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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Item 46: No Social Media

I did it! I stayed off of social media for a whole week, and it was an amazing feeling! I didn't think it would be so easy considering I'm still not working, and normally sit at home a lot.  I usually don't get out of bed, or go to sleep at night without checking my Instagram or Facebook.  But without it, I was getting out of bed sooner, being more productive throughout the day, and going to bed earlier too.  I really was feeling quite addicted, it was controlling my life in a way. It's easy to spend hours browsing Instagram, or checking on old friends via their FB. So instead I found other ways to keep busy. Here's the run down of what I've been up to for the past week without social media:

  • Thursday: watched a little TV, walked the dogs, went to Ulta for some much needed bronzer, then Target for other essentials, went to the gym, dyed my hair, went to dinner with the group, then our favorite new bar. Very busy day!
  • Friday: got my hair fixed (I will not do it myself ever again), went to lunch with the hubby, then did a little shopping together, picked up a b-day present, read Little Bee, went out for milk shakes.
  • Saturday: house cleaning, sent present, grocery shopping, read, made S'mores Pie, dinner, and early to bed!
  • Sunday: went on a little road trip up north and on a hike (4 hours, 5 miles, and 15,900 steps) with Frankie and crew, then came home, read, and sat in the sun with the dogs, scrubbed the showers, laundry.
  • Monday: mini workout, Tanger outlets in Severville with Katie, then BBQ with Katie & Daniel, enjoyed sun & wine with great friends!
  • Tuesday: Played with dogs (my 2 plus our guest Cooper), made crock-pot corned beef & cabbage (traditional St. Patricks day meal), read, took a much needed nap, went to lake w/ Cooper, ate dinner, then to Irish Times for St. Patty's Day celebration!
  • Wednesday: Worked on today's blog, finished reading Little Bee, studied for ambulance drivers license test, set up interview for Paramedic position at Rural Metro, Knoxville, signed up for organ & tissue donor program, gym, library for new book.
Overall, I really think it did me good to stay off social media. I was very productive, and felt a sense of freedom and calm without the senseless pressure on myself to occasionally post, or to continuously monitor the lives of my friends & acquaintances.  Don't get me wrong, I did miss seeing some IG posts, and I'm very curious as to what my news feed will be buzzing with, but I really do need to cut back.  Maybe even just cut back on who I follow on both.  I honestly would love to only be FB friends w/ close friends and family, I hate feeling pressured to friend every person I've ever known, not that I don't care about you or that I don't want to acknowledge you, I just want to simplify my social media life.  Or maybe I'll cut back to only check in on Sunday's... Anyway, I'm happy to be back, but I will probably be on a lot less now. Cheers!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Item No. 55: Buy a Houseplant

(Source: Houseplants for Healthier Eyes)

An easy way to make a house a home, is to add a houseplant.  It can be fake, but what's the fun in that?  Living houseplants add life, and can enhance the air we breathe (like a natural air purifier). Unfortunately, when it comes to plants, I have a history of killing them, and I don't mean by eating them.  I have over the past 10 years, killed every house or outdoor plant I've owned, Oops!  Each plant I've owned has been a different species, and each succeeding plant seems to live longer than its predecessor (that's a good sign right?).  Yet, I will not give up on my ability to care for one.  It seems that my house plants have a better hope of survival since I am inside everyday, and don't always get outside to tend to the outsiders.  So for item 55 on my list of 101 things, I came across this article Houseplants for Healthier Eyes And Cleaner Indoor Air, by way of my optometrists website.  Its a good article about houseplants that clean the air, which in turn, improves eye health, and our health in general by removing indoor toxins.  Listed in the article was another article, The Top 10 Plants For Removing Indoor Toxins which also helped me in my search for my next plant/experiment/victim.  And of course I searched Pinterest for more houseplant ideas.  From my sources I have come up with a few options:

Comes in many varieties.
 I am particularly partial to the
hanging variety, maybe for my mantle.

Boston Fern:
This is also listed on NASA's list
of plants that improve air quality.
I'm thinking this could go on a
stand in our bedroom upstairs.

Spider Plant:
I love the way the branches hang,
and new "babies" are born,
from which you can create more transplants.
There is a hook in my ceiling in the
living room that I could hang this from.

I am very attracted to these,
I will probably look for a pre-made
arrangement to start with.
This would be a nice touch to
the kitchen or bathrooms.

