Now Adding: Books!

Last weekend was fairly successful. I think I’ll be able to tackle the unfinished items later today or tomorrow. Let’s look at the plan from last week.

  • Finish redecorating my blue display cabinet.
  • Finish putting pretty backing on the display cabinet.
  • Move the plastic baskets behind my desk to the bedroom/craft area.
  • Reorganize the craft items.
  • Make a space for wedding gifts to land (that’ll be starting soon).
  • Laminate the various lists in my kitchen so they stop looking sad and pathetic.
  • Finish putting my cooking herbs in their new containers.
  • Make a meal plan.
  • Make space for my folding bookshelves currently taking up room at my parent’s house.
  • Fill in the new empty spot on my living wall.
  • Convince Mom to let me have her still-packaged Lord of the Rings action figures.

Half isn’t bad, under any circumstances. The biggest one I didn’t tackle was created a landing zone for weding gifts — and that’s because doing so required tackling most of the uncleared items on the list. Instead, I found myself taking on my utility & laundry room once more and I’m hoping I’ll really like this configuration (especially once I get the rather overwhelming amount of laundry in there finished.

Here’s a sample of what I accomplished last week:

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(Oops, stray Q-tip. Was gluing down some paper scraps that had come loose — guess I forgot to clear away one of the extras!)

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It was fun re-doing these shelves. I shifted some items around and it really feels like I’m taking better advantage of the space. I love that I have all my Tolkien/Tolkien-related books on shelf and all my religious books on another. Plus, my pretty, pretty Bible sitting on top! It’s a Barnes & Nobles exclusive classics series.

Oh, and the toy phaser? Still works, after 15+ years!

I picked up the new roll of contact paper I needed from Target to finish the back of the cabinet. I love how it turned out.

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Moving on to the kitchen now. The laminator went to work.

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And I added some washi tape accents to make these reference sheets pop a bit more.

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I also finished with my spices! Or rather, I did as much as I could without making up new labels, which requires having access to Adobe Indesign. I love how the jars look with their new labels. I corraled everything that didn’t have a label beneath the shelf, which, fyi, is an old bathroom sink shelf from Wal-mart. Picked it up a few years ago for my apartment while I was working on my graduate degree.

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These are the baskets I mentioned in my to-do list. I’ve had these for ages and they’re always handy. They’ve turned into catch-alls lately, so going through them was high priority.

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I ended up deploying four of the baskets to the utility room and I also flipped the wire shelves around. This is a tiny, tiny room so storing anything in there is really tricky. I’ll do a more detailed post about this room another day. Once I’ve had time to climb up onto the washer so I can get some decent pictures! The last two baskets are still next to my desk but they’ll be heading to my bedroom once I’m ready to tackle the corner I’m planning to stick things.

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The last item I crossed off last week was clearing a landing space for my folding bookcases — not only did I complete that but today my dad and sister brought me those very shelves and all the books that had been on them!

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My pretty World Market shelves! These won’t be quite as accessible as the large shelves in the living room, so I’ve stares shifting over the long series books over to these. The shelf at the end is all Star Wars. I’ve moved over my Discworld books and also all my David Weber books. There are a few more extensive series and prolific authors I’m going to shift over.

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I’m also going through the boxes of books and weeding out some to take to Half-Price Books.

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The time has come and my Star Trek: Voyager books are going. This…is very hard for me. I picked up most of these during junior high and high school. I used to keep four or five in my locker or in my backpack once I could carry that from class to class. I have lots of happy memories of these books. I’d read them over and over again but…not anymore. I haven’t touched them in years and I don’t expect to anytime again the future. They’re just taking up space and gathering dust. So I’ll take them to HPB and hopefully someone else will pick them up and enjoy them. I’ll probably add a few more books to this box. I’m also going back and forth about adding my Star Wars: Young Jedi Knight books. I won’t be reading those again but the Star Wars universe is one that I collect — so do I get rid of these books? Would I just end up picking them back up in a few years just to round out the collection? I think I’m going to toss deciding this one to John. He’s as into the Star Wars universe as I am, so I know he’ll understand how big a decision this is for me.

