Monday, January 28, 2008

My Nightly Wind Down

One of the things that my hubby and I did as we bought our first house was to subscribe to many new magazines - many to get ideas on things to cook, ways to decorate our new home and yard, and others on just ideas and inspiration on how to live. We subscribe to : Inc., Fast Company, Real Simple, Body & Soul, KIWI, Blueprint and Bark.

In this month's Body & Soul - they featured a few simple yoga moves to help you wind down, de-stress, and get to sleep easier. With the year we have had - we both need quite a dose of relaxation and a lot of help in the sleep department (too many 3am night sweats and nightmares about work, money, family, etc) - so whenever we learn about new ways to relax we take them on wholeheartedly. Matt drinks sleepy-time tea, reads a book and even takes over the counter doses of Melatonin. I occasionally will eat oatmeal, take a bath, veg out on a heating pad and do these poses to wind down after a tight wound day.

1. Plow Pose
Reduces backache and can help you get to sleep.

2. Bridge Pose
Calms the brain and rejuvenates tired legs.

Typography Bulletin Board

Here is another of my latest efforts to redecorate my office to be less corporate and a little more design-y. Found this great little addition at Hobby Lobby 1/2 off - came to an affordable $10! It took the place of this HUGE blue tack board so I need to find more things to fill in the empty space around it but this is start.

Great Goodwill Find

Hubby and I went out this dreary weekend to try to get rid of our cabin fever - and in our route we went to Goodwill - and found this great little owl treasure for my desk at work (which I am slowly redecorating). For only $0.99 I think he is a steal and an excellent pen holder!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Valentine's Day Wish List

February is my month! Valentine's Day AND my birthday within DAYS of each other - just MARVELOUS!

Here is my Valentine's Day Wish List:

1.Luv Bytes Sandwich Cutter - $2.99

2. Pant's Hangers - I know you can find them at Target & Meijer - but this image came from Lillian Vernon - $9.98

3. ROUND Belgian Waffle Maker - again Target or somewhere but this image is from Black & Decker

4. Heart Jewelery! This image is from Tiffany's

Putting Our Oven to Good Use

Matthew and I don't always take advantage of our great new oven - but there comes the occasional day that we do. This Saturday was one of those days. Having exhausted our routine list of meals (spaghetti, Wanchai Ferry Chinese Dinner Kits, tacos, tomato soup and grilled cheese, chili, meatball sandwiches, etc) - we started getting antsy and being recently inspired to make a few dishes - we got our pots, pans and bowls out to whip up a few great things to get us through the week.

We made:

1. Chex Mix

2. A large batch of Breakfast Burritos for breakfast throughout the week.

3. Lemonade with Sliced Lemons

And tomorrow we will make:

4. Chicken Caesear Pita's inspired by a lunch we had recently at Chili's

5. Shepard's Chicken & Rice for our evening group at church

Phew - lots of cooking!

Eating at home is important to us - because of finances for one, health second and because we get to spend more time together.

Here is a great link to a meal planning template from!
Hubby and I plan our meals out in advance to help us shop for upcoming week - this is a great template to keep it fun!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Recent Projects

My recent crafty projects have included a nifty light-weight computer case - nothing to carry it in of course, but just to project it from everyday scratches and a nifty jewelry holder that I was inspired to make from an article called "Every Bling in Its Place" in the recent issue of .

Here is the blog post from Bluelines - the Blueprint blog talking about the project.

Been Sick

Ah yes, our household has finally succumbed to the coughy, phlemy, runny-nose, sneezy thing that has been roaming around work and our social circles for awhile now. We managed to escape it during the holidays - but it finally caught up. Here is a pic my husband snapped of me during a deep nap I took after work one day. It was one of those naps where you wake up with your cheeks flushed not knowing where you are. I feel better now - still a little sniffly- but now the hubby is coming down with it. I swore it was just my sinuses acting up for the longest time - but I think it was the combination of sinuses and a mild cold. :(

Cleaning Safely, Naturally AND on a Budget

With my many green initiatives over the last year or so (recycling, composting, bringing our own bags to the grocery store, etc) - the one things I neglected to green the most about my everyday routine was the way I clean.

I want things to smell and look clean - and for the longest time the smell of clean to me is the smell of bleach and harsh cleaning products.

