Saturday, October 31, 2009

Well, Fork Me!

Please excuse my 14-year-old sense of humor with the title of this post...once again, I'm cracking myself up, but probably am offending a few readers. Just couldn't help it!

Anyhoo, onto the post.

You're probably wondering why I'm writing about forks and saying to yourself, JJ get on with it already! Well, what I'm about to say isn't particularly insightful or impressive. It's really all about a weird idiosyncrasy I've realized I have.

When I'm eating dinner at home, I ALWAYS eat with a salad fork. It was only recently that I realized I was doing it and I thought to myself, what's THAT all about??? Is that weird to you, too, or is this a somewhat normal trait? Please tell me that I'm not the only weird one here!!!
If I am the only weird one, let's just chalk it up to Halloween, mkay?!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Teach Me How to Stain!

At the failed garage sale, I actually came home with something totally amazing...FOR FREE! That's the kind of deal that works for me!

My friend Jennifer happened to have an antique telephone table stashed away that was slightly cracked, had been painted and then stripped, and was essentially worse for wear. BUT, it is an antique, and I knew I could do something with it, so home it came!

HOWEVER, it's been sitting in my house ever since and I haven't gotten around to it. Now, I'm a self-professed DIY Diva, but I have a confession: I've never stained anything before. That's where you all come in. Please please please share your tips and tricks for a good stain job, mkay? Thanks ever so much, my dahlings!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Public Service Announcement: Think Twice Before You Paint a Pumpkin

I just tossed out my pumpkin this morning. It was a disaster of epic bad that I couldn't even take pictures. I think painting it, then carving it (less than a week ago), may have sped up the rotting process. And the smell...oh dear, the smell. It must never be mentioned again.

Therefore...I plead, beg, beseech you:

Think twice before you paint a pumpkin.

Friday, October 23, 2009

New Shapes for My Drapes

First of all, yes, I do know there is a difference between drapes and curtains, but as you can probably tell, I was trying to be clever with the title of this post. Secondly, I'm aware that I failed at being clever.


I've got an extra long slider in my living room. As my curtains were not custom made, I've always had an issue with how to push them aside when I'm in the mood for extra light. The middle panel always ended up being thrown over the hook on the right and I always thought it looked sloppy. Have you ever been in this predicament?

One of the little tchotchkes I picked up in Texas was a cool tin with a sparkly horseshoe on it and thought I'd put it up somewhere for good luck. Then I realized that with a bit of ribbon, I could use it to tie back the curtain! It was such a small little change, but I absolutely love it!!!

Forgive the poor quality of the pics, but I've got to show off my crazy little invention.

What small changes have you made around YOUR house that have made a huge impact?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Happy Birthday, Lindsay!

Lindsay is going to die when she sees this! I made a stink about her birthday on twitter, too. But you know what? I LOVE birthdays, and not just my own. I love everything about celebrating people on their special day.

Today, I'm so excited to celebrate Lindsay, because she's the one who really pushed me to open up my blog to the world. I've blogged since 2005, but really only shared it with select friends and family members, but at the beginning of this year, she used one of my posts on her site and encouraged me to share my thoughts with the "outside." Ha!

I'm in awe of her creativity and what she's been able to accomplish this year...but I really shouldn't be, because she's dang smart. In grad school, I always hoped to take classes with her, so I'd have a built in study buddy. She just knew it all...and I NEVER did. And though we are of opposing view points on a few things, she never made me feel attacked or like my opinion was lesser than hers. Now that's the kind of friend I like!

She's also a rockin mom and wife. I still laugh when I think about my visit out there on how Zack kept coming out of his room when he was supposed to be resting. Each gentle reprimand was followed up by an "I love you." And have you seen what she did to his room? It's nothing short of amazing!

Everyone be sure to wish Lindsay a happy birthday over at her site. And Lindsay, I hope you had a WONDERFUL day! Can't wait to see some video tutorials with your new Flip!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Let's Go Angels, Let's Go!

Blarg, the Angels did not win last night...BUT I went to the game with my dad, sis, and cousin and we had a great time nonetheless!

I DOMINATED a hot dog, covered in ketchup, approximately 732 peanuts, and a GIGANTIC diet soda. Please don't tell the nutritionist!

