Sunday, March 27, 2011

Blow up "Brian"

Well, it was quite the weekend. All I have to say is that I'm off to bed VERY early to catch up on lost sleep from a crazy, but AMAZING, weekend celebrating the soon-to-be-bride, Miss CKells :) It was so much fun. For now, I leave with you with a little taste of the evening we had on Saturday by introducing you to the star of the night....Blow up "Brian"

The bride to be and him kicked off the evening by sharing a drink together. So romantic.

He stole a dance (or two...) with some of the other girls...

And got a little wild and crazy with some of the girls on the bus!

I'm guessing he partied a little too hard because he was "po(o)(p)ed" at Shark Bar (which ironically was our entire party, as we were kicked out), because he ended the weekend at my house on the floor, looking a little like this...

Poor blow up Brian. But that's about how I'm sure most of the weekend participants feel as well!

More to come.....but overall, what a fun weekend! Can't wait to hang out with everyone again in Mexico - and I'm holding LeighAnne to her "food crawl" idea at the resort - my mouth is watering just thinking about many more days?!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A day off...

So I'm not going to lie, on a normal planner tends to look like THIS:

With grad school until 10PM on Monday nights, Pi Phi emails to answer/people to call sprinkled in, meetings in the evening for other volunteer things, dinner/happy hours with friends, working out, and you know...the whole relaxing and spending time with Jimmy and my pups...the weeks just go by way too fast!  And if you didn't notice from the posts from February, I was out of town all 3 weekends.  Goodbye trying to "catch up" on anything on the weekends - including sleep.

So it happened - mid February I looked ahead a few weeks to the first week in March and there it was.  A free day at work.  No meetings, nothing.  So I jumped on it and told my boss I was going to take the day off - for no darn reason at all except I wanted to.  Now you might that is normal, but after getting the day off and putting "PTO" in my calendar without "flying here", "be here at 8AM", "drive here"...I was so pumped.  I couldn't believe it.  I was actually using one of the adult priveleges in life of paid time off...for no darn reason other than I wanted to.  After being out of college for 4 years, it was a first for me and I was determined to make use of the whole day and not feel bad at all!!

It started at 8:15AM.  I slept in through Jimmy getting up and going to work and then hopped out of bed excited to get my first workout of the week in (pathetic, I know...since it was already Friday, but it was a rough week!!). 

I was off to 24 hour Fitness in Shawnee, so a 15 min or so drive away because at 9AM they had my favorite work out class - Turbo Kick Boxing.  I was the first one there and I was only like 2 min early so it really freaked me out because the evening classes people get there like 10 min early to just get a spot.  Finally - a few more people came in, but WOW wish I could go that class time everyday because it was so nice!  I did feel weird driving around town in the middle of the day on a Friday - like I was "doing something wrong" by not being at work, but I made myself get over that quickly :)

Next up - off to the post office to mail my long overdue passport application with my married name on it for our trip to Mexico in May for Courtney and Brian's wedding!!!  Then of course, using a coupon at True Value to by some spray paint for my day off house project!

Then I was off to Hy-Vee with my lengthy shopping list to pick up the goods for my third time around of the 30 meals in 1 day!  I was planning on cooking that Sunday, but ended up having to put it off until the next weekend, but I got it done again - with all new recipes this time!  YUM!  My favorite thing?  Look at how organized the grocery list they give you is based off your recipes - all organized by category in the grocery store!

Finally, in between coats of spray paint, it was time for some "me" time.  I picked up the red box movie "Yes, man" with Jim Carrey, made a snack (thanks Lauren G for the Jalapeno jelly you left from bunco - I LOVE that stuff!!) that Jimmy would never eat with me and probably think I'm gross for eating only that and popped in a movie for some down time/quality time just sitting with all the dogs (can you find them all in the picture!!?)

It was just what I needed!  Then I got dressed and headed downtown to meet Jimmy and our work friends for happy hour!  I had to document my day with these stupid mirror bathroom pictures if you can't tell!

The group at Harry's Country Club!  It was also a good bye celebration, as Pat was moving on to another job - so it was great to get together!  (Katie - I know you always complain I never put pics on facebook and yes, this one made it to the blog before facebok - but I will get it up soon!)

After happy hour, Jimmy and I headed to Merriam (after a quick stop at McDonalds in which I shoved a double cheeseburger and fries in my purse for Jimmy to eat and he stuck two drinks in his coat - oops!  we didn't have time for dinner!) Cinemark theater to watch Hall Pass.  It was actually pretty funny and I liked it - however, the crowd was probably more amusing.  Between the HUGE line to get your ticket stub torn, to the teenage girls singing a full song at the front of the movie theater before the movie started and the people that talked (in Spanish....really loud) the whole movie sitting next to me...I think we have decided to go to other theaters from now on...especially on a Friday night :)

Overall - it was an AWESOME day off! Even though I was quite busy, it was awesome not to have a set schedule and do what I want, when I want :)  I might just have to take a free day of PTO for "no reason" again soon!  But with some vacations coming up, I probably won't.  However, it does everyone good every once and a while!!!! 

Have you ever taken a day off "just because"?  What did you do?!?!  I think I am going to have to have a few more of these.......

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Can't stop smiling!!

Why!? Because all these wonderful people I love so much in my life have such wonderful things going on!!! Case in point:
1 - Emily is engaged - and she is already rolling along with the planning!!
2- Katie is engaged - and getting married this summer!!! YEAH!
3- Lauren and Cory just announced yesterday they are having a baby in October----ahhh!!! I love it!! So excited for them! You can bet this baby is going to get lots of Pi Phi loving...
4- My sister is graduating from college in May...holy cow she's a grown up!
5 - Erica and her hubby are in Omaha in their new house - TOGETHER - so excited for them!
And I'm excited for this weekend for Courtney's shower and bachelorette party (and to see her awesome twin sister, Ashley!!) - can't wait to help celebrate with her before we all meet back up again in Mexico for her fabulous wedding!!!!!!!! Loving these things!! Yeah for great news and happy friends and family :)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Am I crazy? Probably...

On the actions described in this post - I'm going to claim it's due to the fact that I'm a crazy finance person. Or accountant-like person. Either or. I like things in their place. I like a plan. I like knowing what is when and where. You know, like an auditor? :) Except it has NOTHING to do with work. It's life. It's what happens when you have way too much freezer space in your house, combined with not wanting to "waste things", in addition to...going nuts when I open my freezer door and I see THIS:

AHHHH!!! What is in here? How old is it? NO CLUE. And what makes me the most mad is half the time I buy something at the grocery store (perfect example on this one - frozen corn!!) because I think I don't have it and it's lurking in the dark abyss of our deep freeze because I was too lazy to walk in the basement and sift through the mounds of freezing food to locate my bag of frozen corn I didn't need to "waste" $1 at the store. Ok, point taken. It's just $1. But really - I have 5 bags of frozen corn! I mean what person needs that much!?!?! Insanity I say.

Oh and better yet, remember, I cook 30 meals in one day. That means 30 separate freezer bags and/or foil baking dishes with our food for the next month or so. I even have the software that prints off a handy dandy list to hang on your fridge. Have I ever used it? NOPE. So I find myself sifting through the dark abyss of the garage-turned-basement freezer portion of that refridgerator each Sunday looking around for meals to defrost for the week that I thought were there.....AHHHH!! Wasted time. Inefficient processes. I can't stand them!! Maybe it was my calling to be an industrial engineer and I just missed it....or maybe it was my LEAN/Six Sigma training and the process improvement projects I was on in my previous life as a consultant. Either way, I hate inefficiencies with a capital H.

