Friday, March 30, 2012

friday philosophy

sometimes i come across a quote that bears some kind of significance and i want to share it with you dear readers.  sometimes it's based on where i am in life or a certain event, sometimes a quote just reminds me of a friend, or sometimes it makes me think.  it's called 'friday philosophy' and i'm gonna keep it up weekly. (or try to!)

in honor of today's humongous mega millions lottery drawing, i chose a quote kinda related to it.  i've purchased two tickets, and may buy a few more, despite knowing it somehow 'doesn't increase my chances'.  (at least that's what the so-called experts say.)

over the years, i've played the lottery occasionally.  (my dad has a group at work that play religiously, and they've actually hit 6-figures before!  split between a lot of people though.)  while i'm more of a scratch-ticket kinda girl, i won't shy away from a $540 million drawing!

the whole idea of the possibility of winning a ridiculous amount of money is totally appealing.  everyone has dreams, realistic and far-fetched.  wouldn't it be so awesome if the far-fetched ones ended up not being so far-fetched?!  i've always said i'd try to be wise with my winnings, if my lucky numbers actually got picked.  (not that people actually go out and say, 'i'll just blow it all!' but it still happens more often than not.)

so, what would i do?  i guess it's not unlike my actual realistic goals, plus some extras that would only be possible if millions suddenly ended up in my bank account.

i'd pay off my debt.  i've told you a smidge of my debt story, mostly that there is a story that i have yet to tell you...but i've got some stupid credit card debt that i'd definitely pay off and promise myself to never get stupid and greedy like that again.  especially with my winnings.

i'd put a lot in the bank.  to earn interest.  that i could live off of.  which makes the actual amount in the bank just money that sits there making me more money.  (i think i could handle that.)

i'd pay off my parent's mortgage, cars, any other debt, and make them promise me they will retire from their jobs to do what they want to do with their time.  (which they already do, on top of working full time.  it's time to relax mom and dad...i hope i can help you with it.  or maybe this time will be dad's really lucky lottery drawing!)

then come the friends and family situation.  there are so many people that i care about...and while a half a billion dollars is somuchfreakingmoney, i don't want to blow it all, so i know i would need to choose carefully.  my two bffs wouldn't have to worry.  about anything.  ever.  and most of my friends are pretty okay financially, so i'd make sure their children's college funds were set.  (since i don't have kids yet and the thought of saving for my future children's future education - on top of everything else in life - scares me.  where does the money come from?!)  so, i want my friends to be able to not worry about their children's education.  i want them to not have to pinch pennies just to attempt to better their children's futures.  i'd take care of it.  and i'd make sure the people that needed a little extra help would get it.

i'd travel.  i may splurge occasionally on the super-star resort or private jet, but really, i'm a regular person, and i'll still be a regular person, even if i win the lottery.  so, i'd probably go back to my favorite place -- the holiday inn sunspree resort in montego bay, jamaica...(which if you read reviews on trip advisor, you'd think the place is a dump.  i've been there.  it's definitely not a dump.  donald trump might not want to stay there, but i don't wanna be within 50 feet of his combover either.  ha.)  i'd probably visit some exotic places on my bucket list...(giraffe manor, anyone?!?!)  and i'd never hesitate to visit my friends and family for life events, no matter how big or small.  (it sucks to miss your friends' baby showers and kids' birthday parties because you can't afford to take time off of work or to actually go or both.)

but you know what?  whether i win the lottery or not, i'm so very rich.  and i do share my limited fortune with others.  i treat my friends and family to things they like, and share my time, which is worth more than money.  (well, i guess i could probably put a price tag on it!)  but time is the only thing you've lost once it's i try to make the most of every day by sharing my love with the people i love most in this world.

and feeling the love in return is the best, most fulfilling, richest feeling in the world.

so who needs to win the lottery anyway?

just kidding!  i wanna win!  i wanna win!  and you know, i'd have a lot more time for blogging.  ;-)

in lucky numbers and mega millions...

