Friday, January 29, 2010

How to *NOT* buy a bathroom vanity

Adam and I have been on the hunt for a new vanity for our master bath for quite some time now. We really like dark colored wood and wanted to find a vanity with dark wood for our new bathroom. We have also been looking at granite countertops ($$$). The bathroom that we designed calls for a 60" vanity because how awesome will it be to have two sinks?!!

During all of these home improvements, my dad taught us about HOBO. It is an amazing place if you are decorating or remodeling! Amazing deals! Some stuff is junk, but a lot is worth it!

At HOBO they have a couple colors of vanities in 60", but not the color we want. I remember one they had in the color we want a couple months ago. However, the thing about HOBO is if you like it, you better buy it, because it may not be there next time. And they don't have it any more.

We were able to find a dark wood 60" vanity at one place. We really liked it! But it was $250 more than the ones at HOBO and at this point we just can justify $250 for a color.

Last weekend we went to HOBO and looked at what they had again.

This is what we found:

vanity (this one isn't actually 60", but the right color)

countertop (there are limited colors there, but a better price than ANYWHERE we have found)

We also went to IKEA last weekend to look there! luck on the vanities. We did find a desk we really liked though! We are each going to need a computer desk with our respective computers and stuff for our office. So matching desks would probably look less tacky.

Here is the desk we found!
We talked and talked about it....
And then decided to go back to HOBO on Thursday this week with Adam's bro and his truck to purchase the maple vanity and countertop. We got there, it was all good...there was a sign on the other one saying out of stock....but not on the one we wanted!

We started wandering the store.
And found this vanity with a bum legged (including countertop, sinks, and faucets) discounted for $800. We really liked the style and Adam asked the manager and he agreed to come down to $557. Holy Moly! What a deal!
So the three of us spent quite a bit of time inspecting it. We like the style A LOT. We LOVE the rectangular sinks.
Aaron even climbed on the ground inspecting it from underneath.

Looking inside...opening and shutting the cabinets....

The AWESOME rectangular sinks
But...then we decided that the quality just wasn't there. There is so much we like about the vanity, however, you can tell it is just a lot more cheaply made. It was a hard decision because of the price and style, however, we decided it would be worth it to have a better quality vanity in the long run. But I love those rectangular bowls!!!!

So we went back to the other section to purchase the maple vanity for sure. After about an hour there....hemming and hawing....we had FINALLY decided. The guy working there sent me to get a flat bed cart and then.....
they decided to tell they were out of stock.

I was so annoyed.

I said, "There is an out of stock sign on THAT one. But THAT is not the one we want. THIS one is."
So they guy walked over and took off the "Out of Stock" sign and said, "We got a new shipment of this one. But the one you want is still out of stock."
I pretty much just stomped out of there. If we had walked in and seen an Out of Stock sign, we would have just left and saved an hour of our lives!

Oh well....we will be back in 2 weeks when their truck comes in and hopefully they will have more!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Recipe: Mini Gilled Cheese Appetizers!

Here it finally is!

I made these yummy salty cheesy snacks when we went to Erin's for the Glee party and I promised everyone the recipe. I don't think to make them very fact it had been about a year. When Erin and Katie requested them, I couldn't say no!

They are actually pretty easy to make. You just have to shop early because the ingredients are not always easy to find.

Sadly I didn't take a picture of them for you. But if you haven't tasted them and you love bread and will love them! If anyone decides to make them, I would LOVE to know how they turn out!

2 jars Old English Cheese-sharp
Pepperidge Farm Sandwich Loaf bread
1 stick margarine (do NOT use butter)
¾ t dill weed
¾ t Worcestershire

½ t onion powder
½ t beau monde
½ t tabasco (I didn't use this)
dash cayenne (I didn't use this)


Mix all ingredients
Cut off bread crusts
Spread mix on bread-3 layers high, stacked
Spread on side as if a cake
Refrigerate or freeze slightly, so you can then cut each cake into 9 squares
(I even left them in the refrigerator overnight because I had no time to prep that day)

Bake 350 ยบ for 20 minutes

Shop early-the cheese and bread can be difficult to find
Go easy on spices-can get very salty
You don’t have to refrigerate-but it makes cutting easier
Bring cakes back to room temperature before baking to try to let mix “set” into bread

Here is what the cheese looks like. They come with a blue lid.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Please Donate

We are all aware of the horrible destruction and devastation that has happened this week in Haiti. We have spent the week hearing about sad stories and triumphs. Amidst the positive stories there have been horrible tragedies. At church this morning we learned that all 110 Brothers in the same order as the Brother at our church who were serving in Haiti died in the destruction. We also learned that the archbishop of Haiti died.

