We Sprung a Leak!

I will wish for "moisture" no more. While we were vacationing in Colorado for Christmas, it was sooo dry that Steven and I kept wishing for more wetness in the air...

Well, this is what we came home to. At 2:30 in the morning. After our flight back was delayed for 2 hours. Tired. And already grumpy.

Our porch is covered so there is never water under it. That was our first clue while walking up from the car with our suitcases.

 Oh, wait, water in your master bedroom is not customary? This was the area most damaged. Our master toilet piece broke while we were gone. :(

Who's the Boss? to the rescue!

 I was cringing the whole time... our wood floors are only two years old! They are all gone now.

Bonus was the disaster guy standing in the pic was kind of cute. Steven didn't think so. 

So, now we are living in a hotel for the foreseeable future. Very inconvenient when you forget something at home, but very convenient when the bed needs to get made or you are wanting some breakfast in the am. 

Hopefully we will have some pictures of our house put back together soon!

On another note, joining my AXO alumni group was one of the greatest things I did in 2012! Here is a sweet note from one of the exec board members.

"Hey Jo,
At tonight's AXO alumnae exec meeting, Leigh mentioned your holiday "surprise". The exec board would like to offer you and Steve our support in anyway we can. Please let me know if you need clean up help, a home cooked meal, help with Minnie, whatever. Don't hesitate to ask. Your sisters are here for you." 


Thank you!


Gifts of Christmas

My precious Steven gave me a gorgeous turquoise Coach bag and this amazing smelling perfume! I love it and feel so fancy when I wear it. I was so excited that he was the one that picked it out for me since he is the one that I wear it for!

This is a Fathead of Fenway Park at Night and what I gave to Steven. I can't wait to hang it up in a new house some day! Thank goodness it did not get ruined during our water damage fiasco!

Every year my parents give me cash money. My mom knows I shop at strange places and many different sites online. I am always so picky about things that I buy anymore since I decided to stop buying stuff. Usually I would rather have an "experience" like a massage, trip, etc. over something I have to dust. This year I bought this way cool George Nelson clock for my new office! I can't wait to get it in. :)


Christmas Vacation

Headed here for a whole week starting today! We are visiting my husby's aunt and uncle in Pagosa Springs with the rest of my in-laws and going to enjoy some family time, relaxation, and no cell service. Looking forward to doing nothing for the remainder of my 2012!

Actually, it will probably look more like this:

Snow suits are packed!


12 * 12 * 12

Coolest. Date. Ever.


Holiday Host(ess) Gift

Last year I made these delicious little treats called Rolo Nuggets. It is a roasted buttered pecan squished over a melted Rolo chocolate carmel candy topped on a pretzle... what's not to love?

People enjoyed them so much that this year I thought that they would make a good host/hostess gift when we attend a holiday party? We usually bring wine and I think we've played that one out, but these would go great WITH a nice glass of red so it takes two for the ultimate holiday deliciousness. :)

My husband and I eat a lot of salad and thus a lot of Marzetti's Ranch (in our opinion, it is the best store bought Ranch dressing out there). So, I started saving the jars and over the past year have collected close to 10. You can also buy Ball Jars at almost any grocery, craft, or even hardware store, but I decided to upcycle mine.

The jar, completed Rolo Nuggets plus the other supplies you see here; scissors, decorative felt, and coordinating ribbon, and you've got yourself a great host/hostess gift!

One regular jar will fit about 24 of the nuggets. I think I ate one so that would be 23 - haha!

One pack of Rolos has eight in it, so three packs to a jar, you can do the other math. Enjoy!


Ear Muffs

Steven and I were driving to the park this morning with Minnie. The sun was shining and it was about 75 degrees outside. It was such a nice day that we had all the windows down and little Minnie was peeking out of the window while we were stopped at a traffic light. A car pulled up next to us a couple lanes over blaring Metallica while their windows also down.

Steven and I started joking about “Minnie not being old enough to listen to that kind of music yet…” so I candidly put my hands over Minnie’s ears. At that moment the music stopped and the man yelled across two lanes of traffic, “What?!? She can’t listen to evil music?!?” Steven and I busted out laughing. We just smiled at the guy – he was laughing too and made our morning!


