Monday, February 13, 2012

On being classy

This year for a new year's resolution (which I don't really buy into, except that it really is the time of year that I need to make changes in my life) I decided that I really could benefit from classing it up a bit.
I turned 25 this January, and I am realizing that I derive a lot of my anxiety from what I think other people think of me. I realized that I could get a lot of confidence if I trusted my decisions, and felt good about myself.
I was also have been thinking about pairing down my belongings, especially in my closet. I feel like you don't need a lot of items, if the ones you have work together well, and you look good in them.
So the first thing I did was go through my closet and get rid of anything that I wasn't sure about: things that don't fit me the way they did in my imagination, or things that don't really match anything else I wear. A lot of brightly colored things went, too.
It's easier to put together outfits now, because there's not a lot of stuff that I shouldn't be wearing, tempting me. I receive more compliments now, and my self confidence is more steady, because I don't have so many doubts about myself.
Here's a few key things that help me look classier every day no matter what else is going on.

Red watch band: I always wear a wristwatch, but switching to a red band really makes it stand out, especially when I'm wearing all black, at work. I feel that a watch calls attention to the wrists, which are elegant and ladylike without the potential for sluttiness or silliness.

Pearl Earrings: Mark really wanted to get me some jewelry for christmas. I almost never wear any jewelry, although I do have one pair of mother-of pearl dangly earrings that I remember about once a year. They are too dressy for most outfits though, so I don't end up wearing them enough. Mark wanted to get me something more simple that I could be comfortable wearing even to work. We went to Claire's (I know, super classy), and found a simple pair like these, while they were having a sale.

Basic 3/4 sleeve ballet-neck tees: I often roll up my sleeves, which stretches them out, so I would probably wear 3/4 sleeves every day of my life, if I could. The wide scoop neck on this is comfortable and, since I have to wear an apron over whatever I wear at work, this lends the slight hint of class without being flashy or uncomfortable. I now own three of these in various colors. At work I wear them it with skinny black pants that are a little short, and black mary janes.

Accessories: Everybody needs a few things to keep them comfortable, but it is possible to chose these for fashion as well. I have a cream pashmina style scarf that looks good wrapped loosely around the neck of just about any outfit. it is thick enough to keep my neck warm on a cold day, but light enough to never make me sweat. I also have a pair of sunglasses, like these, but a light rosy pink. They would also be great in red or white.

The only thing I'm missing is a really classy everyday shoe. I have these to wear to work, but they get kind of gross, so I don't want to wear them outside of work. I'm thinking about getting a second pair for that, but it seems like kind of a waste of money.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Processing Wool for Moths

I was not careful after acquiring a moth-eaten sweater around christmas, and I'm afraid moths might've gotten into some of my stuff. I have so many woolens, that I can't put them all in ziplocks in the freezer, and I don't have my own washer, so although I have washed them all by hand, the solution I've finally come up with is this:
soak as many woolens as possible in hot water in a bucket, without any agitation. after some soaking, place on a plate or in a bowl in a clean microwave until steamy. If you have a thermometer, you could try to make sure the sweater gets up to a certain temp, but I'm not entirely certain what that temp is. 170 maybe?
I slide the heated sweater off the plate into my waiting canning pot. It's a Tamale steamer, so there's an insert with holes in it, perfect for draining wet sweaters.
Once the sweaters are cool (not just cool enough to touch, but room temp. hot wet wool can be ruined easily), squeeze the moisture out of them gently, and hang/lay flat to dry as you would normally.
Now the thing it, what to do with wool pants, shorts, with metal zippers? They can't be microwaved.I'm hoping I've gotten everything important, and I'm going to just wait and see.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


We have lived in Austin for almost a year, without riding our bikes almost at all. (admittedly part of that is that we hardly ever go out in the first place)
Last weekend, we had houseguests that we tried to show around the city, and since they had been driving ten hours a day, they wanted to walk it. And I was amazed at how walkable it was. In my mind it was a lot bigger, but in reality we covered a lot of ground quickly, no parking fees, no driving in circles looking for a spot. (and Mark and I are quick walkers, so when alone, we could probably cover a lot more distance)
Now I want to go out and walk/bike everywhere. Betsy finally got a bike, so we can bike places together. I pulled out our map and found a safe way to get to her house.
Now I need to get some better brakes/handlebars. What I have right now is neither safe nor comfortable.
Deciding/agreeing on what to get, though is tougher than it should be.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Holiday things are happening...

We've got our tree up (and finally probably straight), and I just put 21 cups of Turkey broth in the freezer. I can get sick any time now. It's fine. I have the broth to deal with it.
Presents are being picked out and slowly making their way into the house, and under the tree.
For some reason, this year, I've not got that many great ideas for gifts. Usually I get so excited, because I have so many wonderful ideas, and can't wait to implement them. This year, no. Just... no. I have a few lame ideas, but really, I'm just tired, and not ready for Christmas. It's not cold here at all, so Christmas snuck up on me before I was prepared. Now it's almost here, and I'm floundering.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Stupid Bathroom