There are many good organizations to donate through, however, Catholic Relief Services is who I have chosen to make a donation through. CRS is well known in the global community for being effective, efficient and accountable. The money donated goes right where it is needed. CRS is known for going where other organizations don't or won't. If you would like to donate through CRS you can click the banner above or click here.

To read about CRS and their accountability, effectiveness, and efficiency, please read here.

If you choose not to donate through CRS, please be careful where you choose to do so. Although it is sad, tragedy also brings out the scammers. It has been stressed not to donate through a phone call or a service that you do not know. American Red Cross is another reputable organization for disaster relief.

Whatever you choose to do, please take the time to be thankful for what we have and how lucky we are.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Climbing Out of My Comfort Zone

I just got home from a lovely evening with some even more lovely ladies at Erin's house. Since I am one of the lucky ones who lives uber close (not the closest though), I have already been able to stalk them on twitter and on their blogs.

But...back to the beginning of my day...


Last year I was asked to be on the "Steering Committee" at my church. It is the leadership team for the church. We have Town Hall meetings 5 times a year and in between have meetings with our team and the pastor. At our last Steering Committee meeting, I was taking the notes...because...well....I like to do that. And someone said, "How about you chair the next meeting Stephanie?". I graciously declined. She followed up with, "But you have done all the work and taken all of the notes!" I graciously declined again and suggested maybe a future meeting would be better. But she suggested it again and I decided that I should just take the plunge and do it.

I really enjoy all the background stuff...taking notes, making sure we stay on topic, etc, however, the idea of chairing the Town Hall meeting terrified me. I typed up the agenda, contacted the people I needed to contact and sat around super nervous about it.

This morning was the meeting and I really surprised myself. After I ran through the "process" again with a fellow committee person ("First I bang the gavel? And then what do I say? And after that?") to make sure I was on the right page, I began the meeting and I think it went really well. Anyone who has attended a meeting with me knows that I have no fear of voicing my opinions. Sometimes I feel like I need to go to a support group for that.

"Hi. My name is Stephanie and I have too many opinions."

It also gets me in trouble because I have so many opinions, but I strongly feel that you shouldn't complain unless you are willing to do something about it. So that is how I find myself on every committee at church and work. And how I joined another one today. Gah! I TRIED to sit on my hands!

I think the hardest part about the meeting was knowing when to let someone keep talking (it is a Town Hall meant to share thoughts and discussions) and when to wrap up a topic and move on. But overall I think it went pretty well. It was also a little difficult to participate in the discussion (because you KNOW I have opinions) and watch for anyone else who wanted to so I could call on them. I think it was good that I took the plunge to do it. I know it is good to get out of my comfort zone occasionally.


One of my favorite's from this season.

The second part of my day was a lot more exciting. As I said earlier, I just got back from Erin's house from a Glee party! She had a bunch of girls over to eat yummy dips (the recipe will be coming soon girls), chat, and watch Glee! Of course we thoroughly enjoyed Glee. I could watch that show over and over. Mostly because I would give my left hand to be able to sing like that. And keep in mind my hands are my job, so that is quite the sacrifice!

The most interesting part about the ladies I hung out with tonight....they were mostly bloggers! I know Katie and Erin IRL, however, the rest are Erin's blogger friends. It was different for me to spend the afternoon and evening with a group of girls that I have never met or only met briefly. They are such an open carefree group and I was constantly laughing. From videotaping a song, to laughing about the show, witnessing a crazy duet, and participating in a video blog blogger was quite the experience.

