Monthly Archives: June 2012

GuyTalk: 007 373 5963

For some reason, I’ve been reminiscing of old video games lately.  So, I felt the need to mention some of my favorites.

Bonus points if you can tell me what the subject line is from.  Don’t worry, I will tell you at the end of this post.  Now let me tell you about a time before $400 gaming systems and ‘downloadable content”.   A time when if the game didn’t work, you took it out and blew on it.

These were the simple days of 2 buttons and a directional pad.   And now a standard PS3 controller has 10 buttons, a directional pad, and 2 joysticks.  I miss the days of watching Zelda from above a little 8-bit block, or thinking the fact that you could change the radio in ‘Rad Racer’ was awesome (even though it wasn’t a real band or music you’d ever heard before).

Here is what I miss…

And of course… the Answer to question at the start.

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Five Things Friday

1. My feelings of Obama aside… This has got to be the tackiest thing ever and would be regardless of what candidate is requesting this. For those of you wondering what you should get me for my upcoming birthday, this is not the answer. Stay klassy, Mr. President.

“Plus, it’s a gift that we can all appreciate—and goes a lot further than a gravy bowl.”

From the actual site itself and perhaps my favorite comment. Perhaps it is just because I live in the south, but it’s clear not everyone would appreciate that more than a gravy bowl. (And it’s a gravy boat… duh)

2. Apparently men sporting buns is a new fashion trend. Perhaps it’s from too many watchings of Mulan as a child, but I can’t really see this as very weird. However, calling it a “Man Bun” doesn’t make it any more masculine then when a girl in a tutu is sporting one.

3.

4. Before everyone gets all up in arms about OBAMA trying to put his RFID chip in us as the MARK OF THE BEAST!!!!!, do your research.

5. Tune in Sunday for a new post to continue from yesterday’s My Happiness Project post. I’m personally very excited about this series.

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The Happiness Project: Intro

 

A couple of weeks ago I read a book called “The Happiness Project”. I don’t typically read non-fiction books. I much prefer getting sucked into a fantasy world when reading. However, I ran across the concept of a happiness project and was instantly intrigued.

Gretchen Rubin, the author, has gotten a lot of flack because she happens to be wealthy and it seems that to so many people money = happiness. Amazon has numerous reviews that state she has no credibility simply because she is well off or because of how her husband’s family has made their money.  I’m not saying it’s the most well written book, but I understood and related to the heart of it and it has nothing to do with how well off you are.

I simply can’t discount her struggle because she is, compared to normal people, very well off. There are numerous celebrities who battle with drugs and addiction, who drown their sorrows in alcohol and who can’t stay out of jail or rehab because they are unable to find true happiness even if they can afford numerous million dollar houses all over the world.

The thing I really liked about Gretchen’s project and book is that she acknowledges that she doesn’t have any reason to not be happy. She isn’t depressed, she is very lucky being surrounded by her family and friends but she still finds herself unhappy. This book chronicles a year of her life where she intentionally explores way to make herself happier and to truly appreciate her life for everything she has and is blessed with.

Is this not something most people can relate to, rich or poor? I know I can. Joseph and I are extremely blessed in so many ways but I wouldn’t say I fully appreciate it. If I did, would I be so quick to anger about things that simply don’t matter? Would a more intentional path to happiness help me feel more pulled together? How would it affect my relationship with Joseph or my family? How would taking full blame and responsibility for my happiness and making true changes help me fully appreciate all of my blessings in my life or even help me be content with things out of my control? How would it affect how I look at myself? How would it affect those around me?

I would say I’m typically happy most of the time. I know how lucky I am and I know that I don’t have to suffer a lot. I’ve tried to change from the negative person I used to be to someone with a better outlook on life. But, I also know that I fall short in that a great deal.

I also know how much someone else’s attitude can have an effect on other people. Part of why I want to try this out is to make myself happier so that I can improve the lives of the people around me. When I’m around someone who is more smiley and happy, it makes me happy but at the same time, sad people bring me down. I want to lift people up by my attitude alone because it’s great and easy to catch onto.