Finally, a glimpse of the minimal space in our kitchen freezer that can't open all the way (annoying)....but yet I have somehow managed to stuff lots of stuff in that I can't find ever. Sweet life.

Insert 35 minutes of my day on Sunday. Armed and dangerous (sweats and a long sleeve shirt were necessary even though it was a gorgeous 70+ degrees out) with my computer, excel and an eye for expiration dates.

I went through all 3 freezers...put them in different tabs in the same workbook...and BOOM. Knocked it out. Pulled each and everything out. That's how I found out I have 5, yes 5, bags of frozen corn. Guess Jimmy should know what the side dish of choice will be in our house the next few weeks....haha.

Even more disgusting than how weird you are thinking I am because I'm talking about this - I seriously found this bag of frozen breaded chicken that I bought in 2008....when I lived in my condo downtown. So apparently I was cheap enough to take it out of my condo freezer, put it in my parents freezer when my dogs and I were in limbo...and then take it to our house and put it in that freezer. Seriously? Gross and weird. The bag was probably like $6 max. I need to get a life. Anyways, that is gone now (thank goodness frozen stuff doesn't rot or smell) and all the freezers now have a little something that looks like this on the outside of them with a list of everything in it and the "amount". So that would be in pounds for meat or number of bags/items for anything else. 1/2 bag was a common metric...I'm sure that doesn't surprise you though!!

So why did I do this besides the fact I'm a complete crazy person and I just really wanted my husband to look at me like "are you serious?" when I told him he needs to mark stuff off the list when he takes it out of the freezer (ok, let's get real - he doesn't really take stuff out unless I ask him to)? I did it because I just felt like I was wasting money. Buying the same thing at the grocery store that was hidden in my freezer. I felt like I can utilize what I have more and cook from that instead of going to the store and spending more $$. Chances are...if it's in the freezer, that means I got a really good deal on it and it was on sale - so I had the typical impulse that said "I need to buy 15 because if I don't, I will die". Just another waste of money on my part.

There you have it. Call me crazy or call me organized. Either way, I have to say I have already snuck down to the freezer twice after I organized it and breathed a wonderful sigh of relief to see it somewhat organized and feel like I am in "control" of my freezer and it has not overtaken me and my wallet. Is there anyone else out there that has something that just drives them nuts that's kind of kooky? I bet there is..... :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

On a roll: house project in-progress

There are lots of things going on at our house right now and lots of new house projects (a few MAJOR) that have emerged in the last few weeks. So I thought I would share a few of these exciting developments!!

First - it's confirmed: we have hardwood floors underneath all the carpet in our upstairs (bedrooms and hallway). Pretty exciting because I love hardwood floors and since we already have them in the living room/dining room/entry way, it will be awesome to have the same ones (original to the house) upstairs.

I found it by pulling up some carpet in a spot by our master bathroom.

Then my dad and I went around to every room, closet and hallway and pulled up the carpet to see if it was everywhere...and it was! The best part?! We pulled up the carpet on the stairs to take a peek and the stairs are beautiful! Nice wood that has a rounded top on the stairs and even molding underneath - I am in love!

Jimmy did a trial and pulled up the carpet in the guest room closet (luckily I organized/cleaned it out!!) to see what kind of condition we were working with. Here is it - we are hoping that the people that used these before had lots of high heels that they threw in the closet because we really don't want the rest of the floors to look like this because we'll have to refinish all of them. But we're taking it one step at a time...excited they are there, but waiting to finish project #2 in the mean time :)

And project #2. Which is "in-progress" currently. Let me explain, but I will show you the in-progress pictures first:

Ok, so that is our garage (see before pictures HERE). Why the heck are we building a wall in our garage? Glad you asked :) So the way our house works (side-by-side split) is that we have the family room on the same level as the garage. So when you walk in the door to the garage, you walk into the family room. But we also have a basement that is where Jimmy's new "man cave" is located (also a work in progress) and our washer and dryer. To get to the basement, you have to walk in the garage. Annoying? Yes...mainly because the laundry is down there and dragging out laundry baskets down 3 flights of stairs and through 2 doors is not very fun. But really, I feel like because you have to walk through the garage it feels like the basement is less a part of our house and we don't use the space down there as much as we should. However, I had never ever thought of putting in a wall/hallway.