Sometimes I don't understand myself. Sometimes I can be super outgoing and very myself, however, other times I can be a lot more reserved....which I guess is myself too? I had a lot of fun tonight, but at the same time, I didn't feel like I was quite myself. It can take me a while to warm up in new situations, but I don't understand why because everyone was super nice and very fun.

Hmmm....maybe wine would have helped me open up?

Although watching this video did help!

Even if I didn't quite feel as if I was being myself the whole night, I had a great time and I hope to have the opportunity to spend time with these ladies again.

P.S. Apparently I am in the minority in my generation to think Conan is a doofus.
P. S. S. I have never seen these wild man shows.
P. S. S. S. Did I mention I really wish I could sing?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Team Cake Boss

I often tweet about this, but recently I realized this was post-worthy.

Adam and I full fledged Team Cake Boss members.

We LOVE Cake Boss. I don't even remember what got us hooked on it last year. Maybe someone else talking about it? I remember watching my first episode when Buddy made 3 cakes for Bride magazine and I not only fell in love with the cakes (because they were black and white), but also fell in love with the amazing artistic ability that goes into making them. Adam and I got hooked on the show!

Come on! Aren't those amazing????

Because we fell so madly in love with Cake Boss and the amazingness that are his cakes, we decided to try out Ace of Cakes.

We have been sorely disappointed.

Duff (the owner of the bakery) barely even decorates any cakes! He doesn't! His team is amazing. Undoubtedly they are crazy talented. However, you barely ever see Duff ACTUALLY decorate a cake. Sure, he helps out here or there, and comes up with some ideas, but he doesn't DECORATE! He does spend a lot of time doing "research"....but not baking or decorating.

Our other main issue with AoC is that many times a majority of the "cake" is inedible. They use a WHOLE lot of Styrofoam, PVC and boards. Especially Styrofoam. That grosses us out. Come on....we all know Styrofoam breaks off in little pieces. Who wants that in their cake???? Now...I know CB uses boards and PVC OCCASIONALLY, but that is only when it is required for structural integrity. The rest is ALWAYS edible. AoC does it as common practice. Again, sometimes they are really talented, however, I think an amazing cake isn't just about the outside. It should actually be CAKE on the inside too. No?? They are definitely artists. But cake decorators? The jury is still out.

Yes, CB yells a lot. That is part of the fun! He is Italian. They are a stereotypical Italian family. And it cracks us up!

To be fair....there are some flaws with CB. When Buddy's sisters mess with him, we find it annoying. Do we seriously think they would paint the bakery pink without his permission? No. Do we seriously think they would record their own ABCs of girly stuff instead of the ABCs of cake? No. When that happens, it seems very staged. However, besides that, the show is ALL about CAKE. Real cake.

What are YOUR thoughts? Aoc or CB? And if you say AoC I would really like to know why. Because I just don't get it!

Team Cake Boss!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Kasmire: Indemnification PREMIERE

On Friday night, we went to the premiere of Kasmire: Indemnification.

My cousin (by love) Doug is an aspiring director...producer....editor....(not sure exactly which one) and he has a group called the "Film Production Syndicate". They have created several movies but have two feature length films. The first one was finished a couple of years ago and the most recent one was finally premiered on Friday! K:I is the sequal to "Puddles 9", an "Ocean's 11" esque movie. Although he is a college student on a very small budget, his vision and his talent is very clear.

Amy (his sister) worked her behind off to find a location to film. She negotiated with the local Marriott and got a great room. It got a little dramatic at the last minute when the guests had all arrived and the movie hadn't yet....but Doug finally arrived with the movie and got the show started!

The awesome room

My mom made concessions to sell and raise money for the movie

The Producer/Director/Editor!

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. As I said, you can clearly see his vision and if he had more money and better actors....he would be set! What he has done with what he has at his disposal is amazing. I look forward to seeing more films in the future. And one day seeing his name on the "real" big screen!

After the movie a bunch of us went to the hotel bar to hang out and have a drink. Why go somewhere else when there was a bar right there?? We had a lot of fun as always!

