Thursday, September 20, 2007

Jennifer's Beauty Salon

My house has temporarily morphed into a beauty salon. I desperately need to figure out how to do my hair for my friend Kelly's wedding next weekend. The wedding is in Vegas and I'm a bridesmaid which means two things: I need to look good and a professional updo is ridiculously expensive (to the tune of $80 and upwards). So, I'm determined to put together a nice enough look by myself. I tried doing just large soft curls, but my slippery hair wasn't having any of that and the curls fell out almost as soon as I took the curling iron away. Now, I've moved onto updos. Last night I had great success with a French twist and silently patted myself on the back for a job well done. Tonight, however, I can not even come close to replicating my handiwork, so the whole thing might have just been a fluke. I was able to muster up a chignon (fancy way to say "loose, soft bun") though with little difficulty -- probably because I wear my hair in a bun nearly every day and already halfway know what I'm doing. Alas, while I really want to sport the French Twist, it seems the chignon is going to win by default.

You think that's all right?

Yeah? You think that's all right, spider? You think you can just make a web on my deck? Think that's OK?

I've been waging a war of words with the army of spiders living in my yard and garage, but it seems to have done little good. When one gets the hint and moves on to greener pastures, another one, double in size comes to replace it. I'm constantly ripping down their webs and trying to will them away, but as you can imagine that doesn't do much either. I know I should just squash them, but the whole idea of killing them makes me squeamish. Gone are the days when I used to chop lazy flies in half with a dull knife (I was eight...and perverse). Now, I can't stand the thought of feeling a little bug go "squish" under my thumb. So, until I get a stronger stomach I guess I'll just keep assaulting the spiders with my verbal battery. Take that!

You grow girl!

My backyard has several brown patches and I've meant to spread some grass seed all summer long. I finally planted some approximately 10 days ago, and look how well it's done! I was really surprised that I had anything sprout at all because I thought it was too late in the year. When I shared the good news with my dad, he said that now (fall) is actually a great time to plant grass seed since the weather is cooler and you don't have to water it as much. It's also worked out in my favor that Mother Nature has blessed us with several showers in the past week. woot woot!

You grow girl! Show 'em what your workin' with!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Congratulations Ooh! Shiny!

Ooh! Shiny! has quickly risen in the ranks to become one of my new favorite blogs. It truly is a "random directory of pretties" and has just the right mix of quirky and cute stuff. I like these things:
1. Perching sparrow (Go)
2. Pink rice paper print (
3. Mini pill canister (
4. Vanity stools from PB Teen (

Solitary Pine

I like original artwork and want to fill my house with it. Here's one my aunt Doris created using her medium of choice: fabric. It's called "Solitary Pine" and is one in her series of fabric landscapes. Right now it's sitting pretty on my dresser in my bedroom.


I don't have a bird feeder, but I want to get one just so I can have a Twirl-a-Squirrel. YouTube has better videos than this one, but the music was too good to pass up.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Saving the planet, saving money

I like to save the planet and I like to save money. Incidentally, the two often go hand in hand. I figure I play a role in polluting the planet, so it's my responsibility to cut back where I can to help keep it green. Here's ten little things I do to around the home to recycle, reduce and reuse:

1. Use the backs of envelopes: I don't think I'll ever buy a pad of paper again. For every bill, junk mail or letter I receive in the mail, I save the envelope and use the reverse side to jot notes or make my grocery list.
2. Take the bus: I use public transportation to get to work, saving several of gallons of gas each week. It's an even better deal since my company pays for my bus pass.

3. Air dry dishes in the dishwasher: Not only do I only run my dishwasher when it is full, I also air dry the dishes. After all, when's the last time a dishwasher got every single item completely dry? Once the dishwasher is finished running, I just open the door, pull out the racks and let the dishes really air dry. If I do this in the morning before I go to work, everything is dry and ready to be put away by the time I get back.
4. Unplugging my cell phone charger: Appliances that are plugged in still suck energy even when they aren't in use. I've heard that the seeminlgy innocuos cell phone charger is one of the worst culprits, so I keep it ungplugged when it's not powering up my phone.