So Far, I've been fairly pleased with this new apartment. Everything that I don't really like has been minor things that don't really matter, like the placing of the air intake vent, or the fact that all the dirt on our upstairs neighbors balcony filters down onto ours, because the slats are really far apart.
And then comes the bathroom. Specifically the bathtub/shower stall. I noticed when we were beginning to unpack, that the bathtub really needed a good scrub. The whole bottom was just splotchy grey, because it's mildly textured and therefor catches all the foot dirt that comes it's way. I also noticed that the soap dish on the wall had a weird texture but figured it just needed a good scrubbing as well. when I took a closer look, I realized the soap dish seemed to have been painted over, and the paint was peeling on the part that holds the dish/collects water.
I decided that for the tub, not knowing the previous residents, I'd rather just bleach the whole thing, instead of getting on my knees and scrubbing. I left the bleach bath to sit for several hours, and when I rinsed it out, I realized that it hadn't done a thing. Did I dilute the bleach too much? I mean, the whole house reeked of bleach, so I would've thought it was enough. I mean, maybe that's why it was still so dirty after the last residents moved out, it was stained or something.
So I get down on my knees with a scrub brush, a sponge and some baking soda. It sort of seems to make a difference, but when I get up, it still looks just about the same. It seems as though this bathtub has some sort of inherent matte texture (which is great for picking up dirt!), so I will never be able to get it smooth and shiny, so I have no idea how to tell the difference between dirty and clean.
I go to work on the soap dish, and the I'm able to peel paint off in large chunks. Seems that they did a fairly uneven coat of paint, over a dirty dish, so it never really sealed well, and that's why it was coming up under the soap. I scrub off the old dirt underneath the paint too.
Mark points out that some of the tile is also really scummy, so I give that a go. Turns out that's been painted too, or at least, some of them have. Also tile grout scum smeared everywhere and anywhere.
 Since everything is white, you can only sort of see the smears of tile grout everywhere here, but it's all over.
It's hard to tell there, because I'd already scrubbed off a lot, but pretty much that whole ledge there was just smeared with sealant.

There's about three different shades of white tiles in the bathroom, kind of in patches. The tiles underneath the paint are grayer, and kind of stained, so I'm wondering if I'm supposed to leave this stuff there as protective coating? But I mean, what was their plan?  Paint the tiles, and then NEVER clean again? Disgusting. I'd rather ugly clean tiles than white ones that are covered in gross.

So after peeling and scrubbing paint off of several tiles, and parts of the bathtub, I take a shower, because I am covered in paint flecks and baking soda, and dirty water. And I get to stare at this the whole time:
Yeah. If this were my house, I could take that panel down, and clean it and repaint it, but since it's not, and they already passed on their chance to clean it up, I just get to stare at it whenever I rinse my hair out.

After my shower, I discover this:
Yes, that's right. Water got between the paint and the tile, making them sag like old skin. Now I have to clean them all. Ugh.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

So much to update...

I guess I should've been keeping up with how we're decorating and organizing this new place, now that we've been here a few days, but honestly, it hasn't felt that inspired, we've just been shoving the contents of boxes onto shelves, and hoping it will all fit. MOving into this place has been a lot like a game of tetris. It's a smaller apartment, but not in every room. For instance, the bathroom has a lot more storage space, but the kitchen has less. Until we get a washer and dryer, we'll have the whole laundry room to use as storage, which feels like a lot, but if we want to not have to use the common facilities, we'll have to give that up soon. We have a bigger bedroom closet, but no hall closet, so we have to cram a whole bunch of other stuff in there.
We did try to really pare down several areas that we knew were getting out of hand. We both were able to donate quite a few clothes, and books, and I pared down my art supplies and tea.
We're not going to do much differently in this place, probably. We are closer to an ikea, so it's tempting to go buy lots of new stuff to go in our new place, but honestly, we should probably just try to make what we have work. We might try to get rid of one bookcase, because there's only so many places they can comfortably fit.
If Mark's desk faced a certain wall, I could get it fit in, but he'd rather set it against the other wall, and I can't tell him what to do, it's his desk, and he's the one who has to sit at it. It just messes up my Tetris. because of that, some of my wall space is split up into smaller separate wall spaces that can't get anything fit into them. Grrr. But we will be able to fit it all, hopefully. Just not the way I was hoping.
We've taken the shelf that sat in front of the window and held my gardening things, and put it in the dining room, where it holds cookbooks and extra kitchen paraphernalia. For now, the gardening things are outside on the porch. There's an outside closet there that can hold all our unimportant/messy stuff. Our DVD shelf is on the back porch holding the plants, waiting to get painted. It'll be going right in the entryway, so I want it to look good. I'm thinking we'll paint it blue, and maybe try and find some cute coordinating paper for the shelves maybe? Or put in a back covered in cute paper. Right now it's painted white, and is covered with brown weird spots, after living in my grandparent's garage for years.
We're also going to hang up the light weight curtains, instead of the heavy denim type ones we had in the last apartment. There, we needed to keep the heat out in the summer, here we need to keep out the eyes of the neighbors, but there will be no heat or light to keep out. We just can't find the hardware for the curtain rod.

Right now the biggest things I need to move are the boxes of DVDs, (I haven't decided what to do with them, but they are in the way, and need to go somewhere), and the books, because I want to really really know where the bookshelf is going before I fill it up. It will be impossible to move after that, and I'm too lazy to take all the books back off to move it. Ugh.

What is done:
The bedroom closet, pretty much, and the bathroom. The kitchen, except for hanging things on the wall.