=) andrea

Thursday, March 29, 2012

recommendations & advice

i know i need to get my post up of our adventure, but due to my camera's lack of ability to take a good photo, i relied on my friends' cameras.  so, while i wait for the pictures, here's some advice!

if you've never been on a cruise, and like me,  and you wonder what to bring...i decided to come up with a list of my recommendations.

the cruise we went on embarked on friday (we got on the boat around 12:30pm) and we disembarked on monday (around 11:00am).  so we had about 3 days on the boat.

i'll start with my list of what i brought:

dresses:  1 short shift-style dress; 2 long dresses, one was more casual, the other more dressy

swimsuits:  4 tankini tops, 3 bottoms

coverup:  1 dress coverup

clothes:  4 (old navy) layering tanks, 2 tops, 1 skirt, 1 cardigan

pajamas:  1 tank top, 1 pair of shorts

undergarments: 2 bras, 6 pairs of underwear (just in case, jeez!)

shoes:  1 pair of reef flip flops, 1 pair of casual chunky sandals, 1 pair of dressy shoes

airplane clothes:  1 pair yoga capris, 2 tanks, 2 tees

toiletries:  toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, deodorant, razor, face moisturizer, aloe, cocoa butter, sunscreen, contact stuff, glasses, makeup

jewelry:  2 pairs of earrings

extras:  2 reusable grocery bags (one was to act as a hamper, the other for 'just in case')

i fit everything into a carry-on size suitcase, but checked the bag because of all the liquids i had.  (can't upset the tsa now can i?)

and you know what?  i only overpacked slightly!

here's a short list of the things i didn't use at all:

1 short shift-style dress
2 tankini tops
1 bottom
3 layering tanks
1 top
1 cardigan
2 pairs of underwear
1 pair of earrings

seriously.  that's it.

i think when i pack for jamaica (only 3 weeks away - aaaahhhh!!!) i'll be set for no overpacking!  after spending every day in my bathing suit when mike and i vacationed in jamaica two years ago, i should've learned that clothes in the tropics are overrated!  while i did bring extra bathing suits, i was glad i did because i'd rather have an extra dry one than try to shimmy my body in a damp suit.  gross.  i hate that feeling!

and while i didn't use the third dress, i'm glad i had it for a choice, along with the other unused top.  i mean, really, when you're at home standing in front of your entire closet with 'nothing to wear', how do you feel on vacation with a seriously pared down wardrobe?!?!  sometimes having a couple extra options is worth your sanity in the 'nothing to wear' department, despite bringing items you didn't use.

so if you're like me and spend every possible second of daylight in the sun, you'll probably want to be in your swimsuit the entire day.  having an additional coverup could be helpful, especially if yours gets wet, but i was okay for one on our short trip.  after spending all day in the sun, we'd get ready for dinner and stay in that outfit for the several changes of clothes weren't needed.  if you were to do a shore excursion, you may want some shorts or sneakers, but we were beach bums that only needed sunscreen, a beach chair, and a good book!

another thing that may be surprising is that i actually didn't start packing until the day before we left.  (i'm admittedly a huge procrastinator!)  i had thought about my wardrobe and what i'd want to bring, and i also made lists to make sure i'd certainly have enough clothes for each day/night.  and you know, i think it worked!

do you usually plan and pack ahead of time?  or are you like me and wait til the last possible minute?  my girls may have overpacked a little...both of their suitcases were twice as big as mine!  but we had fun regardless, and that's what matters.

in swimsuits and sarongs...

=) andrea

p.s.  i've just gotta tell you --- i lurve lands' end bathing suits.  they are comfortable, well-made, and come in a variety of styles, colors, patterns, etc.  i own several and lived in my two favorites while we were away.  i just wanted to share that with you!  if you're like me and have a hard time finding just the right suit...definitely check out lands' end here!  (i wasn't paid or perked to write that, as much as i'd love to be, i just love me some lands' end products!)   cute, huh?

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

i'm back...

...and we had a blast!  i'll update you soon (probably later this week) on my adventure as well as tips that helped me on my first cruise.

but, i've gotta admit...i'm exhausted!  what a whirlwind trip it was...and after several late nights in a row (for my 10-o-clock bedtime self) i'm ready to get rested up!

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i hope you all had a great weekend!