I’ll be going through my books for the rest of the evening. It’s time to admit just how many of these I want to keep, how many I want to have on hand, and which I’ll never pick back up.

It’s going to be tough…but in the end, a clean sweep is what I need.

Weekend To-Do List

After several weeks of activity, I finally have a weekend with no family activities, no visitors, no trips, and no raid. Raid night is shifting to weeknights starting Tuesday once new content is added to WoW.

My plan for this weekend is:

  • Finish redecorating my blue display cabinet.
  • Finish putting pretty backing on the display cabinet.
  • Move the plastic baskets behind my desk to the bedroom/craft area.
  • Reorganize the craft items.
  • Make a space for wedding gifts to land (that’ll be starting soon).
  • Laminate the various lists in my kitchen so they stop looking sad and pathetic.
  • Finish putting my cooking herbs in their new containers.
  • Make a meal plan.
  • Make space for my folding bookshelves currently taking up room at my parent’s house.
  • Fill in the new empty spot on my living wall.
  • Convince Mom to let me have her still-packaged Lord of the Rings action figures.

I’ve been turning a number of these projects over in my head for a while now and I can’t wait to finally dig into them! I’ve made some changes to my living room and I really, really want to show it off!

Between this and Minecraft, I’m really looking forward to this weekend! Hmm. I should take some screen caps…and show you my design sketch…and that’ll be possible once I’m on WiFi instead of my no cell signal desk!

Bathroom Redux Conclusion

I finished my bathroom before raid, did laundry, put the laundry away, and also did the dishes! I love how much more comfortable my apartment is when it’s clean.

Anyways, bathroom. I managed to consolidate things pretty well and ended up with extra bins! That’s always a win. Plus, everything is now labeled! It’s so much easier to find items now.

Bottom cabinet:

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These narrow, narrow, cabinets are pretty awkward. I wish they had just left the space open so I provide my own shelves or drawers or something.

The hanging tin has my spare glasses and sunglasses. I tried but there really wasn’t anywhere better to put them.

The narrow, blue bin is rather battered but a container for extra trash bags doesn’t need to be pretty!

I’m also so very happy that the toilet wand fits inside the cabinet out-of-site.

The larger black bin has all my extra bottles but was a pain in the butt the get in! I had to contort the shape of the bin to get it in. It’s not coming out anytime soon.

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The tin on this door has my extra Q-tips. I keep some by my sink but I hate having to store that bulky container they come in.

The bins and things on the upper shelves are things I don’t need very often. Since I need a chair or a step ladder to effectively get to these shelves, it works out great.

It’s raid time so I’ll leave you with this:

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Bathroom Redux

There’s nothing like football to get you back into a project!

Between an uptick in activity at work and the pre-patch grind in WoW (new content lands Sept. 10!) I’ve been too worn out to do much around the apartment.

Which is less than ideal when my living room looks like this:

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That is all from my bathroom. I ended up emptying out the cabinets last weekend, originally planning on simply labeling all the storage bins.

Alas, the cabinets had gotten a bit cluttered so I just hauled all of it out.

I managed to redo how I store my cotton balls before i had to stop for raid last week.

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Good-bye pretzel bin, hello cotton balls! The blue paper didn’t go on quite as smoothly as I hoped as the bin’s sides had more of a slant than I was expecting. Still, it looks pretty good. Both the paper and label came from Target.

Back to work!

Fifteen Minute Cleaning

Mondays are always…interesting. It’s rare that I manage to NOT mess up my sleep schedule over the weekend. Which means I hate the morning, drag at work, and finally feel full of vim and vigor once I get home for the day.

Last week wasn’t any different. Getting Minecraft PC has resulted in a brand new addiction that I can’t wait to get back to.

After an hour of rush hour and topping off the gas tank, I came in Monday evening and…

I couldn’t just laze around and goof off the way I usually do when I get in. For one, it’s Raid Night in two hours, I still needed to get dinner ready (leftover Pei Wei from lunch! Yum!), and…

My place is such a mess.

It’s not terrible. It’s been worse. But I couldn’t take it any longer. I pulled on my superhero pajama pants and “Today is a good day…to Read” shirt, got my saved YouTube videos fired up on the Wii, and set out for a quick 15 minute cleaning session. My goal: corral the clutter put away the easy things, and get the things that belong in other rooms to those rooms.

