February 2015 Playlist

I have a new Spotify playlist for you! Woo! I meant to post it earlier in the month, but then stuff happened and I didn’t. Story of my life.

Work’s been busy, and I’ve spent the last several weeks hunched over my keyboard writing various reports and applying for a super huge grant. I need music to concentrate when I’m writing, so I’ve been relying on Spotify to get me through my days.  A few weeks ago I discovered a playlist called Appalachia Rising, and I got all excited because my favorite music is the kind that sounds like it should be played over a montage of the Honey Boo Boo family skinning rattlesnakes down by the river in their underwear.

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Or, you know, a mountain man dancing with a raccoon.

One afternoon last week I was the only person in the building (or so I thought), so I unplugged my ear buds from my computer speakers and decided to blast the shit out of Appalachia Rising. I was enjoying a particularly loud crescendo involving multiple pairs of spoons and what sounded suspiciously like a guy beating two hubcaps together when a guy from across the hall walked in. I scrambled to turn it down the second I saw him, but I knew that he heard. I could see the judgment in his eyes. Not that I blame him – you kind of deserve to be judged if you get caught doing the white man’s overbite to a banjo solo, you know?

Anyway, I spared you (mostly) and only put one hillbilly song on this list. You’re welcome:

(For a good time, listen to track 11 while watching the man/raccoon gif. It’s magical.)

Dishes are done, man.

Exciting news: this week we made the final payment on our stove! Now that it’s a year old, I’m sure it’ll kick the bucket any day now. In fact, I hope it DOES break because I bought the super mega extra extended warranty. This is probably the most fundamental change that home ownership has made in my life: Pre home-purchase, I used to think warranties were for suckers. These days, I’d buy a warranty on a pair of used gym socks if somebody offered it to me. Because guess what? EVERYTHING BREAKS. Everything breaks, and one day you’ll wind up dying alone in the gutter because Social Security ran out and you spent your retirement savings on replacing the same kitchen appliance every three years.

Anxiety is fun, guys.

Anyway, we’re  being good Americans and celebrating our financial win by purchasing more stuff. That’s right, we’re getting a dishwasher! Whee! If you’ll recall, when we moved in there was a big gaping hole where the dishwasher used to be. We patched up the wall when we moved in, and we have been living without a dishwasher for the last year and a half. We’re basically living like pioneers.

Oregon Trail

I should also note that Dave is adamantly against this purchase. He seems to be operating under the impression that dishwashers don’t get dishes clean enough, and I’m under the impression that he is insane because SRSLY, WHAT? All I know is, if we don’t get a dishwasher soon I may resort to alternative methods.

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Like this.

However, it did occur to me last night that a dishwasher isn’t really a plug-in-and-go appliance, so I’ll probably have to pay somebody to install it. And if that process goes like any of the other home improvement projects we’ve tackled, it’ll cost 10 times what we’ve budgeted and will conclude with me plotting the best way to burn the house down and make it look like an accident. You may think I’m overreacting, but I’m not and here’s why: I looked up some diagrams online, and apparently a hose has to connect to the garbage disposal. And while we technically have a garbage disposal, it doesn’t so much dispose garbage as it does take up unnecessary space under the sink, thanks to the previous homeowners’ less-than-stellar DIY skills. So already I’m looking at adding “garbage disposal replacement” to the list of project expenses, and I haven’t even set foot in a store. Guys, a lonely gutter death is looking likely. I’m at least sure of one thing: I’ll be getting the extended warranty on that sucker.

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My buns, they don’t feel nothin’ like steel

Between  having a nasty cough that lasted an entire month and having lots of very important things to do (watching the two latest seasons of “Law and Order: SVU” on Netflix), I worked out a grand total of three times in January. Last night, I finally felt good enough to get back to it.

Instead of going to the gym, I decided to do a FitnessBlender video. They categorize their videos into levels 1-5, with 1 being easiest and 5 making me want to mail cat turds to the FitnessBlender headquarters. I normally choose level 4 videos, so yesterday I figured I’d do a level 3 just to “ease myself back into it.” Apparently I underestimated the impact of my month-long hiatus, because just the 2-minute warm up had me huffing and puffing. After the first round of HIIT, I looked like one of those people you see collapsing and pissing their pants at a marathon finish line, only instead of running 26.2 miles my grand accomplishment was  40 seconds of burpees. I may have to switch to something a bit more gentle.

angela-lansbury-workout-video

Like perhaps, this.

Pelvic thrusts, she wrote

Pelvic thrusts, she wrote.

Anyway, the good news is that I’ve been eating super healthy lately to counteract the fact that I haven’t been exercising as much.

Did you believe that? I didn’t think so. Case in point: my Super Bowl snack contribution consisted of a box of Cheez Its covered in canola oil and dusted with ranch dressing mix and red pepper flakes. They paired quite nicely with beer, cheese-filled pretzel bites, pizza, Velveeta cheese dip, and homemade whoopie pies.  I stepped on the scale expecting to be horrified, but as it turns out I actually lost a pound since I last weighed myself a month ago.

Britney Gif

I’ll be honest, my first reaction was, “YESSS, VELVEETA AND BEER 4EVER!” But since heart attacks don’t sound super fun, I’m resisting the urge to continue eating what is essentially the Honey Boo Boo diet. I eventually made it to the end of my level 3 workout without passing out and have a fridge full of veggies, so I guess that’s a start.

Oh Hey There

Things I did last week instead of blogging:

Worked, a lot.

Last week was a big one for my staff. We hosted our first event, participated in a two-day technical training for our grant project, and I started writing my very first grant application(!). I was kind of nervous when I woke up on Monday morning, but everything went perfectly. Someday I will learn that worrying is a big fat waste of my time. Just kidding, I totally won’t.