=) andrea

Sunday, March 25, 2012

sunday yumday

while i'm enjoying my time away with two of my lovely girlfriends, i got this post ready ahead of time for your culinary enjoyment.  and, since i failed on a sunday yumday post last week, here's one now!  =)

so, what's on the menu?


say what?

kartoffelsalat!  it's a kind of german potato salad that one of my dear friends' (see here) husband makes.  and he made it for us when we had dinner together last sunday (hence no sunday yumday post last week because i didn't have to cook!).

unfortunately, i don't have the exact recipe he uses, nor did i photograph his assembly of this salad, but i found this one and i think it's pretty close!
kartoffelsalat (berliner potato salad) 


2 pounds potatoes, whole
6 baby dill pickles, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium granny smith apples, chopped
16 ounces mayonnaise
6 tablespoons pickle juice (this was not used)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
(we also added a couple hard boiled eggs, chopped)
(i've also had it with fresh dill!)


chop onion, pickles, apple, egg - the same size.

boil the potatoes with their skins on until tender, about 20-30 minutes.

remove from pot and let rest until cool enough to handle but still warm, then peel and dice into preferred size.

in a bowl combine all the ingredients except potatoes.

put potatoes into a big bowl, pour "sauce" over them and stir together carefully (potatoes break apart easily while still warm).

cover bowl and let rest in refrigerator for at least 2 hours (overnight is even better).

taste test and add more pickle juice, salt, pepper, sugar or mayonnaise if/as needed.

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so, i know some of you (especially mike) will be turned off by the apples and/or pickles.  well, to be honest, pickles aren't my favorite, but what i love about this salad is the collection of textures and flavors.  potatoes are mild and soft, apples are tart and crunchy, eggs are soft, pickles are crunchy...and surprisingly, all the flavors do mesh well together!  so, the next time you want to bring a salad somewhere that's a little different, give kartoffelsalat a try!

do you have any recipes that include unexpected items?  i'd love to hear about it!

=) andrea

Friday, March 23, 2012

friday philosophy

sometimes i come across a quote that bears some kind of significance and i want to share it with you dear readers.  sometimes it's based on where i am in life or a certain event, sometimes a quote just reminds me of a friend, or sometimes it makes me think.  it's called 'friday philosophy' and i'm gonna keep it up weekly. (or try to!)

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back in january when i got a mass email (to our group of girlfriends) from my friend renee about the possibility of a long weekend trip, i was, within a nanaosecond, totally in.  (as long as the price was right!)

there is just something about escaping the 'everyday' that i crave...and i think it's healthy to indulge.  when your days are filled with phone calls and deadlines and customers, it's easy to get lost in the monotony that life can become.

since spring has arrived a bit early pretty much everywhere, we've been spoiled with sunshine.  however, i work indoors all day, so i don't get to take much advantage of it, as much as i worship the sun every opportunity i get!  the renewing feeling of the warm sun on your face that happens every spring is one of my favorite things about the end of winter.  it's a new start with lots of life being refreshed.

sunshine makes people happy, and i wanna be happy.  (not that i'm not happy, but you know what i mean.  happier, maybe?)  

this trip will be renewing for my head (and my skin - come on tan!) and my soul.  i love being outside...i love being near water...and i love the feeling of freedom of a vacation.  (albeit a little short.)  and i love my girls.  i can't wait to spend four solid days with renee and michelle, two girls that mean so much to me.  with all that 'everyday' stuff, it's not easy to get together like the old days...they both have children and we all have lives and work...and you know, life happens.

but this weekend...the sunshine...the ocean...the fresh air...will happen.  we will soak in every moment and enjoy the company of each other.  we will celebrate our friendship and relax with a good book.  we will swim in the pool and toast 'chrome' to our accomplishments.  we will enjoy massages on the beach and we will dance til we drop.

isn't that what a girl's trip is all about?  (i think so!)

enjoy your weekend as i know we will enjoy ours.  i'll be back next week to let you know all the awesome things we did and give you some tips i learn from my very own first cruise experience.

bon voyage!

=) andrea

Thursday, March 22, 2012


you know why i'm so excited and couldn't sleep last night?

did you see it?

yes!!!  tomorrow we embark on our cruise and i cannot wait!

don't worry, i'll be back tomorrow for a friday philosophy!

