Thursday, December 31, 2009

The 2009 ShanBot Awards!

I present to you a pictorial trip down memory lane if you will, with prestigious 2009 ShanBot awards given out along the way. These awards are called ShanBots for no other reason than that someone called me ShanBot once and it made me laugh. This award ceremony is being presented to you by your host, me, live via blogellite from my office in Pennsylvania. I am the only human on earth working today and had to amuse myself somehow. I am not in fact wearing yoga pants and a hoodie, not at all. I am decked out in an evening gown with long satin gloves because this is a fancy affair. I will be doing a musical number, probably something from the Dirty Dancing soundtrack. I’m serving refreshments…gold fish and bottled water. Please sit back and enjoy.

Best Japanese Tourist Impersonation goes to...Me in Japan Hawaii

Best Use of Picasa Mustaches goes to...Me for our 3rd Anniversary Tribute Pic.

Best 1st Miller Light of the Year goes to...that bottle I'm holding. It was March. I went almost 3 months without drinking. Insane.

Best Crab Eaten Next to a Slot Machine goes to...that little orange guy, somewhere in Maryland.

Best Use of a Headlamp goes to... Me & everyone else who donned this thing so we could see outside, at night, during The Game at Kelly & Jeff's.

Best Answer to What's your Favorite Birthday Present? goes to...Kelly for using her chompers to hold a DVD, probably King of Queens, season 18.

Best Greased-Up Samoan goes to...luau guy whose thighs were bigger than my head. I guessed! I didn't compare. Gross.

Best Portrayal of a Pervy Old Man goes to...Grandpa down there who loved the bevy of be-wigged beauties at Katie's Bach party in Atlantic City.

Best Run-In with a Favorite Bartender with No Thumb...goes to this night. Me & Kelly doing an old school South St. trip, seeing Mitch who has no thumb and realizing that it had been 8 years ago since we started going to get free drinks see him.

Best Trip Used an an Excuse to Get Hammered goes to...the Yuengling Factory Tour for just being awesome.

Best 2 am Photoshoot at the County Courthouse goes, Kelly, Tursi and a group of random strangers with a lot of love for local government.

Best Gratuitous Use of a Beanie goes to...Me and anyone else who proudly sported their conductor, chef or viking hat at Kelly's Bach party.

Best Impersonation of a Morning Show while at a Bar goes to...Katie, Kelly & Adrienne for entertaining us at the weirdest bar known to man in Solomons Island, MD.

Best Shot of the Best Friends Ever goes to...the drunk lady sitting behind us at the U2 concert at the Meadowlands.

Best Application of Black Girl Makeup on a White Dude goes to...Me again. Bob Barker never looked so fly.

Best Fake Bridal Shower at a Trashy Bar goes to...Kelly's Bridesmaids. This fake shower turned out spectacular & was one of the most hysterical things I'd seen all year. We did good.

Best Reason to Get Up at 3 am & Drive to the Beach goes to...pretty sunrise. Way to be um, pink.

Runner Up: Best Reason to Get Up at 3 am & Drive to the Beach goes to...a bottle of Bailey's and Wawa coffee. I wish every morning started this way.

Best Posing in an Open-Air Taxi goes to...
Sarah, Katie, A & Josh plus the rest of my friends who made that taxi ride both terrifying and hilarious.

Well, that concludes this year's ShanBot Awards. Thank you to all participants for being just super family and friends and for making 2009 another laugh-til-I-wheeze kind of year. You guys are just tops.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

We had Ourselves a Merry Little Christmas

NOW with pictures!
Our yuletide was gay. Troubles were miles away. In fact, the good times were at my house. For the first time ever, and hopefully from now on, my little family's Christmas Eve dinner was held at our house. We wore our paper crowns, feasted on ham and mac & cheese and spoiled each other with presents. The kiddies are the best though. After every gift they opened, they proclaimed it was "just what I always wanted!".

This girl cleaned up good in the gifty department. My brother gave me a pair of awesome gray slouchy boots. My mom hooked me up with an adorable skirt and John managed to substitute an awesome pair of Vera Wang earrings for the sold-out necklace. He also loaded me up with plenty of books, 12 yards of Amy Butler fabric for my future curtain-making adventures and plenty more little goodies. In return, he got a weed wacker. Dudes are so boring.