I haven't included some other common "easy" to care for plants, because either I've already killed them, or I wasn't partial to them for myself.  And I most certainly am not going to consider the Lucky Bamboo plant, it would be extremely bad luck if I end up letting it die!  Actually, when I look a these plants, I am reminded of my late Nana & Papa's house in Monterey, CA, and also my Grandmother's house in Alameda.  They were both full of lovely houseplants, including some, if not all, of these plants I have chosen.  My next step is to research which plants are best suited for the environment I live in, find a local nursery to see what they suggest, get some prices, and figure out where I will place my plant(s).

Thursday, February 19, 2015

101 Things in 1001 Days

So in honor of coming back to the blogging world 1000 days after my first blog, I am joining the 101 things in 1001 days challenge (aka Day Zero Project).  Call me crazy (I may be just a tad, it runs in my family), but why the heck not?  Some things are simple things I would like to add to my life, some are career goals, others are definitely more fun and adventurous.  Hopefully my friends and family will appreciate the list, and if I can inspire just 1 person to make a list of their own, then that will complete my 100th item on the list!  Here's the link to my list, and where you can go to be inspired to create a list of your own. www.dayzeroproject.com 

So starting today, February 19, 2015, and ending November 16, 2017 
I hope to accomplish these 101 things: 
(Wish me luck!)
  1. Read 20 books suggested by friends:
    1. Deception Point by Dan Brown (from Lesley)
    2. Little Bee by Chris Cleave (from Kelley)
    3. Unbroken by Jamie Lisa Forbes (from Shelby)
  2. Make a family tree for myself
  3. Make a family tree for my husband
  4. Take a girls trip to Cancun
  5. Sleep under the stars
  6. No fast food for a month  February 7, 2015 - March and still going...
  7. See 10 classic movies I've never seen (or have forgotten)
    1. Casablanca
    2. Silence of the Lamb
    3. Schindler's List
  8. Complete a coloring book
  9. Find a personally inspirational quote and work it into a piece of art or home decor
  10. Make Sourdough bread from scratch
  11. Take a train ride through the Smokies
  12. Go to a midnight movie premier
  13. Do the 200 squat challenge 
  14. Go to a music festival
  15. Give up alcohol for Lent  (I was pregnant for Lent, that counts right?)
  16. Give up caffeine for a month (not including chocolate) (Also gave up for most of pregnancy)
  17. Try a new recipe each week from my stack of cookbooks and magazines
  18. Complete 100 Blogs ( 2 down 98 to go!)
  19. Update my blog
  20. Become a CCT Paramedic (I need 2 years experience as a paramedic first)
  21. Become a flight medic (I need 2 years experience, plus my CCT)
  22. Become an ACLS & PALS instructor (These will also help me become a flight medic)
  23. Attend a NASCAR race (Hubbs will enjoy this!)
  24. Go to an Alabama Football game at Bryant Denny Stadium
  25. Go to Disney World & Universal Studios Orlando
  26. Sign up for a month of kickboxing <-- I took it a step further and became a kickboxing instructor!
  27. Sign up for a month of Barre classes
  28. Sew something for myself to wear
  29. Sew something for someone else to wear < Made Ronnie a Halloween Costume!
  30. Complete a mini triathalon
  31. Pay off credit cards monthly < Did this by the end of 2017, but trying to get back to it.
  32. Try 10 new restaurants in Knoxville: Here are some off the top of my head, i'm only listing the ones i actually like, and would return to.
    1. Mellow Mushroom (wasn't a fan of the Mushroom soup or my cheese Calzone)
    2. Taste of Thai (this place was packed for lunch on a Friday, I ordered take out and it was amazing!)
    3. Tom + Chee (short for grilled cheese and tomato soup. A comfort food favorite of mine, but I was not at all impressed with their soup (I prefer the Safeway or Kroger house tomato bisque), and was annoyed that I couldn't order just a grilled gouda sandwich. This place was a bust)
    4. The Chop House (Wow! Lots of TN locations, as well as Georgia, and Kentucky. I had the prime rib sandwich with a house salad, it was a perfect lunch!)
    5. Asia Cafe (decent sushi spot near my new house. It's easy, we get it togo mostly due to baby)
    6. Gru Jo's (German style restaurant.  Decent and different, kind of greasy, like bar food, but made from scratch.  Moved then closed)
    7. Oscar's Tacos (Located on the strip near the UT campus. This is THE best place to get tacos in Knoxville!  The closest thing to a Taqueria west of the Mississippi. LOL)