=) andrea

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

leaving on a jet plane...

yes, it's true.  i'm going on a getaway!  (and i need some advice.)

a couple months ago one of my girlfriends emailed everyone in our group... 

i have been scheming a girls long weekend!  i have been doing some research and want to throw it out there to see if anyone is interested...and bahamas is screaming our name!!!! 

i didn't need to hear any more...i was interested!  first, i love travelling.  second, i need more time with some of my girlfriends.  third, mike and i have never been apart for more than one night (a total of three separate occasions) and it's about time we miss each other, dontcha think?!

well, with budget talks, planned time off, emergency water heater replacements, etc., there is now a trip planned for three of us.  and we leave friday morning!  at about o-dark-thirty!

'what is this glorious trip you're taking andrea' you ask?

we're cruisin'!

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i've never been on a cruise and have always wanted to.  but, the whole being-on-a-boat-for-a-week thing didn't really get me excited.  a long weekend however? yes, sign me up!  (plus, it's easier on the wallet!)

once we figured out who could swing going and who (unfortunately) could not, we firmed up a budget and contacted a travel agent.  she came in over budget, but by less than $50, so we managed.  everything is included, flights, airport transfers, the cruise, and our food.  the only exclusion is alcohol, but again, we can manage.  ;-)

so i wanna find out any tips and tricks that you know of that will help me out.  and since i haven't started packing at all, i'm at square one and can welcome any advice you have for me, the virgin cruiser!

we'll be departing miami on friday, at sea until saturday morning, all day saturday in nassau, at sea all day sunday, and we arrive back in miami on monday morning.  yes, it will be a whirlwind trip, but i'm looking forward to every second!

i can't wait to just get on the ship and see everything.  to imagine being in a boat the size of the empire state building (on its side) is hard...all the decks, stores, restaurants, people...i just can't wait!  there will be so much to see and do, i'm sure i'll be ready to book another cruise the second i get back!

but now that we're cruising in three days (!!!) i really need to stop procrastinating and start packing!  here's my thought for stuff to pack (and it needs to include clothes for friday night, saturday, sunday, and my way home on monday):

two dresses
two bathing suits
one cover-up
one cardigan/sweatshirt
one skirt and/or shorts
three shirts
one pair of dress shoes
one pair of flip flops (that i'll wear during travel on friday)
underwear and bras (dur.)
toiletries (contact stuff, face wash, soap, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, razors,  toothbrush, toothpaste, makeup, lotion, sunscreen, etc.)

anything i'm forgetting?

over the next couple days, i'll be making lists and trying to pack everything i need, within reason, and leaving everything i don't need at let me know if you think of anything i should a virgin cruiser.

any advice you have is greatly appreciated!

=) andrea

it's the first day of spring!

so you know what i'm missing out on?

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yes, my beloved rita's italian ice.  i'm a huuuuge fan of their custard (think soft serve, only thicker, and yummier!) and since spring has spring in new hampshire, why can't a rita's italian ice shop spring up in my town?!

well, i hope you have a chance to get out there on this gorgeous day and enjoy your free rita's regular ice!

and you can thank me by snapping a photo of yourself with your ice (or just the ice, whatever) and post it on twitter!  go ahead and tag me!  and know that even though i'm very envious that i cannot enjoy this delicious springtime treat, i want you to go out an treat yourself! (and your wallet, since it's free!)

=) andrea

t.v. junkie: reality t.v.

because i love me some t.v., i'll be sharing with my thoughts on a certain genre or show in a post, and since t.v. programming is ever-changing, my posts have become a series.  (a few and far between series, but a series nonetheless.)

reality:  housewives and such

i love those 'real housewives', but only the californians. i could watch the beverly hills or orange county ladies all day long. i love the ridiculousness of their lifestyle and find them to be relatively real.  

let's start with bh:  i love me some lisa vanderpump!  she's funny and witty and downright smart.  i love that she and ken have been married for almost thirty years, and that they love their dogs like they love their children (pandora and max).  jiggy, the most often seen dog of ken and lisa, is an adorable little pomeranian who just loves to be dressed and made of.  i need a dog like that!

