Friday, March 28, 2014

Birch Dresser Updo - Key Lime Pizzazz!

After our move to Texas, I was relieved to not have a spare bedroom with dark yellow walls.  Although it fit with the brown/orange safari theme, I really hated it.  Now, our spare bedroom is back to white walls and I've been ready to get some new color into that furniture!

I started with the easiest piece, a 4-drawer birch dresser that I got at an occasional shop in Dassel, Minnesota for $20.  The drawers were magically that same ugly yellow color, which matched our old room, but it needed to GO! 

My Starting Color, Yuck!
I really want to spunk up the spare bedroom with some color, so I jumped off the crazy bridge and went for Key Lime Green.  It is pretty bright, but I think it's going to have the perfect effect once I have all of the furniture in that room painted accordingly.

You can also check out my other post on painting laminate furniture HERE.

The surface of this dresser was so smooth, I didn't even bother to sand it.  I simply wiped it down with a wet paper towel before beginning to paint.  I also had the genius idea to use spray air to clean out the drawers of dust, glitter, etc.  You can use spray air for EVERYTHING!  It is super cheap, too!

Step 1:  PRIMER.  I once again used Zinsser Primer for All Surfaces.  This has worked great for me and only costs around five bucks.  I used a medium bristle brush on my drawers, and a small foam brush on the edge of the dresser itself.  All in all, I did one coat which only took about 10 minutes to put on.  I let it dry over night.

One Thin Layer
Step 2:  PAINT.  I opted for a spray paint for this project.  I originally chose spray paint because of some decorative edges that are on a future project {coming soon, I hope}.  It worked great for these simple drawers and made for a quick layer.  I did two layers in one night, with an hour of drying time between. 
Since I used spray paint, I had to tape some edges with blue painter's tape in order to keep the off-spray under control.  
I did not put a topcoat/clear coat on this dresser. The spray paint had a glossy finish, so I left it as is. I also have a feeling I may want to re-paint some time in the next year, so I figured: the less coats, the better.

The finished project turned out great.  I took me a few days after work, but you could easily complete this project in one day and be ready to go!

Done!  The lighting is bad, but you get the jist.

This is an edited picture, but this color is closer to what it actually looks like.

I will be buying some more unique drawer pulls in the near future to make it a bit more funky. Also, note that I only painted the vertical edges of the dresser itself because the silly previous owners had painted it that nasty yellow, so I had to go over it! I really wish the edges were the original brown so that the drawers had a very framed look. Oh, well...

Let me know what you think!  Do you have any furniture projects coming up?  I am becoming a fun color fiend if you are in need of any inspiration!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Whole Wheat Belgian Waffles from SCRATCH!

Saturday morning I got the crazy idea/craving for homemade waffles.  I perused for 30 seconds for a base recipe and worked off of this one.  As usual, I was missing or didn't have enough of a few ingredients, but I'm getting better at making it work.

Necessary Tools/Equipment:

-3 bowls
-hand mixer
-waffle iron

And your ingredients, of course!

This is what I ended up using:

2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup white sugar
3-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs, separated
1 cup milk
3 Tbsp butter, melted
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 whole mashed banana (very ripe)
1/4 cup water

As you can see  if you checked out the base recipe, I had to improvise on a few things by adding the banana and water for a bit of liquid and flavor due to being short on milk.  I also used WAY LESS butter.  I do not regret it!  Adding banana to anything always makes it taste better and enhances the texture.

In a large bowl:  combine flour, sugar and baking powder.
In medium bowl: lightly beat egg yolks. Then add milk, butter and vanilla; mix well.
Slowly stir into dry ingredients until combined.
In a small bowl:  beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.  Slowly fold into batter, take your time!
This is when I added my mashed banana, followed by water.  It helped the batter to thin out.

Hack for separating eggs

Eggs whites, dry mixture, wet mixure

Beating the egg whites

Mashed banana

Final mixture

Bake in a preheated waffle iron until golden brown. I let mine go for about 1 minute and 45 seconds.  I then served with an array of peanut butter, Nutella, strawberries, syrup, and coconut.  They tasted delicious and there were plenty for leftovers!!