    8. The Burgers (Took over location of GruJo's.  Great burger, close to home, fries are amazing! I had the Knox burger and will definitely have it again!)
    9. Balter Beerworks (Delicious food, great beer, fun atmosphere, close to downtown!)
    10. Duck Donuts (Well, I've become a lover of the donut, but not just any donut, these donuts! I don't go often, because i'm too lazy and they usually have a line, but man are they delicious! Made to order, cake donuts, yum!)
  33. Family reunion in a new place
  34. Go to New York
  35. Visit each of the 13 original colonies: New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia
  36. Take mom on a vacation < We drove to TN and flew to CA together does that count?
  37. Buy a house < As of September 1st 2017 we are homeowners!
  38. Try SUP yoga
  39. Complete 1000 hours of volunteer work
  40. Weekend backpacking trip
  41. Save $1 a day for 1001 days and buy a purse or shoes with it
  42. Buy a bedroom set
  43. Paint something < Painted Ronnie's bedroom furniture
  44. Create a craft room
  45. No Starbucks for 100 days... Yikes, this might be tough! <Easy peasy now that I actually don't even like their coffee.
  46. Stay off all social media for a week (Starting March 12 @ midnight to March 19)
  47. Make dinner every night for a week 
  48. Give up bread for a month
  49. Go someplace new once a month: 
  50. Take a weekend trip to someplace new alone
  51. Buy a piece of nice jewelry for myself on my birthday < I've bought a couple not too expensive things
  52. Make an iTunes playlist of my 100 favorite songs
  53. Buy an ugly piece of furniture and bring it to life <Painted a plain white crib to match furniture
  54. Make art out of wine bottles
  55. Buy a houseplant  Check out my Houseplant post! Bought plant 3/9/15
  56. Buy a diffuser
  57. Make something with essential oils
  58. Make a body scrub < I have a coconut oil, brown sugar, honey scrub I use on my lips!
  59. Complete the 52 week money challenge
  60. Take family photos
  61. Paint the globe (I have a faded globe that could use some love)
  62. Buy a dutch oven
  63. Go to a tea room
  64. Go on a hot air balloon ride
  65. Shred junk mail and keep it going Yay! Got this done 2/26
  66. Visit KJ in St. Louis: April 26th here I come!
  67. Get a hot stone massage
  68. Renew vows some place romantic for 10 year anniversary
  69. Go to the Kentucky Derby (Kentucky) (Wearing a floral dress & big hat of course!)
  70. Always kiss my husband goodnight
  71. Anonymously send flowers to a friend in need
  72. Visit The Lost Sea in Craighead Caverns (Tennessee)
  73. Go to the Parthenon in Nashville (Tennessee)
  74. Go zip lining in Gatlinburg
  75. Write a letter to myself to open in 10 years (make it an email: thanks Future Me)
  76. Answer the "50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind"
  77. Raise money for Alzheimer's Association: Walk 9/26/15 Knoxville
  78. Start an EMS journal
  79. Pay it forward < Bought coffee for someone in drive through
  80. Go on a dinner cruise < Brother came to visit, we took mom for Mother's day
  81. Swim in the Atlantic Ocean < Miami, FL 9/2016
  82. See a play at the Tennessee Theatre < The Book of Mormon 7.10.18
  83. Host a game night! Who loves Cards Against Humanity?
  84. Go wine tasting in Tennessee
  85. Add to my Elephant collection <Ronnie has a few elephants in his collection
  86. Rent a cabin in Gatlinburg in fall
  87. Give a 100% tip
  88. Make a pie on Pi day Made this amazing S'mores Pie!
  89. Have dinner by candlelight
  90. No TV for a week
  91. Learn about a new disease each month:
    • Feb. Phlebitis 
    • March
    • April
  92. Make a new dessert every month: 
  93. Work on calligraphy writing < I'm not very good at this, I'll stick to blogging
  94. Go on a family vacation
  95. Send more cards just because
  96. Overcome a personal challenge
  97. Visit Amanda in Atlanta, GA
  98. Weekend in Memphis
  99. Reach my weight lifting goal
  100. Inspire somebody to start their own day zero project
  101. Throw a party for completing the list! Still working on it...

Sunday, February 15, 2015

A (is for Alabama) Wreath!

So we've all seen lots of pretty wreaths created for all occasions on Pinterest, and of course you can buy them pre-made on etsy or at your local craft store, but since I have a creative gene, of course I had a to make one for myself! Its not perfect, but it was my first go at wreath making, and I had fun making it. Here is the finished project: 

I got all of my supplies at Hobby Lobby for around $50, the most expensive part being the ribbon, which I have a lot left over, plus the sign, pen, and wreath form are all re-useable.  I got a 16" form, but I could have gotten a size smaller if I didn't have the chalk board sign hanging in the middle.  