Presenting: Before and After

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Going cold turkey

It’s now just a little more than one month until John’s brother gets married in Nebraska. As I’m completely out of soda, I’m about to embark on the unpleasant caffeine detox process.

That’s right, I’m going cold turkey off soda. I always sleep better when I drop soda for a while and I’ll drop a few pounds by removing these empty calories.

I have a few tools ready to help get through this week:

Britta Water Bottles

Brita Water Bottle, available at Target

Brita Water Bottle, available at Target


I love these bottles. I have two of my own and heartily encourage others to get them. They’re BPA free, soft and squeezable, come with sports tops, and a water filter that’s good for about 3 months and doesn’t require soaking to prepare it for use. I plan on taking both with me to work and running the bottles and various parts through the wash once a week (which is about as often as I use my dishwasher).

Stackable Beverage Dispenser & Extra Large Water Cup

Stackable Beverage Dispenser

Stackable Beverage Dispenser

I found this today at Target — and if it ever appears on the website, I’ll come back and link it.

At $8, this BPA-free plastic, stackable beverage dispenser will come in handy on raid- and game-nights. Finished my glass of water and only have 5 seconds before the next pull? No problem! I can one hand the dispenser without getting up from my chair.

In an ideal world, I’d have the dispenser closer and the nozzle facing me…but that would also put it right over my computer and I’d like to try and avoid water damage should the worst happen.

With luck, this will also encourage me to drink more water in general. Which can’t hurt.

Hydration Is Key

Past detoxes have really taught me that staying hydrated (and having ibuprofin on hand) is key to avoid headaches. Sure, I’ll be running to the bathroom far more frequently, but that’s  small price to pay for better health. And, if I’m lucky, one inch off my hips, ensuring that my wedding dress will fit just right when it arrives in December.

Goodbye, Soda

Goodbye, Pepsi, Farewell, Coke and your special flavors. Auf Wiedersehn, Mountain Dew and Orange sodas. And, hardest of all for this native Texan, goodbye, Dr. Pepper. I love your fizz, your flavors, and the kick of caffeine you are my only source for. One day, I will return to you. I’ll see your close relatives, Sprint and Sierra Mist, at fast food resturants, but my wonderfully flavorful drinks, farewell.

This is going to suck. I hate coffee, tea, and most flavored waters.

Traveling: It’s the Small Things

FYI, I’m on a weekend gettaway with family so who knows what’s going to happen blog-wise.

I’ve been attending geek cons on a semi-regular basis for several years now. And while most of the time I have accommodations besides the con hotel, it was one occasion when I was staying at the hotel that I learned a valuable travel lesson:

Bring your own pillow whenever possible.

I loved the con but I didn’t get a single good night’s rest the entire time I was there. I don’t know if it was the down pillows or the detergent used by housekeeping but nestling down under the covers made it all but impossible for me to breath.

Because of that experience, as long as I’m not flying, I always bring my pillow with me. It comes in handy when the hotel pillows are too hard or too soft or too fluffy for my small self.

It’s also helpful on those “THE HOUSE IS AT MAX CAPACITY THERE ARE PEOPLE EVERYWHERE” kind of gatherings. No more pillows, you say? No worries, I brought my own!

There’s one more thing I do with my traveling pillow: I make sure to have a distinctive pillowcase. I’ve used dragonflies, green stripes, and more. Tonight’s pillowcase is black. Because that was the easiest one to grab.

The big thing is that it’s nit white.

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Closet crunch

My closet is getting tight. I’ve been putting more in there of late and not a lot has come out.

I’ve started working of a craft closet that’s coming along quite nicely but doing so required moving all the coats and sweaters from there to my walk-in closet (see my last post to see what happened to the sweaters).

In any case, the thin, felt-lined hangers that have been all the rage lately went on sale on Target. I picked up two packs to try them out. And you know what? They work! The tens (or perhaps hundreds) of bloggers talking about them where right!