That's when my obsession with open houses comes in. I told you once that I pretty much stalked the house 3 doors down from us during it's 2 open houses on 2 Sunday's in a row. Well they had made a little hallway that turned their basement entrance into an "indoor entrance" vs a "garage entrance". I saw that at their house and my brain started churning. Could we make it happen at our house? What kind of garage space will we have to give up? Enter in my dad aka our resident handy man. I called him up, asked him about it, told him he needed to come check out the house down the street for himself and the rest is history. Even better since he is on spring break this week, so the project is in full swing! It's always fun to get home from work and see all that he did during the day and then he walks me through it all :)

In further detail, where you see the framing, that will be sheetrock and inside that will be a little hallway that we will probably tile. The vent that is silver will be covered with sheetrock also, so that will just make the ceiling a little lower in that area, but we are cutting a hole in that and putting in an additional vent to make sure the hallway is heated/cooled as well. And the great news? Both of our cars still fit in the garage!

The final project I have i the works is actually down in the basement in an attempt to transform a basement in to more of a "homey" room. We saw this while we were at the Chef in Manhattan eating breakfast and I thought it was so cool!!! So I'm going to take the old window frames below that I bought off of craigslist yesterday for $20 total (only $5/each!!) and hand them on the windows in the basement.

See the small kind of gross looking windows in the basement? So the window frames are the same width and they will just go on top of the windows. Then I'm going to put some sort of paper behind the part of the frame that you see the concrete wall so it gives the illusion that the window is bigger than it actually is! Does that make sense? I'm not sure how exactly it will work out, but I'm going to give it a try!! How's that for crafty?!

And...that's all for now :) I really thought house projects were on hold for awhile because there wasn't anything I was DYING to get done, but I guess I was wrong and things have changed! So look forward to some fun posts on the wood floor saga, the basement hallway and some new windows! YEAH!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Makin me nervous

Does anyone out there have a flat screen TV hung to their wall? Oh who am I kidding...I feel like everyone now has a TV hanging from their wall/fireplace/etc. Well, welcome Jimmy and Brittany to reality. As we are updating and getting the man cave in official "man cave" condition, one of the big things we did was move Jimmy's huge 55" plasma TV down there. We did a little shifting of TVs upstairs and ended up getting a new TV for the living room that is a little smaller and looks great. I'm actually thrilled with this move because I think the TV that is now in the family room "fits" better. Now getting Direct TV to update our box to get us an additional HD box...well that is another story my that that I hope is resolved soon and doesn't involve us spending over half of what we spent on the actual TV to get a new box. Ridiculous. As a new customer of theirs, we are not-so-thrilled about that, but we will see how it ends up, right? I'm not giving in.

Anyways - this was intended to be a super short post - guess you know how that goes :) Last week we ordered a TV wall mount that has like 180 degrees of movement for the 55" that Jimmy has downstairs. When I was at class on Monday night, Jimmy got it all bolted into the wall, etc and when I got home he had me help him get the TV on the mount. And after a quick fight (don't ask - it involved the shelving unit you see below the TV in the pictures), we were thrilled with how the TV looked and all the ways you can move it to get a good view anywhere in the room. The only thing that left me on edge and made me super nervous was the super expensive TV just hanging on the wall. Like how odd is that when you really think about it? So I started questioning Jimmy to make sure that he put up the mount right and had nightmares that I woke up to a broken TV. The good news the morning, it was still on the wall and still looked good. I guess my nervousness was just because it was a "first time" thing for us hanging a TV on the wall....I know they wouldn't sell mounts that dropped TVs (DUH) but still. I freak out about weird things, what can I say?