I initially started it with just the red 5 ½" decco mesh ribbon, but it was too bare, so I added the black burlap ribbon. I also used several printed ribbons in Alabama themed colors to fill in the wreath. I used just one spool of each with some left overs for other Alabama themed crafts!

Wired houndstooth 2 ½ " and wired red satin 1 ½"
cut into approx. 6" strips and tied together with
pipe cleaners cut with room to attach to wreath.
⅞" Ribbon in black, and red & white
polka-dots, and ⅝" houndstooth ribbon cut
to varying lengths.
The whole project wasn't difficult, its just a matter of deciding a theme, picking the coordinating pieces, and putting it together was the easiest part.  There are several ways to do it, and many Pinterest boards on how to do it, but all I did was gather, bunch, attach and repeat! 
I stacked the red deco mesh burlap on the black burlap mesh, and attached it to the form at the cross points.  Starting at any point on the inside loop, gathering about 6" of ribbon each time, and using a houndstooth & red satin loop with red pipe cleaner (which I cut in half) to attach.  I attached at every cross section, but only added the ribbon every other time. I went around the inside loop, then did the same on the outside loop, attaching the ribbon at the opposite cross sections the second time around. After the meat of the wreath was attached, I added the stacks of strips with black pipe cleaner at random places to the wreath form. Again, this is my first wreath, so its not perfect, but I had fun making it and will definitely be making more in the future. Also, I made the wreath a few months ago, and I didn't take the picture of the finished project until today, after it's been squished between my door and glass screen, so it really was prettier when I first made it. 

1000 days later...

<a href="http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/3748106/?claim=mxnsh9xn2qe">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>
So I posted my first "blog" almost 1000 days ago (997 to be exact)! Initially, I had a great idea that I wanted to start blogging about the things I create, cook, enjoy, etc., but life got crazy busy and I just didn't have the time or energy to be creative. Here's a quick run down of what I have done in the past 1000 days...

May 2012 I was working as an EMT in my home town of Escalon, CA, until that October I started working a busy 9-1-1 system in Alameda County. I was soon working full time and 55 miles away from home 3 + days a week, and I work 12 hour shifts at minimum, so any day I worked required at least 15 hours of my day.  I loved my job so that's all I did!

June 2013, took a trip of a lifetime to the Virgin Islands, both US and British with my husband, aunt & uncle and 2 cousins! Then in July I started paramedic school (40 miles from home, 3 days a week), and was still working full time so I think I had 1 day off a week, if I was lucky!  

April 2014, I turned 30! Celebrated by going surfing in CA for the first time, got shocked in the face at Tough Mudder the next day, and finished the weekend with a beautiful Sunday brunch with my family and friends.

June 2014 I was able to quit working so I could focus on my paramedic internship and get moved... Oh yeah, my husband took a job in Knoxville, TN in December 2013! So we were living 2400 miles apart for 10 months while I finished my paramedic requirements in California. 

So finally, at the end of September 2014 I was done with my internship and ready to move.  I arrived in Knoxville on October 1, 2014 and have been a "housewife" for the last 4 months, while I studied for my National Registry EMT-Paramedic license... Which I passed on February 5, 2015!!! Yahoo! So now, I am looking forward to getting back to work. In the meantime, lets blog! 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Today's Project, Curtains!

This is my very first blog entry, so bear with me...
I have been working on making some drapes to replace the towels we hang over the floor length doors that keep the house cool now that summer is kicking in.  I recently went to a craft store and found some great material on sale for $9.99/yd, all of the other drape material was in the $20-30 range, and I needed enough for 3 50" panels that are 90" long, so the three sections ended up being around $70, which I thought was a lot, but it could have been a lot more.  So I got my material, then took it home and started looking for an easy pattern on my go-to blog, Pinterest. I think the pattern, or blog I used for a guide was Adventures in Dressmaking. So here's what I did, in a nut shell...

First thing's first, sew the sides:
1. Fold in raw edge 1/2" along both lengths
2. Fold in another 1/2" so the raw edge is hidden
3. Pin in place
4. Take off shoe so you have a good feel for the pedal

5. Iron thicker folds in place before pinning
6. Measuring every few inches keeps it even
7. Sew the top and bottom.

8. I use my arm to help pull up the fabric as I go
9. Fold in the corners to make a nice edge

10. Here's the outside finished product!