We rocked our second row seats behind the Angel's dugout and even got on tv a couple times...yep, I'm just as famous as Kate Hudson now. ; )

Living in So Cal has gabillions of fabulous perks, but for me, being close by my family tops the list! I love having my parents close by when I get a hair brained idea to sew new curtains, build cornice boxes, install panel moulding, etc. And I love when my mom allows me to go to the Angel game in her place!

I hope you all had a wonderful night, too, and that your family is close by when you have a DIY dilemma that needs reinforcements!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Clickin Moms GIVEAWAY Winner!

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner, that's YOU Heidi Pocketbook! For those of you interested in learning more about photography, Clickin Moms is a great forum! It's a community of over 3,000 women who have a passion for photography. The site is for all degrees of photographers - amateurs, professionals, and some are just moms with cameras who want to take awesome photos of their kids!

So, even if you didn't win, please check out Clickin Moms! And, be sure to visit our lucky winner at her site, too! Congrats again, Heidi!

My Perfect Pumpkin

Last Monday, while hopping around blogland, I came across THIS POST by AnNicole at Our Suburban Cottage. It was about pumpkins and decor...and I actually liked it! And you know how I don't like holiday decor!

Having said that, these pumpkins were shiny and blingy, and I kinda loved them! I ran out and bought my first pumpkin in years (at Trader's, no less - for only 4 bucks, too!), and rummaged around the house for paint! I found a metallic silver paint and some brushes - SCORE - and got to work.

Last night, I was about to sit down and edit some photos like a good lil photographer, when inspiration came over me...or maybe it was just distraction. Regardless, I finally carved my pumpkin!!! It's not perfect, but it's all mine!

What do you think, does it say JJ? HA!
And I had to show this one, too, because I totally had the exposure off on my first pic. Isn't it super spooky??? Love it!

Monday, October 19, 2009

CONDO2CASTLE: Do Not Fall Prey to Castle Envy

Last week, as I went settling back in, unpacking, downloading photos, from a week spent in TX, I realized that the Green Monster had also unpacked and settled in...not sure if he's downloaded any photos yet, though.

That's right...I came home to the itsy bitsy teeny weeny condo and helped myself to a gigantic bowl of Castle Envy! I'd just spent a week with different friends in their gorgeous homes with their equally gorgeous children and I came home to an empty house. For pete's sake, I don't even have a cat anymore (but that was really more about wanting nice carpets for a change...and another story for another day!).

When I had a couple of days to break down what I was envious about, I realized that there were certain things my friends had that I did not...but that they were not unattainable!
  • Robin has a gourmet kitchen, with all the gadgets a girl could ever want. Her home is comfortable and welcoming.
  • Lindsay has a home that is bright and airy. Her high ceilings are emphasized and she has minimal clutter.
  • Emily has amazing rooms straight out of Pottery Barn catalogs, with large pieces of black and white photography to punch up her family moments throughout the years.
These are all things I can do, too!

For instance, while I might be envious of all Robin's Le Creuset, I can start small by buying up pieces here and there at outlets, etc. OR begin buying the equally charming Martha Stewart Enamel Cast Iron cookware at Macy's! I can also check HomeGoods for other fun and fancy kitchen gadgets. And maybe I should stop storing my fab KitchenAid mixer in the back corner. Who cares if I only use it for this dessert every once in a while!

And I might be envious of how bright and airy Lindsay's house is...but you know what? I have vaulted ceilings throughout my place, too, and I never take advantage of them because I almost ALWAYS have my curtains drawn and my door shut, so those high ceilings don't get any natural light. Is that totally Californian, or what?! I've lived here for almost SEVEN years and I don't know my neighbors by name and I practically lock myself indoors the moment I get home. Lame! From here on out, I'm going to open my curtains the moment I get home and just use my screen door until it gets too cold. I should be using my gorgeous California sunlight to the extreme and not avoiding it!!!

And the clutter solution is easy. I just need to eliminate it. Unopened mail does not need to live on my kitchen counter. Magazines do not have to live out in plane sight. Remote controls can live inside the drawer of the end table. That's all there is to it. I just need to be more committed. Does any of this sound familiar in YOUR home?