Final product!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

A Great Weekend! Food, Fresh Air, and Shoes!

Hello All!

I am winding down from an awesome day and wanted to write about it before I forget!  This blog is somewhat of a diary for myself, and after our move, there are lots of fun things that I want to look back on.

Friday night we tried a happy hour Meetup group.  It was definitely male heavy, the bar was dark (and eventually loud), and it was sort of weird.  Right when we were about to leave, a guy we were sitting near introduced himself and his buddies.  They are former military, part owners of an energy drink company, and although Texans, fairly new to Austin.  We ended up hanging with them for several more hours and having a food truck dinner.  Though it wasn't a perfect "match" {haha}, they were a fun group and we wouldn't mind having a few drinks with them again.

This morning, I got a crazy hair to make Belgian waffles from scratch, with lots of fixings!  I'll probably do a recipe post at another time, but they turned out great!  They were made with whole wheat flour, had banana mash in them, and we ate them with a variety of PB, Nutella, strawberries, and syrup.  NOM.  Seriously, they were good.

Then we headed out for our first hiking adventure in a large greenbelt area in Austin.  We hiked about 5 miles of trail that runs along a river (which is very low right now due to drought).  There were lots of dogs, trees, neat flowers and berries, etc.  NATURE!  The sky was overcast, but it was probably about 75 degrees.  We were warm, but not crazy sweaty and enjoyed sucking in the fresh air!

On the way home, we snagged some shaved ice (mango and kiwi) and I finally got to stop at this consignment shop near our house.  I walked out with two cute pairs of shoes, a red vintage clutch, and horse head bookends!  Scores for me :)

Currently, Mike is watching the Bison game, making dinner, and I think we're going to stay in and catch a movie on Amazon Prime.  Cheers to an awesome day, fresh air, fantastic homemade food, and new adventures with my husband!!

Beginning of the Trail

Dark picture along the river

Up on a "cliff"

Hiking back off the trail, talking with frogs

Sweet treeee

Blair Witch Project, anyone?

Relaxing on the way back

Friday, March 14, 2014

Quick & Easy 5 Second Breakfast!

We usually make breakfast Saturday mornings before we either head out on an adventure or head to the couch to watch movies.  Eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, oatmeal...not all at once, of course, but those are some of our go-to's. 

Last Saturday, while making oatmeal, I noticed an overnight oatmeal recipe with three ingredients on the oatmeal label.  I love oatmeal, so I opted for this side project while my water was boiling... 

Ready for this awesome??

1/2 cup oats (I used old fashioned)
1/2 cup milk (any kind, I used whole)
5.9 ounce greek yogurt cup


Put it all in a container, stir well, and let sit overnight in the fridge.  ENJOY~!  (The best part?  This makes 2 servings!)

Obviously there are millions of variations and add-ins here depending upon your diet, allergies, etc.

I used whole milk, but you can certainly use almond milk, soy, kefir, whatever you like. 

I used greek yogurt.  The first time I used a fruit-on-the-bottom strawberry kind, and it was delish.  You could certainly use a light, plain, vanilla, etc. but make sure it has a thicker consistency. 

You could add peanut butter, bananas, protein powder, chia/hemp seeds, nuts, dried fruit, the list goes onnnnnn.

THEN I thought of the fantastic idea to use my coconut Chobani (greek).  I am currently obsessed with coconut for some reason, and this was a wonderful excuse to have some.  And I came up with this tasty treat that TASTES LIKE A DAMN COOKIE!!

Palm-full of shredded coconut (approx 2-3Tbsp)

Ya dang right I did!!  I have the Ghirardelli semisweet and they worked fantastic.  Go make this NOW and don't feel guilty.     

This literally takes less than a minute to put together and pop into the refrigerator.  And you have a full breakfast ready for the next morning!  This is the definition of grab'n'go. 