Christmas day came where we headed over to John's sisters to see everyone and eat delicious breakfast casseroles. Those kids are the best too. Ya know how when you normally give a 5 year old clothes, they get thrown over the shoulder? Well these two kids hold each shirt up for everyone to see and walk them around the room. I love good gift manners! John's parents pretty much fulfilled the rest of my Christmas wishes with Sleepy's gift cards (yay new mattress!) and my fun little yellow bird plates. John got a couple polo shirts. Dudes are so shafted.

Christmas night is the main event, held at my aunt's house, where my mom's entire side gathers for dinner and our pollyanna exchanges. I ate copious amounts of my brother's sausage dip and left with a most interesting pollyanna gift. My oldest cousin had me and as soon as he handed me the gift bag, I became worried. Who knows what could be inside. Turns out it was the following: a yankee candle, a bag of coffee, an alarm clock and a jar of meat sauce. Yep, meat sauce. Dudes are so weird.

Meat Sauce is hilarious

The rest of the lovely weekend was spent doing not much at all and it was AWESOME. I did, however, venture out on Sunday to Target, hoping to score some wrapping paper. Um, there was none. Can't you freaks relax for a day? Why did you have to go buy it all Saturday morning? Now it concerns me that I won't be able to find awesome clearance sales anywhere. That everything will be sold out everywhere. What's a cheap girl to do?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like a Slow Day at Work

Today is the last day of work before my measly 4 day weekend. It’s my own fault, using all my sick/vacation time up throughout the year. Poor me. Anyway, today will be a quiet day at work which makes me happy but the reason I woke up excited this morning is quite pathetic. I planned my outfit today around this reason too, which is even more sad.
Today is the day that my boss takes me and the other dude I work with to PF Changs for lunch. I’m not even sure why I get so excited because PF Changs isn’t really my favorite. I like my Chinese from a place called # 1 China or China Garden or China Palace. I like my Chinese in cartons, not on plates. But I’m excited nonetheless. Every year we go and we order massive amounts of food and stuff ourselves silly. Hence why I planned on wearing pants with no buttons today! Every year I regret wearing pants with buttons. This way, I don’t have to be so disgusting as to have to unbutton that button when I get back to my desk. That's just gross. This year, I’m prepared...with elastic. Anyway, it’s always a fun time and it makes the day go by much quicker and there are always leftovers to bring home to John. It’s the little things that make me happy. A good lunch. Yeah.

Random: I’m wearing a scarf today. An cutesy outfit scarf, not a winter scarf. Anyway, I just held the scarf up to my face and it smells like a dentist’s office. I’m not sure I like that smell. But I just smelled it again to make sure the description was accurate and it definitely is. And again. Ugghh. This is not good. Why can't I stop smelling it?
P.S. I read my christmas tree post and I got bored with it so I have to imagine you probably were too. But me wearing elastic pants? I'm pretty sure that's what you wanted to read today. Your welcome.

The Tree Saga

Ok, so back in November, I was ready to talk Christmas trees. I had a spot in my new house picked out for the tree. However, my ornaments would have totally clashed with the room's decor. Like bad. It would have been real bad. So over the last month, I was debating with myself and John about what to do. One of my problems is that the family room is where the tree was supposed to go. But I realized that we don't spend our time in there. We hang out in the living room. And when I'm laying around watching tv at night, I want a brightly lit Christmas tree right next to me. I like to enjoy it for all it's worth.
So one night we were at Lowes and I came across this tiny tree. I believe he is 22" in diameter. He was only $22. And he was the perfect size for my living room. Now I could have my tree in the right room and use our old decor. Win-win. Win. Win.

So here he is. Seriously, my living room is like Sean Penn or something, it hates being photographed. My living room puts up the proverbial hand in front of it's face when I walk in with a camera. It makes every picture look terrible. Oh it's the dark paint and lack of natural light combined with my terrible photog skills? Shush.