But these very products are harmful both to my body and to the environment - not to mention being ridiculously expensive. We are talking $3 and up per bottle of cleaner! A nice chunk out of our pocket that is for sure- not to mention the obvious gagging and choking that occurred whenever I used these abbrassive toxins in my home.

Well, today that changed a little - with my toxic stash of cleaners are all about out - so, I started researching the web on natural cleaning methods.

First I tackled the bathtub with a 1 part vinegar and 1 part water mixture and was AMAZED! This simple solution kicked soap scum's tush better than any of the Scrubbing Bubble/Bleach concoction ever did.

Now I am ready to take natural solutions to the kitchen and beyond!

Here are some great natural cleaning tips I have found:

3 Homemade Natural Cleaning Products from

Cleaning with Vinegar

How to Make a Non-Toxic Cleaning Kit

Homemade Cleaning Solutions and Tips

Vinegar: (Almost) the Only Cleaner You'll Ever Need
Non-Toxic Home Cleaning

Vinegar Tips

The Vinegar Institute Use and Tips

Thursday, January 10, 2008

I Need to Knit!

Wow, so the first two weeks of 2008 are proving to be quite crazy - especially at work.We have a new client with hundreds of files that need created or recreated to fit our needs, they have events coming up that the marketing should be been put out on back in the fall - but they were not our client until Dec.1 so that is crazy, then we got a new printer that sounds marvelous - but so far hasn't been [for one I have to now walk all the way to the back of the office to print instead of walk two feet when the printer was in my office, we opted for one big printer instead of two smaller ones so often times there is a line to print, we have had problems with the sensors and it won't let us print because it THINKS it sees paper in some invisible finishing tray when there isn't any, I now have to manually duplex anything on cardstock with a weight more than 65lb, AND it hasn't been letting me select the bypass tray - arg! And my stress is back - I keep waking up at night or the wee hours of the morning freaking out about something I forgot to do at work and I feel, in general, on edge even when I am at home - there is this constant feeling of anxiousness.

Needless to say I think I need to start my knitting again.

It helps ground me and gives me some of my sanity back somehow. And in addition to having more stress inducers in 2008 I haven't knit since I went back to work on Jan. 3rd!

And I am not crazy there is research behind knitting being a stress reliever!
Studies have shown that knitting slows the heart rate and brain waves - having a similar affect as meditation.

Here are some interesting articles I found about knitting and stress relief:
(now I just need to get my family, people at work, and my friends to read them so they stop looking at me to oddly when I knit! :) )
Knitting Reduces Stress, Article from the Rochester Knitting Guild in New York
Knitting for Stress Relief,
Knitting the Stress Away, Article from the University of Kansas
Knitting their way to relaxation, Article from the BBC News

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Bento Lunches

People at work hate me. Not personally speaking by any means. But they hate the fact that my husband gets up every morning and packs my lunch for me before work - and he does a good job! Always making little kits if we have leftover like tacos complete with little bags of cheese, separating the lettuce from the meat - etc...all organized and neat.

I CAN make my lunch myself, and have, on occasion. And, in my defense, this situation all came about because of our differing work schedules. He was working later in the mornings than I was and had a little more time to actually make lunches - and he would get up with me in the morning because it has be about impossible to sleep with all the racket I make in the morning - running the blow dryer, dropping stuff in the bathroom, stumbling about trying to find the shoes that match my outfit- etc.

AND he offered to do so.

Just trying to defend myself here as in writing this I realize that I sound like some sort of princess who cannot and will not fend for herself. THAT IS NOT IT AT ALL THANK YOU.

Ok, back to the post.

Bento Lunches.

I came across this Japanese way of making lunch while searching the web for something else - I stumbled across a blog writing about what I was searching for - and in further inspection of said blog I found a post about bento lunches and, having never heard of it before, became intrigued - read more - did a web search and viola I am officially on board.

According to Wikapedia a "bento" is a single-portion takeout or home-packed meal common in Japanese cuisine. A traditional bento consists of rice, fish or meat, and one or more pickled or cooked vegetables as a side dish. Containers range from disposable mass produced to hand crafted lacquerware. Although bento are easily available in many places throughout Japan, including convenience stores, bento shops, train stations, and department stores, it is still common for Japanese homemakers to spend considerable time and energy producing an appealing boxed lunch.