Homemade, easy, fresh, delicious.  Enjoy your 5 Second Breakfast!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Ban Bossy - Let's Be Women!

I've been hearing rumblings about the "B" word and came across is again on GMA this morning...

Sheryl Sandberg, a very successful business woman, whose most recent accolade is becoming COO of Facebook, is embarking on a campaign to "Ban Bossy".  She thinks that by ridding this word from children's vernacular, we can start to empower women at a younger age.  "They're bossy as little girls, and then they're aggressive, political, shrill, too ambitious as women."  The list goes on. 

And it's SO TRUE!  Seriously, think back to your playground days.  If you were the one organizing the game, picking the teams, planning the birthday parties, you were called BOSSY.  By boys and girls.  Of course, someone had to do it.  But over time, we are conditioned to pipe down and let the "boys" be in charge.  This can range all the way from a boy starting the game of tag, to a guy "subbing" while the teacher takes a phone call, to a male manager having another man as his backup while he is out of the office.  It is a fairly consistent pattern throughout life. 

Sandberg's point?  We need to empower young women to speak up!  Get young girls to raise their hands.  Get them to voice their ideas.  Get them to be captain of the coed team.  Bridge the gap from a female being "bossy" to a female being recognized as a LEADER. 

Please check out the Ban Bossy campaign at  (I am not being paid to say this, I just think it's great!)  There are many resources for parents, teachers, girl scout leaders, and anyone else who is interested in empowering girls.  They have also partnered with the Girl Scouts to help get the word out and directly impact young girls who are learning the power of being a woman. 

They also have a "Things We Love" section highlighting strong girls around the world who are making headlines.  Included is the viral story about the seven year old girl writing to LEGO and practically demanding more female products from Lego.  You go, girl!
I know a lot of you readers have children (or are planning to soon), care for children, work in schools, etc.  YOU CAN HELP SPREAD THE WORD!!  Girls need to know that it is okay to be assertive, speak their minds, and take charge.  Sandberg is quick to point out that this does not include bullying or being a "mean girl".  This is also something we can help with... 
Be an example:  make your household an open book, get your girls involved in Girl Scouts, perk their interest in math and sciences (generally male dominated), teach her about successful women, ask her to speak up.  Think of the dynamic changes we could make by the time our children are grown!
Please check out their website and I encourage you to share one of the graphics on your Facebook/Twitter/Blog.  No one suffers from awareness!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Your Wedding, Your Way

You're ENGAGED?!  How exciting!!

Until everyone starts trying to plan your wedding for you...

I'm a bit of an anal control freak.  So when I got engaged, my fiance and mother both worried when my inner Bridezilla would kick in.  {to be honest, I was worried too} I like things organized, on time, affordable, and MY way.  But the crazy never happened.  I never had a major meltdown, never attacked a vendor, never threatened to "call the whole thing off".  I worked together with my fiance to get.things.done!  Save a few minor things, our stress levels were low, we didn't blow up at each other, and our planning process was not as horrible as everyone makes it out to be. 

Don't get me wrong, planning a wedding is STRESSFUL.  It doesn't matter if you will have ten guests or 400.  But... we made a concious decision to make sure wedding planning didn't take over our lives or our relationship.  If I can do that, trust me, so can you!

In my experience, the stress often comes from other people.  The aunt being mad because they are not a host.  The cousin mad because she isn't a bridesmaid.  The wedding party upset about the costs.  The family member upset because their child isn't a flower girl.  See where I'm going here?

You can save yourself a lot of stress by being clear about what YOU (and your future spouse) want.  This is YOUR WEDDING!  (Note: when I refer to "you", I mean you and your spouse)  Do not let others sway what you have decided that you want for your wedding.  You may upset some people in the process, but TRUST ME, in the end you will be much less stressed because you will be happy with the way things turned out.

(This is NOT permission to be a 'Zilla, it is permission to assert yourself and your decisions.)