As far as Emily's house is concerned...I really love her formal living room which boasts gorgeous black and white images of her kids. I have a wall of shame, too, but it's pretty eclectic. While her images are all unified by the fact that they're black and white, I've decided to focus on having mine all in the same color frame. Sounds like a job for a good can of spray paint! I think I'll even use some risers in order to create depth and that real gallery feel!

And yes, her rooms do look like they are straight out of Pottery Barn, but you know what? I've got some nice furniture, too. The couches are all from Bassett and I need to remember what the price tag was on my high quality pieces the next time I begin to think they're not that nice!!!

So, am I alone in this? Do you ever fall prey to Castle Envy? He's an ugly beast, but I'm pretty sure that I'm not all alone in this one... Tell me ways that you've been able to conquer the Beast and let's fight this one together!!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fall Decor Laziness

I don't like "stuff" and I never have. But gosh, that sometimes conflicts with my desire to have a gorgeously accessorized home. Ever feel that way?

As Fall has come around and I've seen lovely blog posts about how you all have made your home a showcase for the season, I've been like a bit of a bump on a log. Back in my DC days, my mom used to send me a wreath for all holidays. Some of them never made it back to CA. And frankly, I don't think my teeny condo really has the room for holiday storage...but that's a bit of an excuse, isn't it?

I realized that decorating for Fall doesn't mean redoing all the vignettes in my home or that it requires a ton of "stuff", just a little something here and there...and just like that I've turned over a new leaf! I even bought a pumpkin last night, in hopes of transforming it into one of the beauties I just saw on AnNicole's site (but I'm going to wait another week so it doesn't rot!).

AND, guess what?! I'm going to attempt to make my own wreath this weekend...yep, that's right Mom, you heard me right. I'm going to make a wreath...what has this world come to???

In the meantime, I've made some small changes by adding a couple pumpkins here and there, rearranging candlesticks, and using a table runner I had in storage for a while. And you know what??? I really think I like it!

How bout you? Do you make big changes for holidays and season changes, or are you a bit more like me and prefer smaller little touches? I can't wait to hear that I'm not alone in this one. Ha!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Photography GIVEAWAY

Ever heard of Clickin Moms? Well, if you're a fan of increasing your photography skills, you need to be a member!

Clickin Moms is a community of over 3,000 women, who have a passion for photography. The site, which boats numerous forums, is for all degrees of photographers - amateurs, professionals, and some are just moms with cameras who want to take awesome photos of their kids!

The forums are a great place to post images for feedback, ask questions, watch tutorials, get advice on camera bodies and lenses, etc. And guess what?! I'm giving away a ONE YEAR MEMBERSHIP!
In order to be the lucky winner of this ONE YEAR MEMBERSHIP, all you have to do is comment and tell me what kind of camera you have by Monday, October 19. Is it a DSLR? A point and shoot? Or are you old school and rock one of these?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Garage Sale Fail

In the wee hours of Saturday morning, I walked down the stairs in the dark on my way to my very first garage sale as a seller. I nearly tripped on this random turtle. I thought my eyes were deceiving me, but no, there really was a turtle walking down the sidewalk!

But back to the garage sale.

My friend Jennifer decided to hold a multi-family sale at her home in Fullerton. About six of us jumped on the opportunity to join her right away! Some brought furniture, some brought old dishes, some brought a million romance novels and VHS tapes {ahem, that would be me}.

I was shocked by how few DIY Divas stopped by. And let me tell you, we had ample items to make a true diva sing! We had neighbors show up at dawn in their bathrobes, and youngsters show up to get things to furnish their homes. Surprisingly, large pieces of workout equipment sold right away, but my old golf clubs never did.