5. Keeping the
thermostat in check: In the summer, it's set no lower than the recommended 80 degrees Farenheit and in the winter, it's not higher than 68 degrees. For every one degree, that's plus or minus 1 percent on your energy bill.
6. Recycle: I recycle as many things as I can! Cardboard, glass, plastic, paper, you name it. I even recycle little things like yogurt containers.

7. Turn off the lights: And the computer and the TV when they are not in use. This is something that was drilled into me when I was growing up and it's something I abide by to this day. At work, I cringe knowing I have to leave my computer running over night (company policy) so I make sure to turn off the monitor -- it's at least something.

8. CFLs: I've swapped out the incandescent bulbs for CFLs in all the main light fixtures I use in my house. These bad boys use 30 percent less energy than their incandescent counterparts and last upwards of five years. When I moved from my townhome to my house, I moved the CFLs with me.

9. Turning off the water: When I'm brushing my teeth or shaving my legs, I
turn off the water. There is an old Sesame Street cartoon that has stuck with me. It showed a boy who left the water running while he brushed his teeth. The pipe to his sink came directly from a pond that was home to one fish. The longer the water ran, the less water in the pond. When the fish was almost a goner, he finally took matters into his own hands (fins), got on the phone and called the kid to tell him, "DON'T WASTE WATER."
10. Washing my clothes in cold water: I wash almost every single item of clothing in cold water. Most of my clothing items call for this anyway so it's not a hard energy saving stategy to stick to. The challenge is summoning up the courage to line dry my clothes in the summer. It seems this practice has gone by the wayside.

Photo from flickr

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Only so-so

I had such high hopes for this silicone sink strainer from Oxo. Since I don't have a garbage disposal, I thought this bad boy would come in handy because it can invert, making it easy to empty all of its contents into the garbage. The inverting part works great. The trouble comes with trying to get all the little food particles floating around in the sink to acually flow into the strainer in the first place. A lot of them get caught on the lip of the strainer, creating more work to scoop everything up. So, if you're thinking about buying this, think again -- it only works so-so.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

An innate inability to operate machines

Growing up on a farm, I had many opportunities to become a great operator of machinery. Instead, I proved time and time again that it was probably for the best if I just stayed away from machines altogether.

1. The Honda Passport

I never could seem to balance, steer and accelerate all at once. That inability to multi-task led to a number of incidences. I have: (a) wiped out at the end of my parents lane trying to turn around. (b) gotten hung up on some stubby metal posts and ripped up some of the bike's underbelly. (c) crashed into the barn at an excess of five miles per hour.

2. The riding lawnmower
All in all, I was actually pretty good at operating the riding lawnmower. The only memory sticking out in mind right now is this: I tried to squeeze between a post that held up my parents' clothes line and the cable that anchored that post. I did manage to squeeze through the tight space. I also managed to snap off the top part of the gear shift stick.

3. The baler
Only once was I allowed to operate our hay baler. I had gone to a water park the day before we baled hay and came back with the worst sunburn of my life - complete with lobster red skin, impossible tan lines and blisters. Since I could barely move, I was spared from physical labor and put on the tractor. I wasn't a very good judge of depth, and for every two bales I made into the wagon, I would land one squarely in the field (I'm exaggerating this point a little, but it was definitely more than quite a few bales). Afterwards, my siblings and I had to do even more work driving around the field to pick up the errant bales. Needless to say, I wasn't the one that got to drive - I was picking up bales.

Is this coupon still good?

Of all the things I suck at, I might suck at mowing my lawn the most. Perhaps it's my antique lawnmower, my lack of atheltic eye-hand coordination or my innate inability to operate machines that prevents me from succeeding at this task (I'll get to my inability to operate machinery in just a bit). Whatever the reason - I'm no good at it and hate it (Maybe I hate it because I'm no good at it. I'll leave that to the psychology enthusiasts to mull over.). I can't seem to figure out a logical pattern to maneuver around trees and landscaping and I am always running into the fence and over the edge of the curb.

I was spoiled this summer since my brother Brian was around and was more than willing to mow my lawn. Now, that he's back at college, I'm stuck with this miserable chore. For my birthday earlier this summer, Brian gave me a series of coupons. I wonder if this one is still good?