Guess what Grandma?  I'm not getting married in a church.  Guess what cousin?  You are not invited because you are not a good person and I don't want you to ruin my day.  Guess what friend from high school?  We are keeping our guest list to people we have talked to in the last year.  AGAIN---do you see what I'm saying?

This is your wedding and it needs to be about you.  Family and friends involved in the process must know that you are the ones making decisions and their thoughts are appreciated but not always what you may want. 
I'm not saying don't delegate, and I'm not saying don't pick your battles.  I'm saying make sure you don't compromise your "dream wedding" because mother-in-law is throwing a fit about the thread count of the table linens {or what have you}.  Be Assertive.  Don't they teach you that in school?  You are the only one who can make sure that you get the things you want. 
Trust me, people will try to make you feel bad, pressure you about certain things, or just plain try to ruin your day.  That's where the choice to keep wedding planning as wedding planning and not life planning can really make or break you.  Stay strong to what you desire, ask for help when needed, and ENJOY the process of planning your day with your soon-to-be spouse!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

I Said POP, Oops!

When we told people we were moving to Texas, and especially Austin, they said we would love it.  That we'd never come back (don't tell my mom that).  People here say we'll hate the summer {not looking forward to two months of 100+ degree weather}, but that they love their city.  And though I hate to admit it, we're part of the 100+ people moving to Austin every day, making the city bulge, the roads busy, and finding work and housing difficult. 

I'll give you some differences, observances, and mental notes I've bookmarked so far :)

First off, the people here ARE SO NICE!  Back in Minnesota, people who had lived outside of Minnesota said that "Minnesota Nice" is fake, but "Southern Hospitality" is real.  Sadly, I'll have to agree.  People back home will make small talk or give a compliment, but it is quick and fleeting.  Here, if you don't start a conversation in an elevator or checkout line, it's strange.  Since many people here are transplants, there's a lot to talk about and learn about people.  {Now here's to working on that and making some new friends!}

Secondly, the "language".  Obviously people here say "y'all", "fixin'", and some people have a twang or a drawl.  I have to say, I've always loved the expression "fixin'", and y'all seems to sound less harsh than YOU GUYS.  I also had my first oopsie of saying "pop" yesterday instead of soda or coke.  I've had one person tell me I have the worst northern accent they've ever heard, and several people tell me I don't have an accent at all.  And of course, everyone references the movie Fargo.

**Which brings me to an awesome/ridiculous point Mike made:  it's entirely unfair to have to say you're from MinneSOOOOTA and went to school near FarGOOOO.  Seriously!!  With the "O's", you're just set up to fail and project your accent.  Rough life.  Although it is fun to say "Up North" and "back home" and actually mean it. 

Drivers are really kind here, they let you in, they leave appropriate spaces, etc.  The highways have frontage roads that run all along them, so for us, sometimes we drive on those to save time.  Their grocery stores are AMAZING and CHEAP!  Avocados we 59 cents!  My mom would have lost it if she had seen the prices here.  And our local store has everything you could possibly ask for.  Organic, amazing bakery, Blue Bell ice cream, the works.  They are called H-E-B for your reference :) 

The barbecue and Mexican food are fantastic, and things are definitely spicier here.  Sonic, Popeyes, In-N-Out Burger are some other perks.  Tons of people have dogs, cats are pretty popular as well, and community pools are common.  We are lucky to have one less than a block away! 

All in all, the transition has been smooth.  (PS: that is a weird-as-hell word to type and I had to Google it.)  We don't feel completely awkward but are definitely looking for a place to fit in.  We need to get a local coffee shop and/or bar to call our own!  Moving to a new city can be hard, but luckily, we are one in one-hundred every day here, so we're not alone!

Sunday, March 2, 2014


Most of you know, but I'll give you the quick story of my recent HUGE life change!

