Friday, November 18, 2011

Advent Consipiracy: Rethinking Christmas

(Photo courtesy of Living Water International,

Christmas is great. I love Christmas.

But, Christmas is also depressing. annoying. plain sad.

People act like fools to purchase stuff for people.  Others think how much you spend is commensurate with their love. You get loads of stuff you don't really want.

My husband and I aren't big on gifts.  Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries.  We just don't value stuff that much. We'd rather take a trip or go out to dinner.

Last year we decided to break the unending cycle of racking our brains to come up with a decent present for everyone on our list.  Instead, we participated in the Advent Conspiracy (although we didn't realize it at the time).

The tenants (so to speak) of Advent Conspiracy?
  • Worship fully
  • Spend less
  • Give more
  • Love all
The idea is that instead of spending a ton on worthless, material things, make some presents, spend some time with people, and give some money away.

We wrote everyone a note and gave them a small token (some chocolate, I think).  Then, we donated our Christmas budget to Living Water International.

And, surprisingly, it went over very well.  I thought my family and friends would think we were either crazy or cheap.  But, mostly everyone thought it was a good idea.

So, we're doing it again this year. 

I'm planning on making some homemade gifts this year.  Right now I'm thinking:

*Applesauce* & *Applebutter*


I've done a little bit of canning, so I think I can handle it.  (Blog post to follow!)

I'll come up with some more ideas before long (thanks to Pinterest)!

This year I urge you to:
  • Rethink Christmas
  • Spend less
  • Give more away
  • Celebrate Jesus
  • Love all.

Friday, November 4, 2011

It Worked! How to Grow Green Onions

I've become addicted to Pinterest.  Seriously.

I was recently intrigued by a pin that suggested saving the white green onion bottoms and planting them.  Well, I hate buying green onions.  I never use the whole bunch, and they get slimy and limp.  Bleh.

It just so happens I recently picked up some green onions from the store.  I have tons of planters and I had some dirt, so naturally I decided to plant the little guys to see if they'd actually grow.  The green onions I bought were just from the grocery store.  I wasn't expecting much.

And then the magic that is gardening happened.  They grew.  They are growing.  Regular green onions from the store.  Nothing special.

It made me think: why have I never thought of this before?  I'll never have to buy green onions again.  (Well, unless I kill them).

This little bit of gardening is getting me excited to start my real backyard garden!  I think I'm going to try garlic.  Fall is the time to plant, and spring the time to harvest.  And, I'm planning on starting a compost pile soon.  I just need to pick up a big plastic bin.

Do you garden?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Hello Turquoise! Living Room Before/After, Part I

Part I of our living room make-over is complete!  The room is very big and bright, so I wanted to paint one wall a bold turquoise.  And, I wanted a color that would complement the pink carpet.  I'd like the room to be fresh, light, and open.  But, it still has a way to go!


Our cat, Sister, made a guest appearance.


Phase II will include putting a TV over the mantle and getting rid of the very big, old TV and entertainment center.  

Then, I'm going to slipcover the couch--maybe a chocolate brown or a coffee color.  It will go against the wall across from the fireplace. And, I'd like to get two armchairs for either side of the couch.  

My husband's music equipment will go where the entertainment center is now.  

By putting the TV on the mantle, it will open up the room, rather than divide it like it is now. 

I'm pretty excited to finish it!

Would you paint one of your rooms a bold, bright color?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Cheap, DIY Halloween Costume: Zombies

This halloween, my husband and I lacked any clever costume ideas.  We had a work party to attend, and we didn't want to spend much money on a costume we'd wear once.

So, we decided to be zombies.  And, since it was a work party, we didn't go too bloody. (Some that I've seen are just gross.)

Great things about going as zombies:

  • You can wear anything.
  • All you have to buy is face paint.
  • Its really fun to paint your face.
  • Since we painted our faces, everyone thought our costumes were cool.
  • You can scare children (actually, the ones at the party weren't very scared at all).
  • You get to stagger around and grunt.

The total cost of both of our costumes combined: $9.

That's it. Nine dollars.  Can't beat that!

So, if you can't figure out what to be for Halloween this year, be a zombie!

What is your best DIY Halloween costume?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Planning for Lunch

I refuse to eat frozen or prepackaged lunches at work.  Refuse.