It's kinda fun, eh? And PRESENTS!!! Santa likes to leave them out and taunt me with them for weeks leading up til Chrismas. Our stockings have even been filled. Good thing every little stuffer is wrapped or else this girl would have a new Christmas toothbrush before Christmas day.

And to prove my restraint in buying Christmas decor this year, the only new ornament on our tree was a gift from my aunt for our housewarming party. It's a sparkly little cupcake and matches it's other little ornament brothers and sisters perfectly.

But this saga is far from over. I still want another tree. A nice big one with white lights and fancy ornaments. I've been given permission to look for new Christmas tree decor at after-Christmas sales. So that come next year, the family room will get the big tree in decor-friendly tones and this little guy will become a living room staple. I know you're on the edge of your seat, so stay tuned.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Island of Misfit Decorations

When I moved out for the first time into my first house, my head spun with the idea that I could decorate with anything I wanted! I could cover every square inch with glittery, shiny baubles. Hand-me-down snowmen, santas and angels? Sure, why not? Modern blown glass trees from Pier One? I'll take em. 6 sets of Christmas dishtowels? OF COURSE! Nothing matched and it looked like Boscov's after-Christmas sale barfed all over my house.

Now we have a new house. My head started spinning in October with all of the new surfaces I could cover with Yuletide crap. But I decided to take it easy. I wasn't going to go out and buy more stuff just because I didn't have enough. I wasn't going to put out every votive candle and pot holder just because it happened to come down from the attic in a box marked X-Mas. Nope. I went through my stuff carefully and only set out things I really liked and that would flow well in my new house. Unfortunately, this left me with tubs full of misfit decorations. Poor little guys. Some are only a year or two old. Some have never even been used...and they never will be. At least by me. Maybe some day, these pathetic little misfits will make their way onto a yard sale table or be pawned off on my bachelor brother. Wherever they end up, I'll remember them as crap I discarded fondly.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Dare to DIY - An Elf that Happens to be Sitting on My Shelf

After two rounds of the little green mucus guy living inside of me (TMI?), I'm finally back and feeling better. And just in time for Christmas festivities. Oh and in time to finally join back in over at Kim's 5th and final Dare to DIY blog party. This week's dare was to Have Traditions.

Here's mine. This elf. He might look familiar to you. He's recently been packaged up with a book called The Elf on the Shelf and sold at Hallmark. The story is that you (the parents) move him around each night and then the kiddies go and find him. The elf is a scare tactic to keep your children behaving well. Obviously if your kid is a little brat, this elf will report back to Santy Clause thus placing said child on "naughty list".

Mine did not come from Hallmark. He is vintage and used to have about 8 to 10 other elf buddies. He came from my Nan's house. She would hide every one of them around the house every Christmas and one of our (her grandchildren's) favorite traditions was to track down every single one of them before anyone else, when we got to her house on Christmas day. It was a huge deal to have found all the elves. It meant reporting back to Nan and verifying the location. It also meant bragging rights to any cousin who walked in the door late...yeah well, I found all elves already!

So while there are no kiddos to threaten in our house yet, someday there will be. And when that day comes, I'll have my elf on a shelf. And I'll make up my own story.

Dare to DIY

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Scene

  • The couch
  • Reno 911 reruns
  • It could be 4am or 4pm, who knows and who cares.
  • 3 blankets on although half of each are on the floor.
  • Half finished drinks and used tissues on the coffee table.
  • Loud mouth breathing because your nose is too stuffed to do the job.
  • Thus causing you to require massive amounts of chapstick on your chapped lips.
  • Not wanting to move except to move to your bed.
  • Wishing you had Vicks Vapo Rub because it would probably help and you like the hot/cool feeling
  • Mentally willing your husband to drag out the Vaporizer and fill it with water and start it up so you can go to bed with that nice white noise but don’t feel like explaining to him where it is, how much water to put in it or where to place it in your bedroom so it most likely won’t happen.

    That’s where I am.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas-y Makeovers

Ever since we moved into our new house back in April, I'd been on the lookout for a piece of furniture for the dining room. Let me clarify...a cheap piece. I needed additional storage for things like booze and tablecloths that wouldn't fit inside our buffet. We had a limited amount of space to house such a piece and it proved difficult in finding something that would work.