 

One of the first points in the book is this:

To be happy, you need to consider feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right, in an atmosphere of growth.

I’m not sure I really understood this until I started to figure out exactly what I wanted to do to intentionally work on my own happiness.

I know I feel better when I exercise even though I may hate the process. I know I love having a clean house but I’m horrible at keeping it that way. I hate wasted time but even I get sucked into facebook games occasionally. I am most content when everything in my life feels like it is in balance even if it’s a busy balance.

 

If I want to intentionally work on being happier and appreciating my life more, then I need to make intentional changes in my life to better suit my goals. Gretchen uses the time frame of a month to set a new goal before moving on to another idea and I really like that frame myself. Since I turn 25 in July, I figured that was a good a time as any to take a year and focus on this project.

For the past few weeks I’ve been putting a lot of thought into what I wanted and this is what I’ve come up with, in no particular order:
Interests/Hobbies/Extra Curricular
Attitude & Positive Thinking
Body Image w/ Exercise & Diet

Marriage & Intimacy
Work Satisfaction
The House: Organization & Neatness & Decorating
Writing
Education
Budget
Relationship with Friends & Family
Spirituality
Making myself whole

More details to come!

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Work it Wednesday: Building a Bed

A week or so ago, Joseph and I bought a new and fantastic mattress. We got a tempurpedic. I don’t believe I have ever had a new mattress, and definitely not as a real adult and Joseph’s mattress had lived through several drunk nights. Our current mattress was a hand me down from a co-worker when she and her husband upgrade to a king. This had enabled Joseph and I to upgrade from his crappy full to a queen, but it was still well used and on it’s last leg.

We were actually on a date when we decided to go into mattress firm and within minutes we were sold. Laying on the mattress was like sinking into heaven. So far though, we’ve only run into one problem. The new mattress and base was too big for our headboard! While the headboard needed some TLC to begin with, the mattress caused us to not be able to open the cubbies.

As you can see, the headboard is so short the decorative pillows are too tall for it! It made our bed look stumpy. Worst of all, even though the new mattress helped alleviate a lot of the squeaking, it still squeaked!

So, Sunday we headed to Ikea. We had actually gone to get a $5 lamp but that store just sucks you in. I mean, it doesn’t help that you have to walk through all the show rooms. I even tried to power walk through some of them since we were only there for a lamp. We get to the bedroom set ups and Joseph slows down. Then we start a second walk through of the bedrooms. We checked out all the beds, once, twice and a third time.

“Alright, if it will fit in the car, perhaps we can get one,” I told Joseph as I eyed the one he wanted to buy.

He had a hopeful look on his face, “Oh, I’ll make it fit.”

So, after a long wait in line and a cramped ride home (and a quick second trip when we realized a mile away from the store we forgot the support beam), we had a bunch of pieces to put together to build a bed frame. It took us a couple of hours of patient team work as we followed the picture instructions.

I’m not going to lie, I think it looks pretty awesome. Not a single squeak, creak or other noise is made when we get into bed. If only our sheets weren’t so bad. The one downside to this bed was that it blocked off part of the lettering to my saying, so it had to come down. 😦 But now it has me rethinking the whole decor above our bed and maybe I’ll move to a print or a canvas.

(BTW, the comforter is Damask Stripe in Black. It is ridiculously heavy and warm and I highly recommend it to everyone.)

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Tasty Tuesday: Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Last week I brought you guys the meatza. I understand not everyone is going to want a meat crust, some people want something a little more traditional but still low carb. I mean, it’s hard to turn down a classic piece of pizza with the robust sauce, the gooey cheese and toppings galore. Crust is also pretty important. Do you want hand tossed? Pan? Thin? Made from scratch or pre made?

Well, my friends, this is a crust that contains no flour. None. It’s cauliflower & cheese and spices and it is absolutely amazing. I’m not going to lie, there was a tiny *hint* of cauliflower around the edge of the pizza where there was no sauce or cheese. But other than that it was pure pizza taste. Sure, it’s not the real deal but it’s a lot healthier if you are avoiding carbs. It’s also a fun way to mix up pizza night or to get your kids to eat some vegetables, not that I have that problem.