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the oc girls have changed since the beginning, but i still love to watch vicki.  she's nuts, but i can see why it works for her.  i actually have a new episode of oc to watch...and it makes me nervous for brianna, vicki's daughter.  having a cancer scare so young is just one should have to go through that!
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i've never suffered through been able to watch an episode of new jersey, they're too catty, rude, and over-the-top...and that's just the previews!  what about you?  can you sit through an episode of those jersey ladies?  what about atlanta?  never.  never for me.

new york was mildly entertaining, but i only watched for bethenny. now she's got her own show!  i love 'bethenny ever after'.  like lurve.  

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i love that bethenny is such a hard-working lady.  i love that she really built her own empire and makes practical choices for her business and her family.  and you know what else i love?  that she includes footage on her show of time with her therapist.  those intimate moments she shares about the innards of her crazy workaholic mommy brain are awesome.  i love the insight her therapist gives her because he's so straightforward and analytical.  he can see the way she works, how she gets to the point of stress or why she feels guilty for not being able to be everything to everyone all of the time.  i think as far as reality goes, bethenny has for more 'real' feelings and reactions than most others on t.v. do.  she has concerns about spending time with her family, she has goals for her business...she's a mom, wife, and successful businesswoman.  i can't even keep up with her on my dvr!

what about you?  have any reality guilty pleasures?  i just love my alone time in the morning on the weekends...i get to watch the programs mike hates and i love every second of it!

=) andrea

Friday, March 16, 2012

friday philosophy

sometimes i come across a quote that bears some kind of significance and i want to share it with you dear readers.  sometimes it's based on where i am in life or a certain event, sometimes a quote just reminds me of a friend, or sometimes it makes me think.  it's called 'friday philosophy' and i'm gonna keep it up weekly. (or try to!)

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in honor of st. patrick's day tomorrow, i had to share an irish quote, regardless of the fact that i am 0% irish.

i chose this particular one because i really like quotes that make you remember your life isn't so bad, despite our challenges.  sometimes a bad day can take over your mind, or in my case, money woes (or the fear of woes) cripple me.

but you know what?  i'm very grateful for all i have.  and i really do have a lot.

i have walls for the rain and a roof over my head...and it's a pretty cute apartment!  (i'll have to give you the grand tour soon!)

while i don't have a fireplace for a fire, i have heat to warm my body and i know enough to slow down sometimes and enjoy a cup of tea.  (especially if it's with a good book...or decorating magazine...or a trashy reality show!)

there's plenty of laughter in my life with the cast of characters that show up on a daily basis.  especially mike.  he's a funny guy.  i'm lucky to share my life with him!

i'm surrounded by my closest friends and family and am blessed to enjoy so much of my life with them.  (the only way it would make it better would be if i lived about a hundred yards from my bff with tunnels connecting our houses!)

and while 'all that my heart might desire' may include a few indulgences, my basic desires are very much taken care of and for that, i feel truly blessed.  (i mean seriously, i can survive, i can pay all my bills...including my credit cards that i was irresponsible, immature and extravagant about spending on...and if i can look back and learn from that and know i am not only in a better place, but will never be that frivolous again...makes me feel blessed all over again.  being capable of learning from your mistakes i think is a pretty big blessing.  and i still owe you a post about the whole money thing...will get to it...soon. ish.) 

i know i'm a lucky person.  (i mean, i've got you guys!!!)  but, what i mean is there are so many people in the world that are without.  without shelter...without someone to kiss their boo-boos...without nourishment...without the ability to learn...without technology...without water...without so much that we are so accustomed to.  so it's nice to take the time to remember that even when our lives are mundane or uneventful, we're still pretty lucky.

so, thank you readers for visiting and making me feel even more lucky and blessed.  i'm privileged to live where i do, with the life i have.  i really have everything i need.

happy st. patrick's day!

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=) andrea

Thursday, March 15, 2012

talent like whoa.

you wanna know what i learned from participating in the (unofficial) pinterest challenge?

there's a lot of talent out there!!!  (not that i didn't actually know that already, it was just confirmed and reinforced!)  i think going through the other blogs that linked-up their projects was just as fun as scouring pinterest to find the perfect project!  and i now have about 173 more things i'd like to make.

because of the huge variety of items (and their level of difficulty in creating) i just needed to share some of the ones that are now on my to-do list!

i absolutely love the nail and thread new hampshire piece i did, and as you read about here, i plan to make more of these things.  well, if you want to try something that isn't a state (or letters), check out this from laura at the butlers!