Apple Cider Vinegar

Besides being an important ingredient in a couple of my favorite dishes, blue cheese coleslaw and chicken apple sausage pasta, apple cider vinegar has sooo many more uses and I am only now starting to realize what a miracle liquid it really is!

I started using it for more than cooking when we got our pup Minnie. We got a handout (1997 article by Wendy Volhard) from a swanky dog boutique about all the benefits of ACV for your dog and gave it a shot. We started giving her about a tablespoon twice a day (in her food in the morning and at night) since she was a puppy for a number of preventative measures it listed. This supposedly helps with tear stains, joints, skin, ear infections, etc.

We didn't know how much it actually helped her tear stains (because she never got them, go figure) until we told my friend Rachel about it for her dog. Within three days she emailed and said that her dog's stains were almost completely gone.

Minnie also started to get small bumps, similar to acne, on her back. After two weeks of antibiotics from the vet with little change I pulled out my little handout and read that you could spray ACV on a dog's skin and coat to treat small sores and bumps. Within 1 day they were already drying out and I could see signs of healing.

The important thing to remember is to get raw/ unfiltered ACV that you would get from a health food store. I get mine at Trader Joe's. It is a simple and inexpensive thing to do for the health of your dog (and wallet)! It makes me curious what would happen if I added it to my diet. I might have to do a little research on this...


Cookie Exchange!

We had our annual Alpha Chi Alumni cookie exchange here in Charleston yesterday and look what I made! It is a Land O' Lakes recipe for Peppermint Meltaways. They turned out very similar to the picture and were soooo yummy and perfect for a holiday cookie treat!

I even made this little recipe card to go with them, complete with nutrition information. Not bad for a cookie, huh?

You must try these as they were so easy and such a simple recipe for a more "difficult" looking result. The remainder of my batch are being enjoyed by my coworkers as we speak!


Dealing with My Loss

It has been over a week since my feline fur pal Colin has passed and it has been hard. I can put on a happy face, but really, I have gotten upset quite a few times in the past 10 days.

Even still this morning when I got up from bed and quickly looked for him, he wasn't there.

When I got home last night I made sure to close the door really quickly so that a chill wouldn't get into the house by his bed, but the bed is also no longer there.

These are not events of great magnitude but just little reminders of how I cared for him and how he would care for me. He was usually the best one to comfort me when I was sad and now it feels a bit lonelier because I am sad at the loss of him. His presence is what made it all better so it isn't like I can just go to someone else, it is not the same.

I guess I should consider myself lucky. I have never dealt with the loss of a pet before, or really anyone that I have been close with for that matter... so this is how it is, huh? A small void has been left in my life that no one else knows how to fill, if it even can be filled. Maybe it isn't supposed to be. Isn't that what memories are?

I think life is like that, full of all these voids and then also fullness in other areas. Life is not a straight and linear path but more of a bubble diagram - closing of a door and opening a window so to speak. You don't ever get over it, you just get past it.

Still missing you, little guy. You were very loved.


Define Necessity

When I saw the image below posted on my friend's facebook page, it really struck a cord with me. The image is so powerful that I don't feel like I even need to type a post about this, a picture says 1,000 words, but I feel compelled to share my own personal thoughts.

In this nation, even the poorest person is richer than those who are moderately poor in other countries. As Americans, we put too much importance on material goods and take things, like drinking water, for granted. I am guilty of it too, but can you imagine a world where, food, shelter, and water are your number one concerns? Have you ever even seen an American homeless person's rib-cages like that?

The image on the right kind of disgusts me... I like buying presents and getting presents too, but defining your child's happiness based on what gift they get at Christmas is the wrong lesson in life to give.  If one's happiness is based on what they own, then they will never be happy. Plus, you will have to store, insure, clean, care for all this stuff... who has the time?

While my parents were here for Thanksgiving, my mom and I were having this very same conversation. I told her that I would be fine if she never bought my future children a single thing. I would rather her save all the money she would buy material goods with and use it to come visit more often or give it to them for college or a car one day. She seemed to agree.

My family of 5 were by no means poor growing up, but for Christmas I remember getting one main gift, a few supplementary smaller gifts, and some clothes and stocking stuffers for Christmas. We opened presents for about 20 minutes on Christmas morning and that was it.