Scored this kickass mid-century sideboard.

Sideboard

A couple in my town started up an online auction last year, and mostly I just look at it and laugh at all the crap people are trying to get actual money for. Thirty dusty seed packets from 1992. A cast iron pot missing its lid. A pile of filthy boards titled, “Rustic Barrel Project: You Assemble.” But every once in a while I come across something awesome, like that sideboard up there, for which I paid a grand total of $43. The auctioneer says it’s from the ’40s, and it still has the original tags on the inside of the top drawer. Now comes the fun part: styling it. I’m thinking a cool lamp (like this or this), some pretty framed prints (I love this), and a few decorative accents will  make all the difference. (If you listen really hard, you will probably be able to hear Dave’s eyes rolling in their sockets the second he reads the phrase “decorative accents.”) I was thinking about painting it like this, but it’s so pretty as-is that I think I’ll leave it alone for now.

Reading.

Confession: I’m kind of a book snob. If you tell me you like, say, Nicholas Sparks, I will not necessarily write you off as a terrible person, but I will definitely question your judgment.

Nicholas Sparks

I’ve always kind of lumped Stephen King into the “overrated” category, probably because of his mass appeal, but I picked up “The Stand” a few weeks ago and SOMEBODY SEND HELP BECAUSE I CAN’T PUT IT DOWN. It’s so good, and now I’m totally kicking myself for waiting 30 years to pick up a Stephen King book. I only have a few chapters left, so I’m trying to line up what to read next – please let me know if you have suggestions. (Unless you’re a Nicholas Sparks fan.)

Shopping.

I was perusing the Anthropologie sales section this week and discovered this dress, which I obviously need to own because polka dots:

Maeve Orange Dot Dress

Only I went to order it, and they didn’t have any left in my size. After some sleuthing I was able to find it in my size on eBay for only slightly more than the sale price on Anthro’s site. Between this dress and the sideboard, I’d say last week was one of the better shopping weeks of my life.

I was going to wrap this post up with an eloquent ending, but Dave just turned on a Lifetime movie about stalking, and I’m powerless before terrible actors pretending to commit crimes. Happy Tuesday!

Best Of: Valentine’s Day Decor

So, Valentine’s Day is coming up in a few weeks. I love it, but not for the typical reasons – we don’t plan some huge date night or get each other heart-shaped boxes of chocolate or anything like that. I feel like if you need a holiday as an excuse to eat chocolate and do nice things for your significant other, you probably need to evaluate your life. And on the opposite end of the spectrum, if a stupid holiday gives you so much rage about being single that you have to flood everybody’s social media feeds with anti-Valentine’s Day posts, you probably need to relax a little. Have a drink and celebrate the fact that you don’t have to shave your legs on a regular basis.

I mostly love Valentine’s Day because I can’t resist a good cheesy holiday celebration. I’m the dork who wears pink and red and bakes treats to bring to the office every February 14.  I think I get it from my mom – in her world, no holiday is too small to celebrate. Every February she would decorate our house with hearts and set out festive foil-wrapped chocolates, and on Valentine’s Day we’d wake up to little boxes of See’s candy and pink heart-shaped pancakes. I haven’t really decorated my home for Valentine’s Day as an adult, but this stuff is making me want to start:

Valentine collageOne | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six | Seven

I actually think most of this stuff could be left out year-round (except for maybe the heart-print dish towel). Do you decorate for Valentine’s day?

January Playlist

When I was in college, I developed an addiction to creating monthly playlists. I’d scour shady file sharing sites for cool songs and then burn them to CDs for my roommates, because that’s what we did back in 2006 when dinosaurs roamed the earth and One Direction hadn’t been foisted upon our eardrums and America’s Next Top Model was the best thing on television.

It was the best of times. Also, I’m old.

Anyway, I recently became the last person in the world to start using Spotify, and it’s rekindled my obsession with creating monthly playlists. I thought it would be fun to start posting them here, since it would be difficult to send each of you a CD every month. Although I totally want to.

Here’s this month’s playlist (hover your mouse to the right of the tracks to scroll – there’s 15 songs):

There’s kind of a lot of moody stuff on there, but that’s what happens it’s the middle of the winter and you work in a remote schoolhouse that’s encased in freezing fog all day, every day. (It’s safe to say that I’m ready for spring.) What are you listening to this month?

10 Valentine Cards That Don’t Suck

You guys, I had a breakthrough this weekend: I’ve been in the wrong business all my life.

Let me back up a bit. The scene: Dave and I were at Rite-Aid 10 minutes before a birthday party, trying to find a card that didn’t play Brick House upon opening or feature animals making poop jokes. (“Your gift is in the litter box HAR HAR!”) We finally pick the least stupid card of the bunch, get to the register, and it rings up for $7.99.

Things I’m OK paying $8 for:

- My monthly Netflix subscription
- A bottle of nail polish that will last me six months or more
- 8 songs on iTunes that will live on my iPod forever
- A pound of coffee to get me through a month of early mornings

Things I’m not OK paying $8 for:

- A greeting card that reads like the author suffered a serious head injury minutes before penning it, which will be read once and then thrown directly into the trash

Has anyone seen my shit? Because I lost it right there in the Rite Aid lobby. Clearly I missed my calling to become a greeting card author. With more than three functioning brain cells, I figure I have a leg up on the competition.

Anyway. Valentine’s Day is coming up, and if you buy your loved one a card from the drugstore there is a very good chance he or she will lose all respect for you and leave you immediately. I don’t want this to happen to you, so here are 10 non-stupid options that you can order online and present to your lover with pride this February 14: