Part of week 2 of the Spring Cure is to start working on a floor plan. In order to visualize what is working and not working I sketched up what we currently have as a layout. The Floor Planner website is a good way to kill a few hours. While not as sophisticated as Autocad, it is still tons of fun to play with and free to boot.
My office is also going to be the craft room and guest room. Currently it is a pile of boxes and miscellaneous items from other rooms. We have guests so rarely that it isn't worth keeping a bed made up in there full time. I've been on the hunt for a nice reading chair which can convert into a sleeper bed and think that this one from Crate and Barrel may do the trick.
I am currently looking at plane tickets for a trip this summer for our fifth wedding anniversary. Wow, I can't believe its been that long. I am daydreaming of Amsterdam, Paris, Zagreb and Barcelona, but we'll probably narrow my list of like 40 places down to 2 based on airfares. I'm finding tons of fantastic fares. Some business class seats are less than coach, just because NOBODY searches for them assuming they are thousands of dollars. Well they are usually. But I can get me and hubby to Amsterdam from New York business class on British airways for less than $500 which is pretty amazing. And I can get us to New York on miles. Soooo tempted... I found even better deals through delta which is having 57% many of their European routes right now for economy class, but I really hate flying American owned airlines for more than 12 hours, the service just isn't the same.
One airline I won't be flying is Alitalia. Even though I can get San Francisco to Rome for $89! Long time readers understand my beef with the Italian train system. I have only posted so far about Me vs. Trenitalia and their booking system. The actual trip was even more of a hassle and ended up costing me a chocolate tour of Paris we had booked! Maybe I'll tell that story later. Well here is further proof that nationally owned transportation systems aren't always the most reliable, because honestly, they don't have to make a profit, they are bureaucracies that aren't accountable to share holders. Famous traveler and photographer/journalist Michael Totten has a blog where he posted just 2 weeks ago about his joys with traveling on Alitalia. My jaw was on the floor from nodding so hard. Cheap is good, but do your research, fare compare may get you a good deal, but go to the Flyer Talk forums to get real advice from the road warriors who aren't trying to sell you anything.
Have a cup of tea. It revives you. Take the time and brew a pot. To brew the perfect pot of tea, you need to warm the pot first. When the kettle has boiled, pour a couple inches of water into the teapot, put the lid on and wait till the lid is warm. Discard water. Fill teapot with more hot water, add four tea bags (for four people) and let steep 5 minutes—for a really strong pot—before serving.
I'm really attracted to this orange, blue, silver and black color scheme and have no idea why. Stainless steel and blue just go so well together and orange makes a great accent. I have used it sparingly with the main orange feature being a roman shade. It also shows up in a dishtowel here and a wine rack there. My main challenge will be the seating area and dealing with recycling aesthetically. I want a little built in bench and table seating area in my breakfast room and can't find any nice trash cans for the glass, cans, paper and plastic. Oh and hubby, if you're listening, I want this bag to keep my plastic bags in and could you throw in this blue teapot too?
Focus Room of the week: Kitchen
- Mini-clean: wash and put away dirty dishes, wipe of the counters, and empty the trash.
- Deep-clean: Pick one major area to begin (the food pantry, the dish cabinet, the fridge, etc.) and remove all of its contents to begin cleaning it inside and out. If you focus on one area/appliance per night, you should be cooking a delicious meal in your sparkling clean kitchen by Saturday! We started with the refrigerator and were amazed at how out of date some of our condiments were. When it came to doing the cabinets I set up the same system as when I go through my closets. Three piles, keep toss and donate. I also added a fourth category for the kitchen: relocate, its amazing how many non-kitchen items have crept their way onto the counters.We took all of the kitchen gadgets and put them in a shoebox and are taking them out one by one as we use them. So far we have several knifes that I don't think we ever use, but have stayed on our knife magnet for years. We'll be making a run to the food bank and Salvation Army soon.
- Invest in a good water filter: Or, in our case we are going to change out the one in the refrigerator which is about a year old now. It took the place of our Brita pitcher, which had non-recyclable filters to change every few months. We have saved 4 filters and numerous water-bottles over the past year with our in-fridge filtration. If you don't have a fridge with this I would recommend an on sink filter rather than a pitcher.
