Tuesday, August 30, 2011

HGTV Design Star: Apartment Challenge

:This week the final four designers had to design a high end apartment on a $2,500 budget. I hold my breath on this type of challenge because it often sets the designers up to fail – last season’s Trump Tower with cheap tourist souvenir challenge anyone?

This week was full of surprises Karl and Kellie being both of them. Nate Berkus showed up as the guest judge. The camera challenge was to do a live DIY on Nate’s show. Meg nailed the camera challenge again. Meg is proving she’s comfortable in front of the camera.

 The performance of the other three designers during the camera challenge was surprising. I think Mark let the live audience make him nervous. Mark is usually very personable in front of the camera but this time he fell flat in his face. Ouch.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

How Busy People Exetreme Coupon for Healthy Food

Now that I have a sorta extreme couponing system, I'm pretty lazy about devoting a zillion hours to couponing for healthy food.

Scratch that. I never devoted a zillion hours to couponing to begin with and I still end up saving around 50% on my purchases.

Just as before I started my couponing experiment, I continue to buy healthy food and products for my family.

Another reason I don't spend a lot time of on couponing and deal searching is there are many products I don't use or buy due to ingredients. My family tries to avoid high fat, high sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and hydrogenated oils in our food. I buy and cook with ingredient type foods, not junk food, or prepared foods. That reduces my coupon clipping and deal finding. However, I'm still able to reduce my grocery bill by 50%.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Color Inspiration

Husband and I spent a day visiting the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History ‘cuz Husband loves him some fossils and dinos.


After a peek at The Hope Diamond in its new setting, Husband and I walked into the Hall of Gemstones.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

HGTV Design Star: HGTV’d Challenge

This week the designers HGTV’d a family. At this stage in the game, the judges are honing in on the details. From my perspective, it looks like the judging criterion is going like this:

- Room details. Items such as uneven art installations or a questionable corner in a room the family still likes are enough to get a designer bounced.

-         Camera challenges. They treat them as extras on the show, but the camera challenges are just as important as the final designs. This is what HGTV will be selling when the winner gets their show. Finding a good designer is easy. Finding a good designer who has a great TV presence is hard. We have seen examples where they have saved a mediocre designer (Cathy) and hurt a good designer (Leslie.)

-         Body of past work. If a designer with a strong body of past work and improving camera challenge presence fails in the current challenge, their reputation for past good work may give them another chance. I believe this is the only way Kellie survived this week after giving Mason a room that was nothing like what he asked for (poor kid.)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Make Soda Pop!

Husband drinks soda and fizzy drinks more often than I do, which isn’t very often.

Sodastream Fountain Jet Soda Maker Starter KitI worked at a company that had a free pop machine. I quickly learned that drinking lots of carbonated  bubble beverages didn’t – to put it politely – quite agree with my digestive system. Once I gave up drinking pop those problems went away.  

Most of the time we buy pop or soda or whatever you call in your part of the country when we have guests. Although sometimes Husband goes though jags of buying club soda to make his homemade Orangina.  Seeing the empty plastic soda bottle stacked in the recycling bin makes me flinch.

I’m a freak about keeping the amount of our household waste and recycling low.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Remake a Coir Doormat with Paint

When the going gets tough, I need a project. It has to be something quick, relatively cheap, and oh if it could be green, that would be the triptych of yippie!

I stubbed my toe on my next spruce up. Once upon a time, this 100% coir doormat from World Market said, “Welcome.”

Now it says, “Don’t bother.”

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

HGTV Design Star: Wedding Reception Challenge

This week the designers had two days to design a real life wedding reception!

First, we need to get something out of the way:

Cathy’s wedding was featured in three national magazines.

If you didn’t catch that the first time, she repeated it four more times in the episode. I counted.

I held my breath when the bride said she likes Victorian and the groom likes crooner, Rat Pack-esque style. Add to that the bride’s favorite and unVictorian color scheme of hot pink and orange and I worried if anyone could pull it off.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

When it Rains, it Pours

July started with a bang. Fourth of July! Fireworks! Parades! Fun! July ended with big smacks creating a rain cloud of emotion over my head. It follows me wherever I go.


First, we had to replace our car when we took it in for repair and found a cracked engine block.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Power of Spray Paint in the Garden

My front yard farm is starting to look like a real garden! The beans, winter squash, and cucumbers are quickly climbing the tepee trellises I built. So far, my covert front yard vegetable garden looks like flowering vines and plants.

Update 8/11/11 1:15 PM: Our Property Manager (AKA The Queen of No) told me she likes my yard and it looks very nice during her monthly drive by. She thought my rain barrel rock was a garden doodad - whew!

It would be nice to see the flowering vines and plants when we sit on the porch at night though.

Once upon a time, my solar garden lights were copper until they faded into a hide in the garage color.

On the bright side, I bought the orange flowers for $2.00 at the Restore. 
They were donated from a garden show. Woot!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Design Star Recap Episode Five Dream Kitchen Challenge

z-z-z… Wha? Oh! Did I dose off? This week’s challenge was to design dream kitchens in a specific style (Global, Contemporary, Industrial, or Farmhouse) and layout.

If the designs were supposed to be dreamy, I finally found a cure for my insomnia.

Let’s be honest. It was shopping and styling challenge with backsplashes that are rarely finished as planned. The designers needed carpenters and seamstresses to customize their design elements to create true Dream Kitchens. Instead, it was the cabinets already go here, let’s buy a table, slap up some paint, Cathy stages a smorgasbord, and we call it day.

What Worked

Kelli and Mark’s farmhouse kitchen. I’m not a farmhouse style kind of girl but this was the only kitchen out of the four that was designed rather than styled. The cage lights with Edison bulbs feel warm against the dark wood cabinets. Nicely done because it easily could have looked a little cold. As with the backsplash time crunch – which always happens on this challenge – I would have dropped it altogether on the second wall rather than go with two different backsplashes. The flooring as backsplash photographs well on TV but as someone who has vinyl flooring my kitchen (not by choice) I bet it looks cheesy in real life – a design don’t.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Jockey Staycool Giveaway - 3 Winners!

I know when I’m getting a good workout in when sweat trickles down my head and into my ears.


I sweat A LOT no matter what.

So you’d think I’d be all over technical super sweat wicking workout clothing, right?


The few technical (tech) sweat wicking shirts I have make me even hotter and sweatier. Give me a cotton t-shirt any day.  It’s going to be wringing wet in no time but at least it won't make me hotter than I already am during a 20 mile bike ride.

Husband on the other hand, is all over the tech shirt. He likes to wear them when running and working out at the gym.  Not so much when out and about because shiny tech shirts look weird outside of the gym.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

How to Make Tepee Trellises

I planted scarlet runner beans, winter squash, and cucumbers in my covert front yard vegetable garden. The vines are growing! They need trellises.

Grow my pretties! Grow!

Husband and I found functional trellises but were leaning toward something with a little style because they will live in the front yard. The decorative metal trellises were more for what we were going for but did not look sturdy enough to hold heavy winter squash or cucumbers. Oh and the decorative trellises were stupid expensive for flimsy-ish spray painted black metal.

When I can’t buy I DIY!

I promised Husband I would build him a set of tepee trellises for the front yard.