Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Bathroom Remodel

We finally finished the bathroom! Okay, so it wasn't a total remodel, mostly because we didn't have the money or time to truely rip out all the tile like we want to. However, we did repaint it and buy new hardware for the towel bars and curtain rod. I'm loving these little upgrades, especially paired with the new shower curtain.

When we bought the house, this bathroom was a horrible sky blue. This is also the same color our office/junk room is, but we haven't had the energy to even begin painting that room yet. Maybe someday, yes, I'm sure someday we will paint the office. Or, we'll hire someone to do it. Yes, that sounds like a better plan.

This is what our bathroom looked like for the first 14 months we owned this house. Sorry the quality of the picture isn't very good. I took these when we first bought the house, before I ever even thought about blogging about this.

And here's that office we're avoiding:

Back to the bathroom. So in December I finally decided I wanted to paint the bathroom. Given the blue and white tile on the walls, our color options were slightly limited, but I decided I really liked the idea of painting it a gray color. At this point I was determined and excited to paint. I immediately got out the primer and spent the weekend prepping and priming the walls. A very short time later, I lost steam and our bathroom looked like this for the next 4 months.

Finally, fast forward 4 months to the last weekend of March. The winter has been long and I have been couped up inside for a long time. All that time I sat around, I could have been painting our bathroom. And now Spring was upon us and I still hadn't managed to paint the bathroom. Failure. Once again I became determined. Chase and I finally found a new shower curtain (we wanted to make sure we had one that matched our paint sample) and bought the paint.

I should say that technically this still is not completed as I still need to repaint the trim around the window and on the door frame. However, I'm losing steam again so this may take awhile to get around to.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thursday love

I love Thursdays. Seriously, they are my favorite day of the week. Most people love Fridays, as Rebecca Black has thankfully pointed out for us lately, but I have always loved Thursdays, and here's why:

1. They are full of hope--I mean, tomorrow is Friday afterall, who can't be happy about that?

2. Thursday is the best night on television--Between the comedies on NBC, my sick addiction to Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice, and the foodie shows we record, our DVR is on overdrive every Thursday.

3. I play in a volleyball league on Thursday nights--I'm particularly excited about this one because the league starts up again in only 2 weeks!

4. Royal's Opening Day is on a Thursday--Okay, so this reason doesn't always count since opening day is only once a year, but it has been a source of recent excitement for me because Opening Day is NEXT THURSDAY! And I will be there, cheering on relish in the hot dog derby!

Hmmm, maybe I didn't have as many reasons for loving Thursday as I thought. It seems like I used to be able to list more reasons (Thursday has been my favorite day for a long time now), but I can't think of them right now. It doesn't matter, the first 2 reasons are enough for me to continue holding true to my Thursday love.

What's your favorite day of the week?

And because it's difficult to express Thursday love through pictures, I'll leave you with this gem to check out.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Tour of St. Louis Food

It’s been two weeks since my last posting. I would like to have some sort of excuse, like giving up chocolate and coffee put my body into survival mode and I spent the last two weeks using all my effort and energy just to get through the workday and back home at night. But that would be a lie. The lack of coffee has been surprisingly easy, speaking solely from an energy stance. I miss it, that’s for sure. It seems every single item I pick up at the grocery store is either chocolate or coffee flavored these days. I even found myself gazing longingly at items I would never purchase any other day simply because they are part of the heavenly food group-chocolate. 31 Days left until Easter. Wow, this is going to be a long 31 days.

On a much brighter note, I can honestly say I’ve been away from my blogging because we have been very busy the past few weeks. Two weekends ago my husband and I travelled to St. Louis for some much needed R&R. In reality, Chase had to be there Sunday to perform in a concert with the Kansas City Wind Symphony, but Friday night and Saturday were spent relaxing, and mostly eating, with good friends. Somehow we managed to visit 7 different restaurants/bars over the course of Friday evening through Sunday evening. Each was delicious and our only regret is that we didn’t take pictures of all the scrumptious food we ate! So instead, I’ll recap all the places we went with some stock photos from my friend Google Images. Warning: This post contains the word "delicious" more than any post really should. I need more synonymns for delicious.

Deweys: Big shout-out to Mike and Adam for taking us here. This pizza joint had a moderate wait, good service, and excellent pizza and salads. Chase had the walnut salad and I had the Greek Salad (which I didn’t love but I’m completely partial to Panera’s Greek Salad. Seriously, I have dreams about that salad.) Our pizza was delicious though. We couldn’t decide between all the delicious options so we split the pizza half and half-one part Bronx Bomber, one part Edgar Allan Poe.