A few reasons why:
  1. They aren't that good.
  2. They aren't that good for you--sodium, sheesh!
  3. They leave you hungry an hour later. 
  4. I once got food poisoning from one of the most popular frozen dinner brands. It was horrible. 
In order to eat healthier and more delicious lunches, I've tried to do some planning.  Well, loose planning.  On Sunday, I usually make something, like yummy pasta salad or chicken breast, and figure out what I'm going to eat for the week (I may plan for leftovers). 

I don't mind eating the same thing all week--as long as it isn't sandwiches--I really don't like sandwiches.  Last week I ate leftover chicken, green beans (which were frozen), and pinto beans.  Simple, but quite delicious--and good for you! Eating somewhat-of-a-home-cooked-meal is very satisfying when you're in a cubicle all day.

Sometimes, I bring hummus, cheese and crackers, and some fruit, and it makes a nice lunch.  The fact is, its really not hard to bring something other than a sandwich or a frozen lunch.  Cooking a couple of chicken breasts isn't hard, throw in a veggie and some beans or rice or something.  Easy! 

This past weekend I was pretty busy, so I forgot to plan for the week.  I ate out twice, made a sandwich one day, and then brought leftovers for the remainder of the week.  I like to treat myself and eat out for lunch every now and again.  But, eating out multiple times a week gets pretty pricey, and where I work lunches aren't cheap. 

Another thing I do is bring snacks to work.  Right now I have some trail mix, wheat and peanut butter crackers, and sometimes carrots.  It helps keep me from loosing my mind sitting at my desk all day. And, I don't gorge myself at lunch and want to fall asleep once I get back to my desk.

What do you do for lunch?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Oil Cleansing Method--FAIL!

I have, sigh, quit the oil cleansing method.

Its not that it wasn't working, but it wasn't getting better.  So, I switched back to my old facial cleanser--it didn't work either.

Its like I hit puberty again (really, I got off the pill and it screwed up my hormones and skin!) In fact, my skin is seriously worse than when I was a teenager. Eek!

My mom came to the rescue and ordered me the whole Mary Kay facial cleanser line (5 different products!)  She swears by it, so hopefully it works.  I'm tired of looking like a teenager!  I've been using the Mary Kay for about a week and so far my face is looking a little better.

I'm sad that my all-natural method didn't work.  I was really rooting for it to be a life changer!

Have any of your DIY remedies failed?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Getting Fit to Be a Career Woman, Or I Really Need to Exercise

So, as you may remember, I got that job.  And, I've been working now for about three weeks.  I like my job a lot and am learning about all kinds of new things. Plus, I get to dress business-y (which means I get to go shopping)!

The blog suffered a bit for the first couple of weeks on the job because I've had to adjust--going from not working for two months to working 8-9 hour days.  Plus, there's breakfast, lunch, and dinner to plan for. There's getting the house all "moved in." And a puppy. And trying to see family and friends.  Its really a lot to juggle.

The biggest frustration I have had so far is being utterly exhausted when I get home.  You wouldn't think sitting in a cube all day would wear you out--but sheesh! it is really draining.  And, sometimes the last thing I want to do is get in front of the computer again. But, getting back to blogging has felt good.  Even when it feels like just another thing on my to do list. 

Sadly, though, despite feeling tired and slightly dazed from looking at the computer screen all day, I am most upset about gaining weight.  Albeit, its not a lot of weight--but its only been three weeks.  But I can just feel it--and it makes me feel bleh.

What better motivation to get moving?  The hubs and I have been trying to motivate ourself to exercise, but we've consistenly been relaxing on the couch.  We're doing better with eating better, so our next move is, well, to move.

Here are my goals:
  1. Do 15 minutes of yoga a day--I used to do yoga all the time, now, not so much.  Taking a little bit of time to stretch, de-stress, and use some muscle can go a long way when your at a desk all day.  I hold tension in my back and neck and yoga has helped in the past.
  2. Get outside. Take a walk.--We were walking the dog around the neighborhood (until we discovered that a couple of my husband's students live here too).  I'm hoping to head to the LSU lakes at least once a week and walk a few miles.
  3. Find a weekend activity, highlighting the active part of activity.--Whether its biking or hiking or whathaveyou, we need a hobby to make moving around more fun.
  4. Convince my husband to do all of this with me--he may even go for the yoga.
I'm trying to set reasonable, reachable goals to get us going. And, in order to stay motivated and interested, I'm keeping up with blogs dedicated to exercise.

How do you stay fit?