We had quite the discussion about the accidental silly faces Adam makes in pictures!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Happy New Year!

We spent New Years Eve at Adam's brother's house. We had a fun gathering with a small group and the Wii kept us entertained all night! Heidi and Austin (Adam's bro) brought their Just Dance game and I can't imagine many people worked out as hard as we did on NYE! I certainly burned off all of the calories I was drinking. =)

We counted down to the new year and then I was super excited to say that "We are getting married THIS YEAR!". I also hugged all of Adam's bros and told them they were going to be my BIL this year. =)

Of course we took some fun and LONG video of the dancing, so I don't expect you to watch it all! I know sister-Erin will get a kick out of it though. AND for her sake....I included some video of myself hula hooping!

I Need Help!

So what do ya'll think of this rug for my future dining room? I am obsessed with all that is black and white and would really like to have a room that has black and white accents. Adam and I found this rug and I thought it would be perfect for the dining room. My thoughts are to paint 3 walls a light grey and then the one wall with the french doors into the office a dark grey. That will look really nice with the white moulding.

And then I was thinking some pretty black and black and white accents would like awesome. Maybe some black and white framed photos on the walls?

And just for a little color, I am thinking a red table cloth and/or a black and white photo with maybe a red rose in it.

I really like only black and white, but I think that may look a little stark in our house. Especially a really old house. But the grey softens it up a bit. I think?

Thought you may need a reminder about the dining room. This is an old picture. I am thinking these walls would be the light grey.

And the wall with the french doors would be dark grey.

I also love anything in a damask pattern (black and white of course) so I thought these would fit nicely in the room! They happen to be at Bed Bath and I don't doubt they will end up on our registry.

This is just a photo I found on Google images, but you get the idea.

And maybe a tall black or black/white vase on the floor with some white sticks or something sticking out.

SOOOOO???? Tell me what you think!

Friday, January 01, 2010

2009 in a nutshell

Wow...I cannot believe that 2009 is coming to a close. The most exciting thing? On Friday I can say "I am getting married THIS YEAR". Although for teachers we usually think of years in August to June type situations, there ARE times when we use the calendar year.

I thought I would recap the good, the bad, and the ugly of 2009. Well...mostly the good and the bad. And although there was definitely bad (especially when it comes to my checkbook) the main thing that I want to remember is that it could have been worse. For the most part, my family and friends are happy, safe, and healthy and that is the most important thing to me.

That doesn't, however, mean that I didn't get frustrated by "the bad".

So here it is:

The Bad
February-My furnace broke and I had to buy a new one. $$$

July-My hot water heater broke and I had to buy a new one. $$

September-I got in a car accident in my 3 week old car and had to pay the deductible*. $

September-I had a sewer leak in my garage and it destroyed my garage and ruined all my stuff in the garage and I had to pay a deductible*. $$

December-I had a pipe burst in my garage and it ruined my garage and my entire kitchen and I had to pay another deductible*. $$

*Although I did have to pay 3 deductibles (which is a lot for me), I do have to remember that it would have been much worse if it wasn't for insurance (like over $20,000 worse!)

The Good*
March-I got to visit sister-Erin in Morocco!

May-Adam and I got engaged and started planning a wedding (although this is also crazy expensive it is a good thing!).

April-Bridget got married to Tony and they are very happy.

November-Zander was born and Mom and baby are healthy

All year! We started working on Adam's house and progress is made all the time (even though it is crazy the end we will have a beautiful house to begin our life together).

*Of course there was lots of other "good", but those were the big things!

Prayers as we begin a new year.
-I pray that my mom is able to find an answer to her pain and she can go back to living the life she wants to lead.
-I pray for Erin and Ted to stay strong through their battle with infertility and God gives them a baby to love and raise in a happy home.
-I pray for Aunt Judy to heal and for their family to stay strong through all of the hits they have taken.
-I pray for my sister to stay safe as she finishes her tenure as a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco and for her to make smart decisions and come home safe to us.

I pray that my family and friends stay safe, happy, and healthy in the new year. And I especially thank God for everything He has given me, especially family and friends. I can handle what He gives me because I know He is always there.