- Cook a homemade meal: After your kitchen is pared down and clutter-free, it'll be begging to for a delicious mess. I'll be making an Italian meal for a friend's birthday.
- begin by using a pencil and graph paper to sketch a birds-eye view of the room you're rearranging.
- then take the measurements of the walls, windows, doors, and fixed features (ie- radiators), and jot the dimensions into your graph paper sketch.
- next take the measurements of all the furniture you already have in the room.
- drawing on your vision for how you'd ideally like the space to be used (ie- a living room that will double function as a home gym) pencil in only the furniture that you deem essential for achieving that vision. You may realize that you don't need a sofa AND a love seat AND a big chair.
- if you're having trouble envisioning how the rearranged furniture will look in the actual room, use blue painter's tape to lay out an outline of the furniture dimensions on the floor where you'd like them to be placed. Once the outlines are in place, walk through the spaces around the blue tape to see if there is the right kind of flow. This will save you the energy of arranging and re-arranging heavy furniture multiple times.
Bedroom Inspiration - on Polyvore.com
We're tackling the bedroom first as part of our Spring Cure. For week one I envisioned how we want to use the space and decided that it needed to feel more like a retreat. So less storage, less books, less laundry, more organization and all calming tones are the themes. Getting rid of the red duvet and hunter green flannel sheets is going to make that place feel so much more zen and less cave-like.
Week two is all about falling back in love with your kitchen if you're going room by room and planning a room rearrangement if you're doing the one-room workout. We will be finishing a few projects and deep cleaning the kitchen this week and hope to finalize our bedroom furniture layout tomorrow.
Back from LA where it was a balmy 70. The 50 degree increase in temperature was nice, even if I wasn't out in it for long. Not much to say, its LA, once you've done Universal and downtown there isn't much to do except shop and go out with friends.
The thing that made me smile the most this weekend was browsing the Borders book store in the Seattle airport and coming across a book by the title: "The Pirates! in an Adventure with Communists" That's about the strangest book title I've seen in awhile. Apparently its a reprint of an old vintage title.
Instead I left with Berlitz Croatian dictionary and audio lesson cd which was on sale. Why Croatian? Well, a close friend is from there and who wouldn't love a country with Mediterranean beaches and cuisine, lovely mountain regions (close enough to drive to Austria and Switzerland if there isn't enough skiing for you), and 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and 8 national parks. Now add in the fact that I could couch surf and stay at his families private island and you've got a recipe for major wander lust.
I always try to get functional in the language of a country before going there so I'm starting now.
Have a cup of tea. It revives you. Today I'm wishing I had one of these mugs. Your drink also flows into the handle itself making your tea (or coffee) time more of an experience than a routine occurrence. At $48, this is a little rich for my blood, but many good things are. This mouthblown cup is made out of sturdy and heat resistant Pyrex.
Manufacturer: Laurence Brabant, France
The fact that I've come a long way was emphasized this weekend when I followed a friend into the hotel I was staying at in Salt Lake. I asked her if she was extending her stay after the conference she was attending over the weekend and she said "No, I just like my gels." as she dragged in a suitcase almost as big as she was. When she looked at my small roll-on, she was astounded and asked how I do it. So here you go, my two cents worth.
Basic daily must-haves for purse size makeup bag are: pressed powder compact, travel-size cleanser, moisturizer and sunscreen combo, lip balm, lip color, mascara, travel-size hand sanitizer and breath mints. Anything more is probably extra and hard to justify. Ask yourself why you need it.
- Need a facial scrub? Grab packets of regular white sugar from the restaurant. Just lather up your face with a cleanser, then scrub in the sugar using your finger tips in small circular motions.
- Q-tips work just as well as brushes, don't pack a ton of brushes.
- Don't pack blush. You can use a great lipstick color as a cream blush or buy a lip/cheek stain. Choose lighter shades and blend on after foundation but before powder.