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and because i've also pinned this:

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i had to share this from jenna at two-oh-two-seven!  she used pages from magazines to cut the colorful strips!  love the variety of colors!  it looks awesome!

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i'm definitely in the mood to get make art to put on our walls.  i've pinned so many fun options, and seeing this from megan at diy project-aholic makes me wanna get on board with these paint chip pieces!  i've seen a few and just love how you can customize the colors you choose based on your room!

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and, since i'm on this art kick...i pinned this (like many others did too) and knew i could make it myself!

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but, now i know i can after seeing maria's version!

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isn't that great?  i love that she used solid colors.  i think i would use a mix of both patterns and solids!

here's another one...and it's so beautiful and sentimental.  carly, mom of johnnybug, created the same design, but used little johnny's scribbles to create the paper petals!  (brilliant way to keep your toddler's art, dontcha think?!?!)

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isn't that just a super cute way to incorporate those adorable scribbles into a piece of handmade art?!  i just love it.

while this next project may involve real money, it's still a penny pincher.  (oh, i kill myself!)  i (once again) also pinned the same inspiration piece.  check out how awesome these letters, made by bobily at the world through the eyes of ethan turned out!

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that's definitely on my list of things to make for our future kitchen!  plus, i just love copper, so it's a win-win!

one thing about getting a house (eventually) that i look forward to most is furnishing it with purpose.  i love the idea of reclaimed wood and re-purposing things to make them better.  we've got a great local place, vermont salvage, that offers a lot of neat things like old doors, windows, mantles, furniture, etc.  every time you go there's different stuff, so it's fun to think creatively.  which is exactly what the next folks did with their coffee table!

i couldn't be more in love with this lovely coffee table created from a salvaged door made by cane and rita from this (sorta) old life!!

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isn't that so rustic looking?  i love the pillow and blankets and the board game underneath.  this piece is really functional as well as looking vintage!

one thing we need desperately do not have yet is an ottoman...but look at this adorable one kathleen from projects at the pickett's put together!

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isn't that super cute?  it looks like a little toadstool!  well, maybe not, but it's cute as a button!

one part of my life that could use a little shape-up is my organization.  i'm not totally disorganized, but being really organized is helpful.  if you're like me and follow jen at iheartorganizing, you've seen dozens of ideas for re-organizing kitchens, bathrooms, offices, toys, cords, photos, etc.  well, i'm ready to get on board with my refrigerator.  it's a constant battle for me.  there's always stuff that's awkwardly sized or insisted on being kept or kept until it's rotten way too long.

well, take a look at steph's fridge from calculating blessings:

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unfortunately, my fridge isn't quite as awesome as hers.  but i have hopes that it can be.  we just need to 1. pare down on our condiments. (don't they get ridiculous?!) 2. label homes for different items.  and 3. contain items that are oddly shaped or just simply belong together (like those little yogurt containers!).

speaking of organization...i've gotten better, but in no means am i organized in the jewelry department.  marissa at everyday lounge act came up with an awesome diy jewelry organizer!

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isn't it terrific?!  especially for your 'everyday' jewelry that's in heavy rotation.  all the shiny jewelry pops off the dark background and everything has a place and isn't all tangled.  what a concept, right?!

maybe you already have a jewelry box, but want to jazz it up?  or jazz it down?  (did that sound stupid?)

well, with an inspiration picture of an old fashioned card catalogue, check out how sherry from pondered, primed, perfected made her jewelry box look like a vintage card catalogue!

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isn't it awesome the variety of things people come up with?!  and how awesome they all look?!  as if visiting pinterest hourly daily isn't inspiring enough, when you link-up with all these lovely bloggers, the possibilities really are endless!

so now i just have to decide...what will i make next?!  and what about you -- are there any projects you want to try?

i have to be honest, the next pinspired project i'll do will probably be in the kitchen.  pinterest is an awesome resource for recipes (and the photos of the delicious food makes my mouth water!).  i'm kinda thinking i'll make this for st. patrick's day on saturday!
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sound good to you?  come on over and we'll have hungry girl shamrock shakes!

in all things pinspired...