Until. Until I found this beaut on craigslist. They called it a "dry sink" which I had to look up. Apparently, before indoor plumbing, these "sinks" would hold the basin and pitcher of water in which you would wash. Gross. Anyway, it was the perfect shape and size, only $30 and only 30 minutes away. It was mine. So I convinced my friend Adrienne to drive up with me, for moral support/ possibly-creepster Craigslist seller. There it was.

Who doesn't love a nice countrified stencil? For starters, me. So I propositioned my pal LizzieBeth to see if she was interested in rehabbing it for me. She's good at that sort of thing. Luckily, being as awesome as she is, she agreed. So we went and had our blind date meeting and I dropped off my ugly step-child of a sink. Fast forward a few weeks and look what comes back home to mama. Here she is all done up in her Christmas finery. Oh yeah, this is my Christmas decor post too.

Isn't she purty? I love her. Thanks LB!

Ok, back to Christmas. My teal and green ornaments worked pretty well in my old house but when I brought them out in new house, I wasn't thrilled. They just didn't seem to go. My house is old and my ornaments are modern. What's a girl to do when she vows to spend little to no money on new decor? It always comes back to Mr. Tim Gunn, I had to make it work.

I took this old wreath(below) that one of my aunt's had made in the 90's and ripped out the berries, holly and giant Santa and hot glued some spare ornaments on it. It took me approximately 20 minutes and cost $0.

I had no centerpiece to speak of but wanted to tie in the blue and green with some actual greenery. So I headed to Michaels and picked up some branches, arranged them around a hurricane, tossed some old blue & green odds and ends in and called it a day. Total cost for branches $3.

The last part of the dining room that had to be Christma-fied was the buffet. The buffet is always where the nativity goes. This is the nativity we had growing up yet there seemed to be a lot more pieces to it when I was 7. I think my mom would get hay and spread it around. Yeah, I not doing that. Simple and clean is the name of the game in this house.

I found this icey blue curtain panel that I only had one of. I think I bought it to test out, promptly lost my receipt and was stuck with it. Thanks Target return policy. Anyway, fold it up and I've got a makeshift table runner. I picked up these mini trees wrapped in burlap at Target for $4 each and threw some more little blue balls on them. Total cost for trees: $8

Overall, I'm pretty happy with how the dining room turned out. I do have to walk through this room every day so I'm glad it's a pretty one. I'm also pretty proud of myself for making the old blue & green decor work in here for only $11. I'm sure I could have done it for less, or even zero, but let's face it, I get a little high from shopping, even if it's only for $3 branches.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

At Thy Request...Woodgrain Address Labels

Here’s the story behind these. In my daily (totally serious) trips to Target recently, I’d fallen hard for a box of Christmas cards. They had a purple ornament on the front with little sparkleys. I was in love. But I was in hate with their price of $7.99 for 10 cards. I send out about 50 cards so it adds up pretty quickly, especially when you add in the cost of stamps. I walked by these cards on at least three occasions and once even had them in my cart. But no, they were not to be mine. I had buyer's remorse before I even bought them. That couldn't be good. How could I write warm wishes to loved ones if I cringed everytime I licked one of those overpriced envelopes? I took them out of my cart and left them in the greeting card aisle (yes, store employees hate me).

So off to Walmart I went on my search for cheap but not too ugly cards. Found em. 18 for $5…much more manageable. But I felt like I had to add a little something to make them a tad bit cuter. Enter free labels & printing from work and voila…address labels that semi-matched my cards. I added my return address to one end that would wrap around the envelope and sit on the back. I love this design. I’ll probably use this idea a few more times before I tire of it. Until then, viva la real mail!

Christmas-y Correspondence

Remember those weekend goals I had? Well, as predicted the snow came...

and I broke out my address book, stamps and 2009 Christmas cards. A little Bing and Bowie in the background made for a seriously perfect Saturday morning.