No fault to them or their parents, but some of my nieces and nephews got so tired of opening gifts one year that they actually had to take a break... and I contributed to that. This year I am hopefully giving them stuff that they need or can use to learn something or at least not be staring at a screen to use it.

I can't wait until Christmas, mostly because we will all be together in Colorado spending family time together that is so precious, but also because it is a break from the daily grind of working full time and a great opportunity to relax and realize why we ARE working so hard - to enjoy life with our loved ones!


Colin Pahs | 2/96 - 11/21/12

My kitty Colin was laid to rest on this day - November 21, 2012 at 10:30am. He was the best feline companion anyone could ask for. He never nipped or scratched, never clawed the furniture, always greeted everyone with purrs and rubs, he consoled me when I was sad, kept me company when I was lonely, cuddled with me every chance he could and never asked for a thing – I am really going to miss him.

Colin joined our family when I was only 14. He was my first pet that could live outside of an aquarium and I loved him as best as I knew how for being a teenager, then a college student, grad, and now into my 30s. We took care of each other for many years and he will be a part of my life and memories forever. He was with me for more than half of my life up to this point and truly became part of our family.

I will never forget how he would make me laugh with how big he was – his biggest being 25 lbs. He was overweight most of his life and didn’t seem to mind a bit! It never failed, when I would make a sandwich he would always beg for a little morsel of chicken cold-cuts, his favorite, and me being kind of a pushover would always give it to him. It tasted much better than his diet food I'm sure!

When most people met him they would say things like “I usually don’t like cats, but Colin is cool.” He always wanted to be a part of the action and would hang out, not run and hide. He was gentle and would only put up a fight when he would get a bath or get his nails cut. He loved to be brushed and sit in the sun and occasionally he would join me outside in the hammock.

Colin was more than just a cat, he was my little buddy. Rest in peace kee-kee. I love you.

HIMYM - Season 8 | appearance!

My cousin, Brian Shortall, represented the "Lusty Leopard" on How I Met Your Mother's Season 8 episode called The Stamp Tramp this week! Even though he has been on a couple of shows it is still exciting to see him on TV every time - especially when they are representing an establishment called The Lusty Leopard - haha!

I think he did a great job and would love to see him on TV more! Congrats Brian. :)


Architect Seal!

happened today.

I'm all like official and crap. ;)


Humanscale & Ergonomics - my new chair has arrived!

Here is a current shot of my office and I am already in LOVE with my new chair and monitor arm that I just got today. I bought the Humanscale Diffrient World Chair in white, with pewter sensuade seat, and a white pinstripe mesh back... it is so comfortable!

The monitor arm is a must. I have a long torso and try to sit up straight so even if my chair was all the way lowered down, my monitor would still be too low without a mount. Mounts just make sense if you don't mind shelling out the cash for them. They are easily adjustable and you can store so much more underneath them when compared to being propped on their provided stand.

Having the right tools to do your job is so important. I am a firm believer in having the right mattress (a Temperpedic for us), the right shoes, and the right office chair. These are the items that we spend the most time with and can literally add to the quality and shape of our lives and bodies.

Here is a quick lesson on ergonomics from Humanscale's website:

  • Your monitor should be an arm's-length away and your eyesight should be about 1/3 down from the top of your monitor at a perpendicular (90 degree) angle.
  • Resting your palms while you type and moving your whole arm to use your mouse is a good idea and gives your wrists a break.
  • You want your thighs parallel to the floor and your feet resting on the ground. Move your feet around often or get a footrest.
  • All frequently used items should be centered around you to avoid constantly twisting your core to make up for it (your neck and shoulders will thank you)!
  • Although I don't currently have a keyboard tray I would highly recommend one! This allows you to keep your keyboard closer to your thighs which is preferable.
  • Remember to stretch your body in a counteractive motion (backbend-ish) a few times a day. An exercise ball can help with that for a longer stretch at night or practicing your yoga "camel pose" will also do the trick. Core strength is key.

 Camel Pose


The Saga is Over | Breaking Dawn Part 2

Grade: A-
Date: November 18, 2012
Location: Citadel Stadium 16
Notes: Bittersweet - loved to see it, but sad that it is the last one!

The movie was just great. Since I had a little mini-marathon this weekend (watched Twilight and then Breaking Dawn Part 1) it was nice to see that this series has come a long way since the beginning. I really enjoyed this movie and even had an "oh shit" moment during the ending where they give you a twist - but I don't want to give anything away...