=) andrea

p.s.  don't forget, if you wanna join the pinterest craze and don't wanna wait for an invite, just click here and i'll get you one!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

pinterest challenge time!

i'm participating in the (unofficial) pinterest challenge, thought up by none other than the fabulous katie and sherry!  following their blogs and seeing that 'diy' is not only possible, but it's possibly the most fun way to make your house your home is super inspiring!  i can't wait to have a house to get all crazy-diy-blogger on it.  this challenge is a perfect opportunity to get our butts in gear and actually make something we've pinned on pinterest!  (if you're in need of an invite to the addictive world of pinterest, email me here.)

i love being creative, and making unique things is an awesome way to use my skills or learn new ones.  it's also a great way to fill my home with handmade items that really reflect who i am.

one thing about me that i love to share is that i'm from new hampshire.  gotta love our 'live free or die' state motto, right?!  well, there's also the beautiful birch trees, fragrant lilac bushes, and purple finches.  okay, what's with the state facts, jeez?  well, it's all part of my pinspired project!

first, i saw this (originally from curiously wrought on etsy that someone else had pinned as inspiration) and literally said out loud, 'i can make that!'  (maybe not as good, but i can!)

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then i clicked through to cathy's blog...she had been inspired by the  curiously wrought piece to make her own (arizona)...

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then i saw these awesome house numbers from amanda at our humble a{bowe}d...

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then i saw this to-die-for nursery art from dina at honey & fitz...

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and, after pinning and pining over these lovely nail and thread art pieces, i knew it would become my official pinterest challenge contestant!

so, i went out and picked up my supplies.  i thought about the colors of thread i wanted to use ahead of time, green and lilac.  i wasn't sure what to use for a board, but i thought i hit the jackpot when jo-ann's had a lovely piece of pine with a nice framed edge.

i got home and painted my board white.  i let it dry and lightly sanded it to remove any of the excess paint and/or pine dust.  i put the board down to organize the rest of the stuff i needed and the next time i looked at the little piece of pine...

womp womp.  =(  the board cracked before i even put any nails in it!  (it wasn't actually broken like the photo shows...i finished it off by breaking it in half and called it a day.)

i wasn't sure the cheap-o pine board i had picked up at the craft store would be capable of withstanding the pounding of the nails, but i knew i wasn't going to make the same mistake twice.  so, the next day i sent mike out to home depot to pick something up for me.  i wasn't sure if he was going to come home with plywood or another piece of pine or something different entirely, but i knew he'd get something that would work.  (as long as he couldn't easily break it in half with his hands like my failed piece of pine.)  i also had him get white stain while he was at it.  =)  (maybe the paint i used wasn't a good choice either.  oh well, live and learn.)

i came home to a terrific piece of pine that he cut into three pieces.  (now i get to make two more of these things!)  i stained it with one coat of white stain and let it dry.  after a light sanding i decided i liked the 'practically unfinished' look to it.  

i had my handy stencil of the state of new hampshire with a big red dot over my town.  i centered it on the board and taped it down.  (this is where i would've followed dina's instructions more carefully.  she had her stencil cut out and put the nails around the outside of the stencil.)  and i started pounding nails in about a quarter of an inch apart...right into the paper.  

i made my way around the stencil in about thirty five minutes, which was actually faster than i thought it would be.

{nice pajama pants, huh?}
then i had to rip out the paper.  it was kinda annoying.  because i hammered the nails right into the paper, there were little shreds of paper sticking out with the nails.  it was nothing tweezers couldn't handle, but it was a few extra minutes of ridiculousness.

then i had to start with the embroidery floss.  i wasn't exactly sure where or how to start, so i just the seacoast.  i used green thread for the state and lilac thread for the see where i was going with those state facts?! =)  (i don't have any in-progress photos of the threading part because mike was down for the count on the couch with a spasming back, so bear with me.)

like i said, i didn't have a clue where i was going or how it would look when i was done, i just kept going back and forth and across in different ways to create a neat look.

and you know what?  i think it looks pretty neat!