- Shampoo & conditioner are available in 99% of hotels. If you're going the hostel or couchsurfing route I would suggest solid shampoos from Lush rather than fooling with more items in your 3-1-1 bag.
- Don't use the size of your toiletries as an excuse. You can alway repackage them. You can find some really cute toiletry bottles to repackage everything in. The ones below are from the UK, but you can get them almost anywhere.
- If you really need to scrimp, your hotel can probably provide you toothpaste and a toothbrush once you get there, but I wouldn't chance it.
- Use hair conditioner instead of shaving cream.
The items above are a picture of my typical travel toiletry bag for trips less than 3 weeks. In addition to the list above, I usually add in hand lotion, undereye concealer and deep cleaning wipes. The wipes are great when on a plane because really, who wants to wash their face in an airplane bathroom? All the liquids easily fit in a single quart-size bag. Take a look at your toiletries, and you'll probably be able to trim it down to the point where you can fit it all in your carry-on. When I travel these days I fit all of my toiletries, wet and dry in my 3-1-1 bag if its a less than 1 week trip. Unbelievable to think.
After I finished cleaning yesterday I had a spotlessly clean kitchen. My first instinct was to cook something. Unfortunately I haven't been grocery shopping for almost a week, so there really wasn't much to cook with. I finally scrapped together enough ingredients to make chocolate chip cookies after begging a 2nd egg off of my neighbor. I am now definitely in a baking mood. Combined with my spring cleaning mood this has me craving sleek modern and colorful kitchen accessories. The image above is a roundup of items I've had bookmarked for awhile. I especially want the apron from Anthropologie, tea stick from the Moma store and kitchen timer from the National Palace Museum of Taiwan.
There is a London Butter nail salon in the Seattle airport and I have spent enough time laid-over there to have stopped by a few times. There is nothing like a foot massage and some fresh paint after 34 hours of flying. I used to buy whatever nail polish, but I really have stuck with the Butter London product since I started using it. It goes on way better than Opi and is a 3 free company meaning their products contain no Formaldehyde, no Toluene and no DBP. (known carcinogens) The color you see above is Take Me To Bed Red, not too orange, not too blue, just the perfect red for feeling pretty, even when you're all alone. ($14)
Take a moment this Friday and have a cup of tea. It revives you. This tea set is so gorgeous I would almost be afraid to use it. I would love to add it to my collection though. I'll just have to meet a member of the Royal Bavarian family and see if they have a spare.
Manufacturer: Porzellan Manufaktur Nymphenburg
Designer: Dominikus Auliczek
Design Year: 1795
Color: Robin's egg blue with white detail
Material: Handmade porcelain
Price: $1598 for tea pot, $519 for tea cup
For more than 250 years the Porzellan Manufackur Nymphenburg has held its prestigious position as of one of the world’s finest producers of porcelain. Originally made in 1795, the Pearl Symphony tea service is an exceptional example of neo-classical design, and marks the first time in European history that a tea service was designed with twelve sides rather than the traditional rounded shape. Pearl-like flourishes adorn the pale blue set and each piece of which is amazingly light-weight and handmade exactly the same way it was over 200 years ago.
Bohemian sculptor Dominikus Auliczek served as Modellmeiser at the Porzellan Manufackur Nymphenburg from 1763 through 1797, and stayed on as artistic director until 1804. He brought a neo-classical influence to the company, and many of his designs are still manufactured by the company today. He created over 100 animals and hunt scenes, but is best known for creating the dodecagon Pearl Symphony service, which is now the unofficial service of the Royal Bavarian Family.
I ended up watching Anderson Cooper 360 after smearing the mask you see above in a gooey citrusy mess all over my face. It is from The Body Shop and is absolutely awesome. When I was little I loved not wearing sunscreen so that when I got burned I could peel my skin off in sheets and look at the skin (disgusting I know). This peel helps undo some of that sun damage and when you remove it, it peels off in sheets, just like my skin used to (so satisfying). The peel is made of Antioxidant vitamin C which encourages production of collagen, improves elasticity, and protects against damaging environmental aggressors. It is made out of fruit acids of papaya, apple and pumpkin enzymes which gives it a fantastic smell as it stimulates cell renewal and cleanse pores for a dewy glow. It also comes in a small enough package that you can pack it in your carry-on to apply while you watch your pay-per-view movie in your hotel room. It feels deliciously decadent.