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I’ll be picking up more of these as my budget allows. Now to figure out what to do with all the old hangers…

Moving the sweaters

In a random convergence of thoughts, I realized that I wasn’t making the best use of either my laundry room or the coat closet at the entrance of my apartment.

Previously, I had all my sweaters hanging in the closet, with a few random odds and ends on the floor and (mostly) empty boxes I need to keep on the shelf above. My laundry room was serving multiple purposes and storing all my laundry and cleaning supplies, hardware and DIY supplies, tools, gift wrap, and spare containers. The already small room was awkward to be in and I always had to dig to get to what I needed.

I now need to take a moment and sing praises for my Super Target and its (Dollar) Spot. Apparently, my Target Spot is best one in the entire Greater Houston Area. I find amazing bins, buckets, and containers on a regular basis and recently picked up hanging shoe and sweater organizers.

The shoe organizer now holds most of my purses – I need one more to get the remaining few off the floor.

The sweater organizer was the perfect size to hold all my sweaters…with a few tweaks.

$3 Target sweater organizer

$3 Target sweater organizer

$3 Target sweater organizer with one sweater

The sweater organizer is sad

As you can see, the organizer is exactly what I paid for: serviceable but cheap. Lucky for me, I had just the thing to make some improvements.

Shiny 12" square black tile

Shiny 12″ square black tile

I have no idea what this tile’s original purpose was. I found a stack of them at work in Austin while I was finishing my MIS. My boss didn’t know anything about their origins and told me I could have the lot.

The biggest issue the organizer had was that the cardboard at the top was too flimsy to provide anything but an idea of how the organizer should function. A little bit of superglue, however, and the tile fit perfectly at the top of the unit.

Gluing the black tile to the organizer

Gluing the black tile to the organizer

I weighed the tile down (i.e., I grabbed things nearby to pile on top) and let it dry for the length of two Deep Space Nine episodes on Netflix.

Weighing down the glued tile

Weighing down the glued tile with random nearby things

Once I remembered that, hey, I was working on a thing, I paused Netflix and set off for the closet.

I had two more tiles and added those to  two alternating shelves to help improve the organizer’s overall stability. If I free up any of the other tiles being used here and there in the apartment, I’ll probably add those as well to make things that much better.

So, before:

$3 Target sweater organizer with one sweater

The sweater organizer is sad

And after:

Fully loaded hanging sweater shelves

Fully loaded hanging shelves

Opening up the coat closet has already been a huge help. I’ll be sure to get some pictures of what I’m doing in there ASAP.

A bit of random life

I found my wedding dress this weekend! My mother and sister met me at Parvani Vida and the dress we picked (and put half-down on) was actually the second one we tried on!

Shopping there was a lot of fun. We were assisted by Paula and ended up doing three rounds of dresses, usually with four of five dresses during each round. None of the dresses I tried after #2 were as good and the more I saw the others, the more I loved #2.

What’s even more fun is that this dress validates everything my bridesmaids and I had discussed. While they didn’t go along to the different dress appointments, we did pour over the pictures afterwards and we settled on a number of conditions that fit my tastes and appearance.

It’s also wonderful to have friends who will say “This dress makes your head look small.” Now that’s honesty.

I had the best overall success as Parvani Vida but enjoyed trying on dresses everywhere else we went.

I’ll be back there over the next month or two with my bridesmaids — they get 15% off their dresses there as this is where I’m getting my dress.

As for the rest of my life…

  • The apartment is a mess.
  • I did a nifty thing with my spices that I want share with all of you. Which means I need to finish taking pictures and actually get them uploaded. That’s the hard part for me — the writing is easy.
  • I need to figure out a way to manage my paper recycling — which includes finding/making a container and figuring out how to dispose of it as my apartment complex doesn’t have any recycling facilities.
  • Also, the endless World of Warcraft grind — I enjoy it, I really do, but it does require setting aside at least an hour everyday to do it.
  • Oh, and I need to lose 1 inch off my hips to fit into my dress when it arrives in December. Which means I need to lose 2 or 3 inches now so I can safely re-pad a bit during Thanksgiving and after with all the holiday baking.

So back to the grind I go. I really do need to get better about pictures…the constant tweaking of my apartment really is something to document.

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