Side view of the swivel mount and a front view of the TV with the nice closet maid storage unit I got for Jimmy and put together. Don't you like the red and blue that I got for him for KU? I am such a great wife :)

Do on-the-wall-mounts make anyone else nervous? Do you find them very useful and awesome and a great space saver? I have a feel I will relaly like it....but for now I'm just dreading walking downstairs one day to see a TV in a million pieces...

Monday, March 14, 2011

Emily gets engaged!!

Well it must be a trend with some of my best friends....because GUESS WHAT!? Emily and Jeff got engaged this weekend!!! SOOO awesome and exciting! It has been fun to be a part of their relationship from their very first date and the conversation with her right after it - I swear she was in love then - to getting to see how happy and excited they were Saturday night after he proposed!

She had an inkling that it was coming soon...she even called me on Thursday night and told me that he asked her to go to Plaza III on Saturday (fancy restaurant on the Country Club Plaza) night and get all dressed up and asked if I thought it was going to happen then!! I said I didn't think so (luckily I wasn't like - OMG yeah he totally is going to because apparently it set her off that I said maybe because she thought if he was I would for sure try to convince her he wasn't - she is sneaky!!), but maybe, but really had no idea. So when I got a text message from Jeff on Friday when I was at work I FREAKED out in excitement...and then proceeded to avoid talking to her on the phone until Saturday because I didn't want her to know I knew. That's really not fair because she had to go on a weekend trip with me and spend the whole day prior to me getting engaged and she knew the whole I should have been able to handle it, but I just decided I could avoid her :)

They walked into the house and were SO excited! Jeff had called her whole family to be there to congratulate them and we just tagged along. It was so fun seeing her face tell the story about how she really didn't think it was going to happen that night after they went to dinner and then BOOM - she saw the ring and freaked out!! Haha. I would have loved to been in that gelatto shop at that moment!!

Here they are so happy!!

And check out that BLING! Gorgeous! They customized it and has this awesome design on the side that is gorgeous!

More bling with the guy that gave it to her! we are. :)

I'm loving this! And so pretty - I needed a closer look :)

Congrats you two!!! Cannot wait for all the wedding fun to begin! Emily said today Sharon is already busy planning away, which I'm sure she is!!!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Rainy day fun

So this is what I can see now from my kitchen after our "cheap transformation"...which is the dining room. And for some reason, every time I looked at it - I just see LOTS of brown. I mean I love brown, don't get me wrong, but for some reason, this sight started to bother me. With the wall color (which I love) and all the brown furniture, I decided it was time for a change. But a cheap change. Bold. Cheap. Good adjectives and description for house projects, right? :)

Enter this type of spray paint. No need for sanding. Sticks on wood. I did a test on some bar stools that the old owners of our house left that I was VERY happy with, so I bought a few (three) more cans on a Friday that I took off to "relax".

And what a wonderful day to be spray painting :) Garage door up, temperature was perfect (not too hot, not too cold) and some nice rain to remind me spring is just around the corner!!

So here they are - sans the seat cushions that my mom and I expertly recovered!

So 2 coats later on the 4 chairs - I give you the finished product and new view from my kitchen :) I love the black. Nice contrast. I'm up for ideas/thoughts/opinions on what to do with the table and china cabinet. Its all nice furniture, but we got it for cheap on craigslist, so I'm not shy to experiment. I was thinking first to do the whole table and then evaluate potential next steps....hmmm?? Decisions, decisions.

Close up of the chairs. It's funny and amazing what spray paint can do, huh? Especially the nice $6/can spray paint. Hey for an afternoon project with this result, the expensive stuff was well worth it because I didn't have to sand/paint every nook and cranny of these chairs!

Love it. Next project please with this fast of results :) If only they were all this easy and gave instant gratification right?!