Mike and I picked up and moved to Austin, Texas in the middle of February!  We have been wanting to move for about 6 months, had our sights set on Austin or New York, I turned down a job offer in NC, and we tried again for Austin.  Mike put out 5 applications, one flew him in for an interview, and decided they wanted him here in a MONTH!  So we told our parents, put our notices in at work, said our many goodbyes, and took a three day drive to our new home in Austin!

There were definitely trials, issues, and disappointments, but we are HERE, with all of our things and a safe place to live, so we'll consider it a success.  Mike started his job the Monday after we got here, and I was lucky enough to find a job that started the Monday after that.  WHIRLWIND is a word that hardly describes our last month.  I only cried twice, Lola only boycotted food for a few days, and our strong Mike held everything together with his patience, fantastic attitude, and pure love for all of us!

Mike is working as a web applications developer at a medical software company, and I am working relief reception and clerking for a law firm downtown.  Mike is settling in and starting to enjoy his days more and more.  I had a fairly easy first week, but don't know that I will enjoy my job although the people and firm are great.  I am being patient and we will see what happens!

In the mean time, we are getting OUTSIDE in the warm weather, trying new restaurants, and making some concert plans for South by Southwest (SXSW) coming up in mid-March.  Highlights so far include a picnic in a gully, avocado margaritas, a "block party" where we grilled/partied with our neighbors, almost daily sunshine, and plenty of time together.  Mike's family is visiting in April, and we are also hoping to go to Las Vegas in April to celebrate my 25th birthday.

All of these changes have been fast, difficult, and full of crazy, but we are solid and that makes everything easier!  We are in this together and wanted to try something totally new.  We will see if homesickness sets in or if we will feel at home in Austin.  Here's to finding out!

Dating - A Note on Age Barriers

I've been feeling a bit bold lately.  Sometimes I need to learn to keep my mouth shut.  But sometimes I think my big mouth can help someone, so here I go again.  A small lesson on an issue that's been bothering me lately.

Young girls dating older men.  I mean, YOUNG GIRLS.  I read articles online and see stories on the news of girls running away with older men that they're in love with.  People who say they can give them a better life, and get them away from their parents.  Sometimes promising alcohol, drugs, parties, etc.  All very enticing to a young teenage girl or even a girl in their early twenties...  Particularly if the man is attractive and/or has money to spoil them with.

I've recently been exposed to the issue of sex trafficking in Minnesota.  After a luncheon and a bit of reading, I was astounded at the issues right here in Minnesota.  Luckily, it is a hot-button issue for our local politicians and changes are being made.

Please check out:

Breaking Free - A local non-profit making changes in the lives of survivors and people currently being trafficked.

Saving Bobbi - A short (written) series that shows in depth how sex trafficking can being and continue.

Longest Ever Sentence - And a recent local sentencing, making history using the new laws in Minnesota.

Anarae Schunk -  The awful story of a young girl "falling in love" and getting mixed up with the wrong guy, and ending up murdered.

Although not every situation ends up with sex trafficking or prostitution, the fact is, it's just not right.  There is no reason for someone under the age of twenty to be dating someone more than a few years older than themselves.  Only one end of that sort of relationship is seeing a benefit!

I know, and I learned my lesson.  When I was 16, I dated a guy who was 22 years old.  I thought he was great and we partied and had a grand ol' time.  At the age of 16, what more could I have wanted than an older guy to spoil me, party with me, and show off to?  But my friends hated him.  They knew he was not a good guy, and told me so.  I should have listened, but I was happy to have an "older guy" and didn't really care what I got myself into.

Looking back, I say, "what the hell was I thinking?!"  Thankfully, my situation did not end horribly, but I did do things I shouldn't have, things I regret, and certainly missed about on a fantastic summer of being 16 years old with my friends.

If you are a younger reader; learn from my experience.  When you're young, an older guy doesn't want to date you for the reasons you think they do.  Enjoy your time being YOUNG!  Do not be wooed by money, drugs/alcohol, or time away from your parents.  The truth is, you need your parents and your friends at that time in your life, and some "older guy" only has one person's best interest on their mind, and it's not yours.