i made the heart a little more concentrated with the tread, just to make it stand out over the green (and in that tiny little heart!).  i think it turned out so great!  =) know what?  it's not done!  after thinking about it, i wanna jazz it up a bit.  for one, we live in an apartment, full of white walls.  (i wasn't really thinking when i stained it white, was i? at least it will stand out on a painted wall...eventually!)  so, i need to figure out exactly what i'm going to do to jazz it up...but i know it will make my awesome project even better!  maybe something involving birch bark.

and i can't wait to do more!  my bff is already in line for one of these new hampshire love pieces, but i was thinking of making one for my work too!  i work at a honda dealer and i think displaying the honda 'H' would be appropriate and i could see my artwork on a daily basis!  (and maybe get people to come visit mykindaperfect or ask about my creations!!)

check out what katie did over at bower power and what sherry did at young house love! and if you got here by clicking through from them...thanks for visiting! =)

what's next on the pinspiration list?  oh, so many things!  can't wait to share what i do next.

=) andrea

p.s.  go on over to facebook and like my page!

Monday, March 12, 2012

double whammy!

well, my sunday efforts turned out to be failures.


i was all excited to try to make meringue cookies for the first time for sunday yumday.  well, this is how they turned out:

if you think it looks like poop, you're right.  they didn't actually taste like it, but they were ooey and gooey and gross.


the other failure i can't really tell you about because it's for the pinterest challenge.  but, let's just say the failure involved a too-thin, too-soft piece of pine that cracked before i even did anything.  well, i had painted it, and that's it.

so, unfortunately, that's life.  sometimes you have successes.  sometimes you have failures.  but what counts is that i plan to try something else for my pinterest project tonight and i'll have to try a different meringue cookie recipe.  i'm suspicious the one i tried wasn't the best.

so....sorry i don't have something delicious (or creative) to share.  just my double whammy of failures!

i hope you had a more successful weekend!

=) andrea

Friday, March 9, 2012

friday philosophy

sometimes i come across a quote that bears some kind of significance and i want to share it with you dear readers.  sometimes it's based on where i am in life or a certain event, sometimes a quote just reminds me of a friend, or sometimes it makes me think.  it's called 'friday philosophy' and i'm gonna keep it up weekly. (or try to!)

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i love this quote.  and today, i dedicate it to my bff.

growing up as an only child i learned to make friends pretty well.  i've always had a lot of friends, people i see and hang out with in different places or for different reasons. they're all different enough to round out my circle of friends well, but similar enough that we make lasting connections.

but, there's one that's a little different.

if each of my friends were a color, my bff would have a little extra sparkle.  (you know, the one that stands out because it's a got a little somethin'-somethin'.)  

if each of my friends were a puzzle, my bff would be the one last piece that makes it all make sense.  (you know, that one that drives you insane until you figure it out and then you're filled with glee for finishing.)

if each of my friends were rocks, my bff would be the heaviest, most solid one.  (you know, the one you can rely on its strength.)

if each of my friends were feathers, my bff would be the lightest, fluffiest one.  (you know, the one that flies the highest and dreams the biggest.)

this girl and i are like two peas in a pod.  we have fun together...we craft together...we cook together...we are silent together...we cry together...we encourage each other...we eat together...we shop together...we celebrate together...we laugh together...we are honest with each other...we dream together...we commiserate together...we speculate together...we gossip together...

in short, we love each other.  every day.  no matter what.

we have hurdles we cross together because without the other, we probably wouldn't have the strength to make it through.

we have moments we celebrate together because we're crazy best friends who can celebrate the little things just as much as the big things.

and we have moments that we doubt everyone else in the world.  except each other.  (and our men.)

there are few things that happen in the course of ones' life that truly defines who our friends are.  we've never needed those things to happen to know we can rely on each other.  but, despite the tragedies in our lives, we will face them together.

because that's what friends do.

no matter what.

to my best friend:  you are my sister.  i'm absolutely convinced that this is true.  it may not be by blood or by name...but it's in our souls.  we are infinitely connected and i'm so grateful for our friendship it makes me sappy.  i love you for all your strengths...i love you for all your weaknesses...and i love you for everything in between.

and you know what?

i always will.

=) andrea
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