Fro-Yo: After Dewey’s we headed back to the Delmar Loop for some Fro-Yo. I love ice cream, but even more, I love chocolate ice cream, or ice cream with chocolate candies and toppings mixed in. Fro-Yo had so many delectable looking chocolate flavors and we couldn’t try any of them! I don’t recommend going here during Lent if you have given up chocolate. Yes, my New York Cheesecake flavored Fro-Yo with strawberries on top was satisfactory, but it wasn’t chocolate. In Kansas City we have a number of these “make your own” frozen yogurt places that I’ve been wanting to try. I’ll be waiting until after Lent.

LeGrand’s Market: For lunch Saturday Mike took us to LeGrand’s. He loves this place so much he was giddy with excitement the whole drive. I’m pretty sure he was doing a happy dance in his head the whole morning in anticipation. Once again Chase and I could not decide on just one item, so we each got a different sandwich and shared half with each other. We ordered the Curious Scooter on a hot sub and Edmonds on a cold sub. Both were really good, but since I’m a fan of hot sandwiches, the Curious Scooter was my favorite.

Kobe Steakhouse: Saturday night’s dinner was with a group of my girlfriends from college and a few of their husbands. We went to Kobe Steakhouse in Westport. It’s your typical Japanese Steakhouse with all the typical flare while cooking. The food was average, but my friend was heartbroken when she found out they do not have the “yum-yum” sauce-The mayo based yellow sauce found at most Japanese Steakhouses. The highlight of our night here was definitely the egg shell that got thrown at my face during the “show”.

Katie’s Pizzeria: Sunday afternoon Chase had to be at UMSL for an early rehearsal so I had a chance to meet my lovely friend Abby for lunch. She took me to this charming pizzeria in Clayton that was delicious. We both ordered the lunch special which consisted of the salad of your choice and a personal 7-inch pizza. For my salad I ordered Katie’s Caprese, which made me long for summer on what was a pretty chilly (almost-Spring) day. There was so much mozzarella on the plate that I was getting full before the pizza even came. The bread they brought out when we first sat down may have also contributed to this feeling. Either way, it was all delicious. I didn’t finish my Salami, onion, crushed red pepper, kalamata olives, and fresh mozzarella pizza, but I ate enough to know that it too was delicious. Although, upon a closer look at the menu, I’m starting to wish I had felt brave enough that day to try the Squash blossom, Cherry Tomato, and Goat Cheese pizza. Ever since I saw squash blossoms used on Chopped, I’ve been wanting to try them.

Lion’s Choice: Okay, so this is NOT a gourmet restaurant, or even a fun local eatery. However, my husband loves this place—and we cannot get it in Kansas City—so this is always a must-have for him when we go to St. Louis. With all the other options I just listed above, I do not recommend wasting your time and tastebuds eating fast food in St. Louis.

What's your favorite eatery in St. Louis?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A life without coffee is no life at all

I believe humans get a lot done, not because we're smart, but because we have thumbs so we can make coffee. ~Flash Rosenberg

The season of Lent begins tomorrow so, as usual, I spent last week frantically pouring over what I should give up for the next 40 days. After much thought, and maybe a few tears, I have decided to give up coffee and chocolate. There have probably been a few days lately where my love for chocolate has outweighed my love my for husband, which makes me wonder if it's a little out of control. I'm sure this is normal, but just for sanity sake, I feel I could probably benefit from a chocolate fast. I think I may use this time to perfect my sugar cookie baking abilities since my standard chocolate chip is clearly out the window.

Sadly I cannot bake things like this either. Doesn't it look delicious?

The decision to fast coffee as well is to remind me daily of this sacrifice. During the workweek, I easily drink 2-3 cups of coffee every morning, some days more. Giving this up will be an extremely difficult sacrifice that just won't be soothed by the Green Tea I'll be substituting in for the season. I like Green Tea, but somehow it seems like the junior varsity player to my varsity team of coffee. It's like coffee got put on the injured list and I had to call up a player from the minor leagues. They may fill the spot but they will never fill the void. Don't worry coffee, I will return to you one day. You will not be forgotten.

On the bright side, Chase has agreed to do this with me. I don't think he's as devestated about the coffee, despite his morning shot of mocha from the vending machine at work. Are you giving up anything for Lent?

Friday, March 4, 2011

What's in your purse?

Remember last week when I only had 3 items on my to-do list and I failed to complete them? Well I can finally check off that last item! With Chase's help, we got our dining room decorations hung up Wednesday evening. I must give a huge shoutout to my mother in law because, not only did she give me the adorable pink and purple apron hanging up, but she gave me the idea to hang it on the wall instead of stashing it away in a lonely drawer only to come out with the flour and sugar. Now the adorable apron is always on display!

