Friday, July 29, 2011

Happy Weekend of Fun!

I'm plotting a delightful final weekend of July (can you believe that?), filled with blue paint and bike rides.

I wanted to send you into the weekend with this: two minutes of the cats eating corn on the cob (well, after we scraped off the kernels for a salad). These are definitely Iowa born and bred felines.

You are welcome, blog readers! Have a magnificent weekend!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

It's a dirty job

In early 2009, I moved into this little old house. As I scrubbed the kitchen before unpacking all my kitchen booty, I noticed the stupidest sink setup ever:

Yep, a 1/8" gap between sink lip and wall - perfect for trapping gunk, water and debris.

I don't recall if I actually cleaned the gap that day or not. Maybe the previous owners had before the left. Maybe my mom did it for me because she's good like that. Either way, the gap gave us no trouble.

Fast forward to last night, when a mood hit me and I Wanted to Clean. I set about scrubbing down the stove-top, counters and cabinets and was soon ready to Comet the heck out of the sink.

That's when it hit me like a ton of bricks: I had never cleaned the gap. Never! Ever! That little sliver of counter held secrets deeper and darker than any mob snitch-to-be, sleeping with fishes. The level of grime was so much that the gap could not even contain it all. Slime and filth poured over like muffin tops at Six Flags. It was time to clean.

And it was so horrible, reader, the things I saw last night. I couldn't keep this to myself.

Ten Q-Tips later, I had the gleaming sink crack of yore. And I'll have you know, sink gaps are awfully hard to capture in photographs with a cell phone.

Do you have any spots you just up and forget to clean for two years? Or am I just a frat boy living in a homemaker's body?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Seventeen beach hippies

Growing up, our family always vacationed with lots of friends and family, always at the beach. We'd pile into minivans and drive through the night to the Florida pan-handle, ready to spend the week camped out (oh my gosh, NOT literally. EW.) in the white sand, getting sunburnt beyond recognition, buying loads of tie-dyed coverups and bonding like whoa.

This year, after an eight-year hiatus, we hit the beach again. Seventeen of us bunked up in a house right on the beach and settled in for delightful times.

We set up the traditional beach shanty and in between sips of boozed-up Arnold Palmers, we sailed, kayaked and boogie-boarded the days away. Our most vocally-talented member knocked the snot out of some townies at kareoke (metaphorically, you know). The "kids" (now all 21+ (ok, fine, ++)) taught our parents flippy cup and I will thank my lucky stars for the rest of my days that there were no cameras out that night.

Every minute was superfun (and I'm not just saying that because for the first time in my whole life, I didn't get sunburnt at the beach), but the highlight was our twilight beach photo shoot, complete with matching tie-dyed shirts, courtesy of my sister.

Overwhelming, isn't it? (in a good way)

Of course, it soon became Jump Picture Fest 2011. 


Nice air, Hubs!

Clearly ahead of my time.

Do you vacation in bulk? Have you ever taught your parents a drinking game? Have you ever seen a better looking group of tie-dye-wearing homies? I didn't think so.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Yipes, stripes!

Last week, Bigger, Better, Best was beach-bound with 15 of our nearest and dearest. I'll regale you with group photos and stories about how we spent 12 hours a day on the sandy shores of Grayton Beach, Florida later. As an amateur journalist, though, I feel the bigger story here is the ridiculous nature of last Saturday.

8:00 ish a.m., 88 degrees: We rise and shine. We peek out the back window and see the following:
We are sad. 

8:30 is a.m., 94 degrees: Post-donuts, I don my work jorts and $2 flippies.
 9:00 a.m., 98 degrees: We pick and peel and sand the offending garage wall. We acknowledge it looks shitty. We are soaked with sweat.
 9:15 a.m., 101 degrees, no joke: I artfully arrange our weapons of the day.
 10:30 a.m., 108 degrees: We complete Project Part One, Glidden Caribe. We squint eyes and tilt heads and hope for the best as we push onward, ever onward.
 High Noon, 115 degrees: Project Parts Two (Glidden Ivy Topiary and Sliced Cucumber) and Three applied. Jorts have been removed and your humble blogger is painting in a swimsuit. Hubs loses three pounds of water weight in an hour.
 3:00 p.m., 400 degrees, hellish humidity: Project Part Four (Martha's Acuaba Teal) is complete and touch-ups have been applied. Eyes squint again, necks crane, painting duo agrees to never paint outdoors on such a hot day again, even if in a few hours we still think it looks weird.
 4:00 p.m.: Eye pallets cleansed, we silly homeowners agree - Stripes Are Good.  
 Allow me to dazzle you with our amazing painting-in-the-line skillz, y'all. What, what?
 Present: We are the proud owners of an outdoor living space that looks delightfully beachy, with a dash of Mexican restaurant. So much better than starring at a blah tan wall when we hang out on the patio. Bold move, right?