It almost took until the end of the day to sell my old coffee tables. Here they are going to a new home. I figured I'd have to donate them to charity, so when a woman said, "I don't really need them, so will you take $30?" I said sure, just get them out of here! Funny enough, I sold that white chair to one of the other sellers. I gave it to her for a steal because I wanted it GONE!
Jacquie decided she wanted to buy an old movie of her niece's. Then she turned it over and saw her own name on it. Turns out Jennifer swiped it from her years ago. We all cracked up over that!
Andrea and Chris brought all their goodies over in a Uhaul and at the end of the day, they took all the unsold items to the Goodwill in it. It was a genius idea!!! But hey, I hope I still get the tax write-off!
You may be wondering where the name of the post came from. All morning long, Jennifer kept saying she was priced to sell. I thought she was underpricing everything, but her merchandise MOVED. Mine, not so much. I was clearly overpriced for garage sale land. Here are the big winners with all their cashola.
Here is me, empty handed. Sure, I sold a bunch of stuff, but ya, I also came home with a gently used Prada bag. {WOOHOO!}
So, what's the moral of the story? PRICE TO SELL...and don't spend your earnings before you've left the garage.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Photo Mentor Day

When I was in Texas, I did a mentor day with some incredibly talented photographers that I met through the blog and twitter world! I featured them on a PhotoFANatic Friday post, but having since met them, I can say while awesome online, they are even more amazing in person!!! Jessica and Vanessa, thank you SO MUCH for your generous spirit, all your advice, and also for the darling Texas goodies! I can't wait to make TX shaped cookies or some of the recipes from the Cordon Bull cook book. But more so, I really hope that our paths cross once again. You blessed me so much with your time and talent and I could never thank you enough!

To see some of the images I shot at my mentor day, please visit my photoblog here:

Friday, October 09, 2009

I'm A Horny Toad

You probably read that title and said, "say whaaaaa?" Don't be deceived, I surely am. In the mid-nineties I graduated from high school and packed my things for an adventure to Texas...TCU specifically!

Growing up, I was a dancer and read Dance Magazine all the time. My junior year, I saw a pic for a gorgeous collegiate dance studio and then ordered brochures, etc. My parents indulged me, because at the time, we thought TCU, Texas Christian University, was a conservative religious school, so we went and visited and absolutely fell in love with the people and the campus.

Flash forward a year later, and I was moving into my very first dorm and learning to don purple and white and yell the school chant, which legend has it is the oldest collegiate cheer! Ready to learn it???

Riff, Ram, Bah Zoo
Lickety, Lickety, Zoo, Zoo
Who, Wah, Wah, Who
Give 'em Hell, TCU

Ya, I agree, it's totally silly! But you know what??? Those southerners really know how to tailgate! In school, my sorority sisters and I would get all dressed up, then go to the stadium for some pre-game fun. We were all preppy and sassy and ready for a good time. Now I hear that the girls tailgate in skimpy purple dresses and bedazzled cowboy boots. How times have changed! I mean look at this dress. Helloooooo, who are you trying to impress, girls?!

When I was in school, the football team wasn't all that great. Really, the games were more about the tailgates than the football. But naturally, the year after I graduated they started to get really good and even made it to the 1998 Sun Bowl in El Paso. And guess who they played?! Yep, that's right USC. And GUESS WHO WON! Yep, that's right, my Horned Frogs (28-19)!!! That year, my dad decided there was no choice but for the whole family to fly to El Paso for the game. It was painful, but also very fun to watch the victory!!!

SEVERAL years later, we were in Denver for Thanksgiving and TCU played Colorado State, so once again, the whole family had to drive up there for the game. My sister-in-law was preggers at the time, so she actually got to stay home, but the rest of us donned our purple and went to the game. It was fun and made for a fun family memory. Photos below are from that experience. (Hmmmm, I really like my hair that color.)

All in all, I'm no major football fan, but I do enjoy the opportunity to hang out with friends and watch my team go on to victory! Thanks to Kelly from Kelly's Korner for hosting this fun blog carnival!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Lindsay Has the Coolest Craft Room EVER!!!

On my visit to Living with Lindsay's house, I encountered the CUTEST craft room ever...and I'm unbelievably jealous. And I don't even really craft that much. But don't worry, you'll take a look at the photos below and be in the same boat.

I had no idea how crafty this girl was when I met her 10 years ago. Her house is unbelievably beautiful and all the personal touches and projects make it a home.

Lindsay has shown this pics off before, but I wanted to share why I love them so much - she really knows how to create nice vignettes! Dear Traditional Home and House Beautiful, please inspire me to be more like my friend...or maybe I just need Lindsay to come visit ME so she can impart her wisdom all over my teeny tiny condo!