See the picture above? I was going through my purse today and discovered I had 5 lists in there. Yes, 5. Sometimes I fear I'm a little crazy, but then I make a list of why I'm not crazy and it reassures me that all is okay. Three of the lists are to-do lists, all written at different times, all only about half finsihed, but none seem to have the same stuff on them. Strange. List four is a listing of our dinners I've planned for the next week, and the last was the grocery list for tomorrows long overdue trip to the store. Seriously, our fridge looks like a single guy lives here. To show you I'm not exaggerating, I've taken a picture. It somehow seems even more sad looking at it in the picture.

So what could I possibly have to do that I managed to write 3 separate to-do lists?
1. Read my gardening book to start planning my garden-I'm just really excited for spring!
2. Paint the bathroom-Our front bathroom has been primed since the beginning of December and we haven't even picked a color yet. Pathetic.
3. Finish (or start?) our wedding scrapbook-In all fairness, I have started one, I just don't know if I like it. Maybe I'll give it to my parents and make a new one for Chase and I, who knows.
4. Repot the plant that is on our mantel. This is a plant I took home last year after my uncle's funeral. Somehow I only managed to kill half of it this year so I'm thinking I should repot the other half in hopes that it survives.
5. Decorate clip boards to store lists on! I know this sounds crazy, but I really like organization and I found this adorable idea to decorate clip boards to assign a place for things like the grocery list.
6. Schedule Boulevard Brewery Tour. This is something Chase and I have wanted to do for a really long time. Who wants to join?
7. Frame wedding posters. We had these awesome movie posters made for our wedding and want to hang a few in our house, but have yet to get them framed. It's only been 5 months, what's the acceptable amount of time for this to take? I figure we haven't printed any wedding pictures yet so we should probably do that before worrying about the poster frames.
8. Print wedding pictures-Okay, this one was not actually on any of the lists but number 7 made me feel like I should add it.

Those are the things that I havent' gotten done. There were about 10 other items between the 3 lists that I had completed, so I guess I'm running at about 60%. If I were in school, this would a be a D. I guess I should either 1. Get better at completing my lists; or 2. Make shorter and easier lists. I'll probably have to go with option 2.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Oatmeal and Jumping to Conclusions

Don’t you hate it when people report news without really doing any research on the facts? One of my biggest pet peeves while listening to the radio in my morning drive is when they report on some new study or finding and try to discuss it. Undoubtedly the newscaster has never done any research on the issue. Case in point, on my morning commute today, K-Love reported that McDonalds new Oatmeal option has as much sugar as a snickers bar. Is anyone really surprised that McDonalds “healthy” option isn’t exactly “healthy”? To my pleasant surprise, one of the anchors (Lisa, maybe? I can’t ever remember their names) points out that while it does have a lot of sugar, the oatmeal also has a lot more nutrients and other health benefits that McD’s other menu options do not offer. I fully agree with this point and personally get frustrated when people get too caught up on one nutrition fact, like sugar. Sugar is not the only evil in the world of nutrition.

Anyway, as the morning hosts are discussing this “finding”, one of them asks about the amount of sugar in flavored oatmeal packs you would buy at the store (you know, like Quaker Instant Oatmeal-Maple and Brown Sugar flavored). To which another anchor says they have “a lot” of sugar and they all agree that they probably have about the same amount of sugar as the McD’s oatmeal. This is where I got frustrated. This is a completely false statement and jumping to these conclusions just gives people a false sense that McD’s oatmeal is equivalent to their store bought stuff. Is this really the message we need to send to people?

Because I like facts, I looked this all up as soon as I got to work. So that you too can be an informed consumer, you should know:
1. A Snickers bar has 29 grams of sugar-that’s a lot, but not enough to make me stop eating Snickers once in awhile
2. McDonalds Fruit and Maple Oatmeal has 32 grams of sugar-considering how much extra sugar is in this compared to store bought oatmeal, this is enough to make me never order it.
3. Quaker Instant Oatmeal has 9 grams of sugar-Only 9 grams? Yup! Quite a bit less than a snickers bar and the McD’s oatmeal.

But there’s more! If you are concerned about sugar (and other nutritional information-which we all should be to a degree), Quaker does offer a Low Sugar variety of oatmeal that only has 4 grams of sugar. HOWEVER, I highly recommend Quaker Weight Control Oatmeal. It only has 1 gram of sugar! Just ONE! And it has more protein and fiber than the regular stuff. Plus the handy single serving size bags are perfect for those of us who can’t get out of bed 10 minutes earlier to eat it at home. I just throw it in my purse and eat it once I get to work!

Unfortunately, Quaker did not pay me any money to write this entry. I just really struggle to get out of bed and rely on my oatmeal packets to keep my breakfast fast, easy, and mostly healthy. I’ve spent a lot of time in the cereal aisle “examining” the nutritional labels on all the different brands of oatmeal to pick what I believe is one of the better options. What do you eat for breakfast?