Honest opinion, you guys - digging our stripes? What's the kookiest paint job you've done lately?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Goodbye, old friend

After a particularly ugly 13-mile trail ride a few weekends ago, Hubs and I decided that it was time to bid adieu to the hot pink Huffy that carted my sore rump around town these past few years, much to the amusement of local bike snobs. It was time to Upgrade. (Yep. Capital. This was momentous.)

Buying my First Grown Up Bike was a pain the the tookus. We went to local shops only to see nothing in our price range, got kicked out of a Target for riding in the aisles (in our defense, the store was dead and I looked both ways before crossing. I mean, how's an upstanding citizen like myself supposed to purchase a bicycle without proper testing first? Absurd! (also, we did not get kicked out, but we did get a very stern talking to from the 19 year old on duty in the toy aisle).

Just as we were about to give up and ride forever mismatched on Des Moines' fine trails, we found Barr Bikes. And even better, we found my bike.

The Raleigh Women's Route 3.0 in Purple.
Aint' she a beaut?

She's a purple Raleigh Route 3.0 and her gears actually shift and stay shifted, her brakes don't howl in agony with each use and she's deep purple, which, I cannot lie, is one of the main reasons she got swooped up by me. She's perfect.

Sadly, she's on order from the warehouse, so I didn't get to ride off into the sunset with her, but it won't be long until I'm tooling around like a Real Grown Up Cyclist on this little sweetheart. 

What was your first grown up bike? Wanna buy a hot pink Huffy?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The easiest way to look classy to add a scarf. I learned this old trick down in New Zealand, where everyone dresses like fashionable hippies, which is pretty much my most coveted style. I'd see ladies strolling around, hiding behind huge sunglasses, with their skinny jeans and knee-high boots (in 2005, so ahead of us!) with long, loopy scarves, army jackets and sloppy buns, looking like they just might have paparazzi hiding behind bushes and buildings waiting for them.

Oh. How I envied them as I trotted to work in one of the three pairs of (boot cut. Gasp!) jeans I brought for my six month stay and Columbia jacket. ("Hey! I'm American! Hey! Just passin' though y'all. Don't mind little ol' me.")

One quick trip to a cheap-o boutique changed that and I was soon sporting a scarf  that was so horrendously tacky and cheap that it may have lost me friends along with the best of 'em. Whatever. At least I thought I looked good in the moment.

Luckily, my scarf-purchasing habits coincided with the rise of scarf popularity once I returned stateside (coincidence? Am I a trend setter? Ha!) and I have an easy repertoire of  go-to scarves that add at least 10 style points to any outfit, even if I don't brush my hair (or, in the case of my hopeful, stylish hippie look, I suppose especially if I don't brush my hair).

Sadly though, now that it's summer, most of my scarves are out of commission; but a few weeks ago at Market Day downtown, I found the perfect summer scarf.

Stansberry scarves are super light-weight and have awesome little rosettes that add super-fly-ness to any t-shirt. I was so sold I bought one for each of my (far more fashionable) sisters' birthdays. While they go for a more polished look (they both own actual Michael Kors things. They are, like, very classic.), I know these scarves will still work. That's the beauty of a good scarf - works for everyone, from the schleppiest among us to the most highly styled.

What's your one-step-to-fabulous trick?

Friday, July 8, 2011

In which I delight in the city

I am not a city mouse. I hate crowds and tall buildings and paying SO MUCH attention to pedestrian-right-of-way and would much rather plod along a quiet, shady street and have enough space to maybepossibly grow some chickens someday when Hubs isn't looking.

But, I shelved the city-animosity for a nice weekend break in Chicago. You know, a holiday - a quick break is what I think I remember the UK-iest of sets calling them.

Please note the dude on the left of me. It's true what they say about Cubs fans - they're hot!

My lack of photographs from this excursion is at once sad (because it was a great hair weekend) and truly perfect (because it was also a weekend of great beers). I mean, we went to the Cubs-Sox game at Wrigley, and I, being a humble Cards fan (OK, fine, just a person from St. Louis), did my best to blend in with the locals, who seem impervious to all that frosty Old Style.

We wined and dined ourselves as much as humanly possibly because, c'mon, it was vacation. I even knocked back my first raw oyster at Gibsons. (I don't want to talk about it.)

Sunday, we wandered around like true tourists and hit the top of the Hancock. I also departed from my standby of empire-waisted day dresses and went for a true waist look. Thrilling and exotic life I lead, right?

We had a great time and if you're looking for a good place to stay in Chicago, I'd recommend the Sutton Place Hotel. It was all swank and swagger with a pinch of 1985. Who doesn't want a chunky black phone in the bathroom these days?

On the Fourth, we made it back to good old Iowa in time for some pool-axin' (pool + relaxing....? Will this one stick?), a quick bike ride to dinner and fireworks.

How was your long weekend? Whatcha doin' this weekend? Can I tag along?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

God bless America

Look closely to see the seven Ps at work: Prior proper planning prevents piss poor performance.

Or. In this case, it's being so lazy, we left the damn Christmas lights up so long, there is no point in taking them down.

But you know I'm a sucker for aliteration, so I'm calling this the seven Ps in action. Bug off.
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