Today it has snowed 12 inches, with another 6 expected overnight. If I can get away with it, I'm hoping the roads won't be plowed tomorrow and I can call it a snow day. Snow days make the perfect spa days. You can sit on your sofa, watching a movie while the snow comes down and let your nail polish dry, something I would never have time for on a weekend with all of my household work to do. Something about snow days makes them seem like found time. But, with the economy in mind and my love of all things sustainable, I'll be making a few of my own scrubs and lotions sans packaging. Apartment Therapy did a recent roundup of their favorite recipes.
Foot Scrub: Mix equal parts granulated sugar and olive oil and rub. From One Happy Panda: To Exfoliate Elbows and Knees: Cut an orange in half and rub. Avocado Facial: Mix 1 tbsp mashed avocado, 1 tsp honey, 3 drops cider vinegar and a little sesame oil. From Natural Homemade Beauty Bath Soaks: Add a cup of strongly brewed peppermint tea to the water for an herbal soak. or Add a few tablespoons of liquid milk or dry milk for a milk bath From Green LIving or Try the recipe we use (Epsom salts and essential oils and new a little bit of glycerin) For Dry Skin: Rub pure coconut milk (not oil, but milk) into skin to battle dry skin. For Puffy Eyes: Use chamomile, green or black tea bags steep them in just boiling water and then refrigerate. Place them over the eyes
I may make it a spa day regardless of the snow. This week at WW weigh-in I hit 5% loss. I was ecstatic and really deserve a reward.
Image from Martha Stewart
Liz Lang's desk
I have a bad habit of cramming an entire list of things to do, whether it is home improvement, cleaning, cooking, or real employment work into as short of time as possible (or at least in my head possible, if not reality). At home this often ends up with my ignoring everything on the list and crawling under a blanky. I blame it on college, which drilled into my head the "Postpone, postpone, cram, repeat" mantra. Unfortunately I don't have a position which allows me the flexibility to just get my work done by the deadlines and go home, I have to keep my seat warm 8-5 or take leave.
Drew Barrymore's Desk
I got a new project yesterday at work. It is amazing how working on the same thing for 4 months makes you feel like you're in school, right down to the procrastination and cramming before the final. Things that you learn in school, especially habits, don't always translate well into the workplace. Oh well, I did get the rush today of a new project. Just like going down the school supply aisle before a new semester I went to the office supply closet. I returned to my desk with a new binder, tabbies, a fresh highlighter and pens and sat down like I was at the first day of a new class with all new things to learn. I'll just have to try reverse procrastination, getting it all done early so that I can go on to my next project high rather than stringing it out until the deadline. I guess making that transition will take me from being a competent employee to a great one. If I ever want to consult instead of work for a company, learning to take on a project and get it done quickly will also be an important skill. If I was a consultant though, my desk would look more like one of the ones in this post (in my head of course).
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Saturday I walked about 4 miles around downtown to see what I could see without a car. Afterward I went over to the Hilton where they were having a Salsa convention and danced for all my 6 weeks worth of lessons worth surrounded by internationally famous salsa dancers who were rail thin and gorgeous. Fun was had by all. I learned that no matter how good, Salsa dancers want more people in their sport and are willing to be patient with those of us without a drop of Spanish or latin-american blood. It was amazing.
Here is the route I took. Click through on the map for more details. A slow stroll will take you through this route in under 2 hours leaving plenty of time for shopping or stopping in at the family history center or to search desperately for coffee. I'll post photos next.
1. Old Social Hall Museum - 39 S. State Street 321-8745. Remnants of first public building in Utah and first theatre west of the Missouri. A glass enclosure displays the walls of the original building, along with artifacts. Historical tours available.
2. Beehive House - Surrounding Neighborhood - 67 E. South Temple 240-2671. A National Historic Landmark. Served as the official residence of Brigham Young when he was President of the LDS Church and Governor of the Utah Territory. Free tours daily.The surrounding neighborhood is full of great old homes of completely differen't styles.