I'm also quite jealous of her big fat cat, Willy. When we lived in DC and I visited her apartment for the first time, she warned me that she had a big fat mean cat. I had a fat cat, so I thought I knew what I was in for...boy, was I deceived. I had no idea cats could even come this big! He used to hide under the bed, but I didn't know how he'd even fit! Having said that, while he still hides in this house, he's a much gentler soul nowadays!

Wordless Wednesday: You're Beautiful, So Deal With It!

In Texas, I took some pics of my friend Robin and her darling family. I sent a few sneak peeks to her last night and she said, "Good job, but I don't look good in pictures." Well guess what, sugar...YOU'RE WRONG. Sincerely, The Management.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Chili and Cheese Burger Surprise

When I was down in Pflugerville, um yes, that actually IS the name of this suburb of Austin town, I stayed with Robin, Jon, and the Godkids for a couple of days. Robin and Jon were my roommates when I lived in DC a million years ago...okay, in the late nineties.

I always joked that I had a husband and a wife when we lived together. Jon was really good at taking out the trash and picking us up from work in the snow...and Robin could cook like there was no tomorrow! Whenever I have a cooking fiasco or question, I IM Robin and she always has the answer! Because she always has awesome recipes, I asked her if we could stay in one night and whip something up...and that naturally, I'd blog about it! : ) She didn't disappoint.

Instead of regular ole burgers, Robin invented a tasty tasty treat...the Chili and Cheese Burger Surprise (don't make fun of her for the terrible name...I clearly just made it up - ha!)!
    1. Robin began the cooking process by grilling green chilis on her gas cooktop, until they were all black. She then put them in a plastic bag with a wet paper towel for them to sweat.

    2. In the meantime, we (ME!) shredded jack cheese and heated up the grill.

    3. After a while, Robin took the chilis out of the bag and under cold water, stripped the skins, cut off the ends, and essentially got to the middles. She then chopped the chilis up and mixed them in a bowl with the cheese.

    4. Next, she created half of a burger patty with a hole in the middle. In the hole, she scooped a chunk of chili and cheese, then covered it up with the rest of the burger patty, hiding the mixture.

    5. Once prepared, she threw them on the grill and cooked them the "usual" amount of time. (I say usual because I totally fear the grill and typically overcook everything! Ha!)

    6. When they were finished cooking, we threw the burgers onto toasted buns and let the eat-a-thon begin!
These burgers were DELICIOUS, different, and a surprising treat for the tastebuds! I highly recommend you give it a try sometime! Now, for those of you who say grilling season is over now that summer is gone, I'd like to share one of my favorite stories about life with Robin. Being the good Texas girl that she is, she grew up rocking the grill. She even had to explain the difference between BBQing and "grillin' out." She loved our little smokey joe hibachi grill so much that I'd catch her on the porch grilling something EVEN in the snow. So don't be afraid to do the same!!!

Be sure to check out Tasty Tuesday for more recipe goodness, too! I'm sure there are many "Robin's" online who can help you will all your culinary emergencies!

Best DIY Headboard EVER!

Well, I'm back from my week in Texas, and I just want to warn're going to get sick of hearing me talk about my vacation. I can't help it. I had fun AND I have some of the greatest friends ever!

I've just spent several hours on my couch getting reacquainted with my boyfriend Tivo and didn't really get through downloading as many of the pics I took as I'd like so, I'm settling for a relatively quick post...but don't let that fool you. Below you'll find the greatest DIY headboard ever. You seriously won't believe it wasn't picked up in some high end Dallas design firm!

My friends Jennifer and Jason will be married in just a couple of months and in the midst of registries and wedding plans, they've begun combining their great sense of style. They're both fans of traditional decor and have great eyes for possibilities. Upon seeing a mantle at a resale shop (I believe), they quickly decided it could be put to good use and repurposed as a headboard. I think they made an excellent choice! How fabulous is this sucker?! You be the judge!!!

Jennifer and Jason, I had a great couple of days with you. Thanks for showing me around your fav design shops! I know your future home will be filled with love and fab furnishings!