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Ingredients:
2 Cups Grated Cauliflower
1 cup 1% Cottage Cheese, water strained out
1/4 cup Egg Whites (equivalent to about 2 eggs)
Italian Seasonings to taste
Frank’s Hot Sauce (optional)

Directions:
Pre-heat the oven to 450

Microwave grated cauliflower for 8 minutes on high, uncovered.

In food processor mix up remaining ingredients until smooth.

Combine cauliflower with cheese mixture and stir well. This will be very goopy and you will wonder how this will bake into a “crust”. I had these same doubts and trust me, they will.

On either a wall oiled or parchment covered pan or pizza stone, thinly spread mixture out. I used parchment paper and I would be interested to know if my crust would come out crispier without it. If anyone tries it that way, let me know.

Bake for 25 minutes or until it looks like this:

Top pizza with your desired toppings and return to oven until cheese is bubbly.

I would suggest, using a thicker sauce so it isn’t as watery and not loading it down with too much cheese.

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Best Friends, A Baby & a Home Office

This weekend I attended my first Gender Reveal Party. My best friend, Sarah, is pregnant with the last child she plans to birth and decided this time to have some fun. And, let me tell you that when she wants to be, she can be quite evil.

I went to a cigar store, the man behind the counter asked me, “What kind of cigars do you like?” I answered, “It’saBoys.”- Mitch Hedberg

So, on the way to this party, Joseph and I make a wager. If it’s a boy, like he guesses it will be we will fix up the man cave, but if it’s a girl like I’m hoping we will fix up my office. I really didn’t want to make this wager, I’m not the best loser when I actually care about the prize, but he seemed excited about it, so I went along with it.

So we go to this party and everyone is trying to get her to slip up and reveal the gender of the baby. She did an annoyingly good job of not slipping up. The plan was to reveal the gender by cutting a cake with either pink frosting for a girl or blue frosting for a boy, but first we had to eat dinner. I think everyone there wanted to just skip straight to dessert.

So, everyone eats dinner, although I’m sure there are a few people who really didn’t taste it as they tried to finish as quickly as possible. It was finally cake time. They get it out, everyone’s trying to see if there is even a HINT of pink or blue showing but to no avail. Each of her son’s is handed a butter knife and they cut a wedge into it…

And the crowd goes wild (Literally) when pink frosting appears, myself included. I cannot put into words how excited I am for my best friend, her husband and her family. She started with kids a little early, before I truly understood how amazing being a parent is (and let’s face it, I have no kids, so now I just understand it by proxy). So, when she was pregnant before it was all “Oh, yeah, baby… Have fun pushing that thing out.” Now that I get it a little more, it hits me a lot more personally. To say I’m ecstatic and excited for her is an understatement.

And, of course, now I get my office. Needless to say, the bestest is never one to disappoint! So that also helps a bit with the excitement and happiness. I’m not so sure Joseph had a clue to how much I wanted an office or how much thought I had put into it. So, expect to see these ideas come to life in my house and on my blog as I get to started on them.

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1 Year House Anniversary

Today marks the anniversary of my becoming a home owner. Although Joseph owned a house, it could never feel quite like home or like it was mine. Pure and simple, it was a bachelor pad. The kitchen was tiny and not very functional, the bathroom was supremely outdated and the house had major flaws that would keep it from being an easy sell. Mostly though, I had gotten no say in the matter and was living there by default since Joseph owned it and we got married.

Through and through, that house was Joseph’s. From the Brave’s colored office to the mix and match furniture it was everything male and bachelor. I had a hard time appreciating the house as any place other than a place to keep my belongings and return to every day. I can’t fault him for buying that house because it fulfilled his needs to a T. That doesn’t mean I had to embrace living in his house.

The biggest problem really was that, although the house was Joseph, it wasn’t very me. On my list of house must-haves, not a single box was marked off. However, it wasn’t until I lived in that house that I really came to realize not only what I wanted in a house, but what I didn’t want.

