwiches.

5. Growing up, my mom and friends from college called me "Meggers" but my dad and friends from high school called me "Meggie Woo". My mom also called me "Muffin" a lot; I actually thought Muffin was my middle name for a long time.

6. When I lived in China, my job title was "Foreign Expert". That's seriously the best job title ever.

7. I have never seen a Woody Allen or Cohen brothers movie I liked, but I have liked every Paul Thomas Anderson movie I've ever seen.

Now, tell me something about yourself, pretty please.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Are You Freaking Kidding Me: Target

Yesterday, I went to Target and the shelves were bare. Apparently, they're trying to give the Soviet Safeway a run for its money. Awesome.