I would recommend watching Part 1 again if you can before you see this one as I had to fill in my friends on why something happened (and I only knew because I had just seen the first one), but all in all I am happy with the way the story was told.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the K.Stew and R.Patt breakup... it was kind of distracting at certain points and I was having a hard time differentiating between real life and movie life. When they would kiss as Bella and Edward I kept thinking "I wonder if she knew at this moment she would cheat on him." Or when she tells him that it is a "forever love" and that "no one will ever love him and much as she does." I couldn't stop myself from thinking "yeah right" but I did try to stop!

I am hoping they come out with a box set of all the movies into one. I will add that to my box set of books and put it away for a daughter one day... or a niece, whichever happens first. :)


Minnie is 1!

She got some chicken treats, a new bone, custom harness, and some plastic bowls (her favorite toy ever). Colin the Kitty even joined in on the fun. Looking forward to many more years with our darling girl!

P.S. I am fully aware that this may be a little crazy - I never thought I would be like this either. ;)


Spelling Bee Champ

What else is there to do before a wedding starts besides proofread the program? DOH!


My Design Style | comfortable modern

I have been thinking a lot about my personal interior design style recently. Normally I just go by what my clients like to see (or what their budgets can afford), but as I design my future house in my head (and a little on paper), the best word that can describe my style would be "Comfortable Modern."

I love clean lines and minimalist style with pops of color. I wouldn't say I am full modern or "cold modern" because I do like a space to feel comfortable and welcoming, but you put me in a dark room full of clutter and I may start to hyperventilate. I love wood tones with lots of light and whimsical decorations that can make you laugh or think.

 This is too stark and cold for my taste.

Minimalist style doesn’t mean I don’t like stuff. I love stuff, in fact I have a lot of it and am prepared for almost any kind of situation you can think of, but I just don’t want to SEE my stuff. “A place for everything and everything in its place” would be a good description of how I like to live. I love me some Tupperware and I would actually like to live in The Container Store.

With this post, I was also wondering if I could come up with what would be the antithesis of my design style and I came up with “Country Victorian.” Curiously, I googled the phrase and it turns out there is an ACTUAL magazine with the name! Gross. Well, I should have said “to each their own” instead of "gross," but I would have a seriously hard time with a client that described their needs as such.

Froo-froo, fake flowers, ornate frames and and ceramics are not my thing..


Vote Schmote

I am embarrassed to say this, but when Steven and I moved a couple of years ago, I never thought about my voting precinct too much. I know that you have to be registered to be able to vote, I know that I AM registered to vote, I knew that I had to change my address (something that is easily done online) and the thought never crossed my mind that I had MOVED TO ANOTHER COUNTY!

So, crap - now there is nothing I can do since it is past October 6th. I have officially become someone who owns three properties in this state, smart enough to know how to vote, paid attention to the debates, read articles online, scoured my deepest most inner thoughts, have voted in every presidential election since I was the tender age of 18, and now I can’t vote at all.

Something is wrong with this picture (not the picture below - although both halves of my friends would disagree). The fact that someone like me who is reasonably capable, able-bodied, responsible, college educated, etc. and WANTS to vote, but can’t, is a problem for this country in my opinion. 

What about the elderly? The poor? The college students? The business men and women that don’t have the time to stand in line or have the wherewithal to vote absentee? A record shattering 130 million voters came out in 2008 to vote in the presidential election, but that doesn't seem too high of a number considering 132 million votes were cast for Phillip Phillips to win American Idol. There just has to be a better way (online?). One vote per social security number, guarded by a password, sent to you by a letter or a confirmed email, with a retinal scanner, and a thumbprint reader... I mean, my gosh...

I have always tight-roped on bipartisan lines and have voted both Democratic and Republican in past presidential elections, so I guess that is the bright side since I probably could have gone either way. I tend to just vote for who I like better and agree with more on my personal major issues - women's rights, using solar and wind energy, keeping those unwilling to work unpaid...

I guess my vote in South Carolina wouldn’t have counted for much anyways being a traditional “red” state, but please vote if you can. Use all resources to make an educated decision and don't drink too much coffee while you wait in line - there aren't many bathrooms.