But if you think about it, and what many bloggers are saying, is that a bento lunch is TECHNICALLY any lunch that is packed.

I have sent photos of adorable bento lunches in hopes that he become inspired to add a little more oomph to his lunch-making repertoire - I just need to convince him that he needs to make me the cute little animal shaped hard boiled eggs that I found in the bento lunches I found online!

Here are some links to bento blogs:
Bento Corner
Lunch In A Box

Friday, January 4, 2008

Random Web Searches

I use the web a lot and it is rather funny to sit down and take note of the searches I make in any one day. For example, today I searched the following:

1. Venus Fly Traps
Yup, that is right my friend - venus fly traps. I bought one for my husband after seeing one at Kroger of all places and we have replanted it into a little terrarium of sorts and it is really thriving - I was expecting it to die within a few days..well, it isn't and I wanted to learn more about their care etc.

2. Herron School of Art Alumni Association & Board
I will be attending one of their meetings next week and wanted to know more about their role at IUPUI and Herron and the kind of activities and program they promote, etc.

3. Pure Simplicity
At the Bath and Body Works Semi-Annual Sale hidden away by itself on a 75% table I found my favorite face wash of all time - Rice Pure Simplicity Skin Balancing Face Wash - it smells so great and keeps my skin looking amazing. I thought that Bath and Body Works had discontinued the line long ago and low and behold there it was! After speaking with a store associate it sounded like they would not be carrying the product any longer - so I am Googling it see if I can't find alternative locations to buy this great wash. Sadly, I am not having a whole lot of luck in that search.

Converting Paperweight from LBS to GSM
Recently got a new printer at work and have been having issues with it left and right - especially in reference to printing on cardstock - which was never a problem on our older model printer - not to mention that the new printer labels all paper weights using GSM and my paper is labeled in LBs. So I have to convert the weights to see if the paper I have in stock with be new-printer-friendly or not.
Here is site I used to find my conversion table. -

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Crash and Burn Day Back

So the morning I come back to the office after having over a week off for the holidays is a little weird. My desk is a mess after the hurried finishing up of projects BEFORE the holidays - not to mention the random diet coke can I found (I do not drink diet coke so this tells me someone else was sitting at my desk for a period of time while I was gone...hmmm?), the coffee pot was left on which leaves an awful mess but I wasn't here last week so it wasn't me and also I do not drink coffee, the recycling bins are overflowing - apparently I am the only one who knows how to empty the darn things - they were my idea so I guess it falls on me BUT if there are cans fall out of the bin you would think someone would step up...AND then come to find out that our brand new amazing printer is still not functioning properly....first it wouldn't print onto 100lb paper - so we had to haul someone out here to fix it a day or two before Christmas and NOW come to find out that it can pull 100lb paper through the bypass tray but that you cannot print 2up from the bypass tray - how marvelous. Arg! I may have to venture back out into the -12 wind chill day to Arvey's and buy some 70lb cardstock to see if our new printer accepts it or not. Blah! It feels like a Monday - but at least it is Wednesday and this week will be over soon enough.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

2008 New Year Resolutions

Wow, another year over - it is crazy. Time goes by way to fast! So many things happened in 2007 - it will definitely be a year marked in our memories - both personally and on a worldwide scale.

Personally, my husband and I bought our first house, our good friends got married, got pregnant and had sweet baby boy, my parents separated - got divorced and my mother remarried, my husband's grandmother passed away, we started composting, I learned how to knit, we planted a pineapple, started to landscape on the house, put up a fence, I cut my hair short, and numerous other accomplishments, surprises and disappoints marks 2007 as inforgetable.

I am so very much looking forward to 2008 and what it holds in store for us.

Some general resolutions I hope to keep this year include:

1. Exercising at least once a week (we have an in home treadmill now so that shouldn't be hard - just have to be a little less attached to our comfy couch)
2. Attend at least 3 Marketing/PR seminars, conferences or classes to further improve my occupational skills.
3. Continue to green our home and our life by composting more, taking our own bags to the grocery store, using green products, etc.
4. Start a garden.
5. Become closer to estranged family members.
6. Find a church and become more involved in our community.