Luckily the snow was the perfect kind. Big, fluffy flakes that settled on the lawn but not on the streets. And my little woodgrain address label creations? They make a me happy.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Pork's a Funny Word

I, like a lot of people, often forget about the pork chop. Yet it's so versatile and delicious. And since the two of us often have a hankering for food of the Asian variety, I tried out this here recipe. I was left with a lot of extra sauce at the end so you can probably decrease the amounts of the mustard and OJ.

Orange Ginger Marinated Pork

1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup sherry wine (optional) I didn't use amazingly enough
2 tablespoons of fresh grated ginger or 1 teaspoon dry ginger
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 pork fillets, 600g
3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/3 cup orange juice

1. In a seal lock bag, mix soy sauce, sherry, ginger and garlic. Add pork and let marinate in refrigerator overnight up to 24 hours.
2. Preheat oven grill or BBQ.
3. Remove pork from marinate and place in grill dish.
4. Put in oven about 3 or 4 inches from heating element and cook for approximately 10-15 minutes.
5. In a small bowl, mix mustard and orange juice and brush over cooked fillets.
6. Eat up

Friday, December 4, 2009

Flashback Friday - I Swear I'll Get Off My Ass This Weekend edition

Why was our tree in the dining room in 1986?

It's almost the weekend! I love weekends in December with the running around and the decorating and the twinkley lights. Love it all. The past few weekends, I've been kinda laid up in bed and/or the couch with this friggin back pain and I'm finally feeling *mostly* better so I'm taking advantage of feeling fine. You know how some people post their monthly goals? Well, at the rate I've been going, I need to get things done a little faster so I'm posting my weekend goals. And while our predicted one inch of snow tomorrow might impede on my trampsing around town (I get scared driving in the rain, I'm such a wuss. And yes, that is me driving in front of you 5 miles under the speed limit in the snow, hands death-gripping the steering wheel), the snowflakes should provide a nice little backdrop for my Christmas-centric activities.

1. Get the house decorated inside and out --- This might be a little difficult since I realized I've got a bigger house to decorate & not enough stuff I like to decorate with. More on this later.

2. Write Out Christmas Cards

3. Purchase & Wrap gifts for our niece Anna's 7th Birthday --- I might be totally pumped about perusing little girl clothes, so fun.

4. Work on Christoween costumes

5. Maybe a little shopping --- Both of our families are strictly buy-from-the-listers. Sure, it may not be the point of the season but it makes things much easier. However, I hate when I'm ready to do my shopping and certain peoples still haven't sent me their list...after repeated requests.

Have an awesome weekend & I hope you don't get stuck driving behind me in inclement weather. I'll understand if I see you waving a particular finger at me in my rearview mirror.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Free Pretties

One of my favorite things about blogs are the giveaways. Free stuff! I've been lucky to win some awesome stuff over the years so I always have my eye out for chances to win. This week, one of my favorite bloggers, Camila from High Heeled Foot in the Door, is giving away some fun little dessert plates as well as some awesome personalized stationary. Dessert and paper products in one week? This girl's in heaven. Go comment for a chance to win.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas

Only a hippopotamus will do
No crocodiles or rhinoceroseses
I only like hippopotamuseses

If you hadn't noticed, it's that time of year again. The time of year when I get hounded for Christmas wish lists for both John & I. And as usual, it's so so easy to make mine and so so difficult to make one for John. We've already decided that my husband is incapable of conjuring up a list that says anything but "a tractor". Well, guess what bud? It ain't a happenin'. So while I continue to bang my head against the wall brainstorm a list for him, I thought I'd share with all of you my current wants. So give em here.

This cutesy skirt, or any of them really, from DownEast Basics

Gift cards for a new mattress. Let's just say that I don't even know the origin of the mattress we currently sleep on. Gross huh?

Cutesy plates from Pier One

This Vera Wang necklace from Kohls. I sent the link to my husband the other night so hopefully he snatched it up because it now says it's sold out. I'm sure he bought it. Totally sure. In other words, probably not getting this one. Meh.

More books by this chick. They're not chick lit. They're good reads. They're no War and Peace but they're no Twilight either. I highly recommend them.

Oh and some more of this please. Urban Decay Eyelid Primer Potion. We're buds.


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