3. Utah State Capitol -Interesting architecture which tries to look old, even though it is a relatively new replacement to the previous capitol which burned down.
4. Brigham Young Park - Located across State Street from the Church Office Building plaza. Free one-hour "Concerts in the Park" are presented Tuesday & Friday evenings during June, July and August.
5. LDS Church Office Building - 50 E. North Temple 240-2190. This imposing structure is the world-wide headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has two observation decks with views of the mountains and valley. They are open to the public on the 26th floor. Free tours Mon-Sat 9 am-4:30 pm. Closed Saturdays between Labor Day and Memorial Day. Also, free guided tours of the beautiful gardens on the building plaza are available on a seasonal basis. Phone 240-5916 for a Garden Tour schedule.
6. Eagle Gate - State Street & South Temple. Erected in 1859 at the entrance to Brigham Young's property which led to the mouth of City Creek Canyon. Replaced several times over the years, the present 4,000-pound. eagle with a wingspread of 20 feet caps the 76-foot span of Eagle Gate.
7. Family History Library - for all of you genealogists out
8. Brigham Young Monument - Just north of the intersection of Main Street & South Temple. This monument honors LDS Church leader and pioneer-colonizer, Brigham Young, and pays tribute to the Utah Indians and fur trappers who preceded Mormon settlers into the Salt Lake Valley.
9.Tabernacle on Temple Square - 50 W. North Temple 240-2534. The centerpiece of this beautifully landscaped 10-acre plot of ground in the heart of downtown Salt Lake is the six-spired Salt Lake Temple. Also located on the Square is the domed Tabernacle, home of the world-famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir; the Assembly Hall where free concerts are given most weekends; two visitor centers and more. Free tours are given daily in 30 languages. Tours start every few minutes at the flagpole. The public is invited to the Tabernacle Choir rehearsals on Thursdays at 8 pm (come and go as you like), and to the Sunday morning network broadcast at 9:30 am (you must be seated by 9:15 am). Daily organ recitals are given Mon-Sat at noon and 2 pm (noon only in the winter), and Sundays at 2 pm. All concerts and recitals are free. Please phone 1-800-537-9703 for a Temple Square Concert Series schedule and other information.
10. EnergySolutions Arena - Home of the Utah Jazz and tons of scalpers
11. Shopping, hey I get tired of shopping online and being from Alaska sometimes
12. Clark Planetarium - If you have extra time stop by, otherwise the building is cool architecturally. 110 S 400 W, 801.456.STAR (7827). Daily star shows, music entertainment shows, and Utah's only 3D IMAX theatre. Two floors of free, interactive exhibits, and a unique science store.
13. Capitol Theater - 50 West 200 South 323-6800 / Ticket Office 355-2787. Built in 1912 to host touring vaudeville shows, the theatre is home to Ballet West, Utah Opera Company, Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, Repertory Dance Theatre, and hosts many other touring performers and shows.
14.Gallivan Center Ice Rink - Right outside my hotel window I watched the skaters on the last night before it closed. So sad as this weekend was the first weekend the one in Fairbanks was warm enough to open. Truly magical at night with the pretty twinkle lights.
15. Marriott Downtown - Started and ended here. A good value for a comfy room and saints preserve us a Starbucks in the lobby. Apparently for $30 each way (lower if you negotiate) you can take a cab from the Marriott to the Great Salt Lake. A group of 4 splitting the cost could make it worthwhile.
Updated 4/6/09 Apparently I missed a spot that might be of interest, the Discovery Gateway Museum for Kids, Four floors & over 60,000 square feet of interactive, hands-on FUN for all ages! Their website says: "Discovery Gateway is more than a museum; it's an experience you never outgrow. Our engaging workshops, programs, and exhibits inspire children to use their imagination, discover something new, and connect with their world." Hours: Monday through Thursday 10 am-6 pm and Friday and Saturday 10 am-8 pm (444 West 100 South
Salt Lake City, Utah 84101 801-456-KIDS)