When 2011 started, I told Joseph “We can save up enough money to have a new house by my birthday.” He was skeptical, but supportive of me working the budget to save up for the down payment and all the odds and ends you end up having to pay at closing. Although he loved his house, he was also ready to have a home with me. Even before we had the down payment, a good idea of what we could spend monthly or even a realtor, he loved to look at houses online or drive around looking for “For Sale” signs and getting the free information.

As our savings grew, we discussed our must have lists. They were vastly different, neither of us really caring about the things the other found important. Joseph wanted a large yard, space for a man cave and relative privacy. I wanted a huge kitchen, more than one bathroom and a basement so I wouldn’t die in future tornadoes (phobia).

It was April when we started working with a realtor. I have to say, the house hunt is both exhilarating and disappointing. When you’re serious about buying, the thrill of looking at houses quickly wears on you when all you want is to just find THE HOUSE. During our first trip out we found an amazing house to put an offer in for. It was a house that was clearly worth more than what the realtor was asking and, of course, it wasn’t accepted and the house ended up selling for far more than our budget.

It was also on our first trip that our realtor took us to the neighborhood where we eventually bought our house at. Practically the whole neighborhood was foreclosed on and being sold by the same person. We looked at every house for sale except for the green one that was technically part of the neighborhood but on the main road and not in the neighborhood. There was a practically perfect house in the middle of a cul-de-sac, but there was no basement.

I debated whether I could live without a basement. I threw out the (genius) idea of putting a trapdoor from the coat closet to the standing crawlspace beneath it, but eventually decided I had to have a basement. Per our realtor only two houses for sale in the development had a basement, so we went to check them out. The first one was still being built, it was the only house still being built and although it had a long way to go, I already knew the kitchen would not be up to par with what I wanted.

The second one was the green house that we didn’t look at during the first pass through the neighborhood. This time we went in, walked around and fell in love. The kitchen was large with tons of counter space, tons of cabinet space and a dishwasher; a luxury Joe’s kitchen was without. A full basement ran the length of the house, perfect tornado hiding space and plenty of room for Joseph to man out. 2 bathrooms, laundry and master on main, three, relatively large rooms upstairs. An open floor plan so that you don’t feel cut off if you’re cooking dinner. A ½ acre lot with woods past the backyard, giving it some privacy from the neighborhood behind it and massive curb appeal sealed the deal.

To think, this perfect house was almost ignored by us simply because it wasn’t in the neighborhood. Seriously, let’s be honest, I’m not that friendly. Why did I have to live in a neighborhood anyways.

This was the house, we both knew it. We put in an offer and waited. The offer was accepted, we scheduled closing and I sent in practically every document that had ever had my name on it. We waited and waited and waited. Joseph and I would visit the house and break in and walk around, dreaming of what we would do in each room. We’d get dinner and eat on the front porch, pretending we lived in the green house.

We almost didn’t close on 6/24/11. There was a problem with getting someone from the seller to the closing to sign. They contacted me by email to see if we could move the closing to the Wednesday after. Who wants to close on a Wednesday.

Before I had a chance to reply my realtor was on the phone: You’re closing on Friday or I’ll eat my own poo.

I would have held him to it too.

Thankfully for him, we closed right on time. My paperwork was some of the cleanest and in order they’ve ever seen. I signed my name like a champ and got us out of there quickly. I spent the most amount of money I had ever had in the bank with the exception of an inheritance and I didn’t regret a minute of it.

There are so many differences from living in this house compared to Joseph’s. This house is OUR home through and through. We have put so much work in it, together; from paint to building furniture. A year out from buying it, I’m still just as happy about this purchase. I still come home in wonder that we have such an amazing house, such a perfect for us house. Not everyone would love this house, some people like one story ranches, houses closer to the interstate, bigger, smaller, more bathrooms, but with the exception of my parent’s house and my grandmother’s house, I’ve never felt so at home.

Here’s to, hopefully, 29 more awesome years paying for this house.

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