Friday, September 28, 2012


Sometimes I feel like I could be a little more personal on my blog. I feel like it's easy in the blog world to just sugarcoat your life and make it all glossy and perfect. I feel like even though I've been doing this blog for almost a year (yeah! I can't believe I've stuck with something this long!), that I haven't put my personality on here too much. I mean, do people who stumble upon this blog even know who I am? Do they even care? Maybe, maybe not. 

So, because of that I have decided that I want to post today '25 Things You Don't Know About Me.' 

Here we go...

1.) I'm really into true crime. I love all the shows and I love reading true crime novels. I've actually got a small collection of true crime novels and serial killer books. I'm guessing it's my Psychology background that gets me interested in such a morbid topic... definitely doesn't fit in with my happy-decor-baking blog persona. 

2.) I hate leprechauns. Ever since I made the mistake of watching the horror movie, Leprechaun, at a young age they have freaked me out. I mean, I'm not afraid of Lucky from Lucky Charms or anything but that one from the movie... *shivers*

3.) I'm an aspiring author but probably won't ever finish a novel. I've got two novels that are a quarter of the way written and another awesome idea that I doubt will ever come to fruition. There's a perfect quote for how I feel about it: 

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” 

And that's how it feels. It's also a lot of hard work and I'm lazier than I wish I were. 

4.) For a while there I was really obsessed with zombies. I read a bunch of books, wrote stories, watched movies, and made myself up as a zombie nurse for Halloween. I was into zombies before everyone jumped on the Walking Dead bandwagon. 

5.) I'm a feminist and not afraid to say it. 

6.) I curse too much. Not usually in front of people in public but definitely in my car. Driving in Virginia is the worst. 

7.) One of my more recent hobbies is painting my nails in interesting ways. For years I couldn't paint my nails because of my jobs but now that I'm unemployed I have time on my hands to actually paint my nails. 

Here they are right now...

8.) My worst job ever was working as a cashier at Walmart. Awful. 

9.) My favorite bands are Alice in Chains, The Killers, No Doubt, Garbage and Queensryche. 

10.) I've lived with nine cats during the course of my life. 


Gizmo, Mickey and Miles

11.) My parents are divorcing this year. So...  there's that...

12.) My brother and I once reenacted the movie, Titanic, with barbies and his toys from Toy Story. It was epic. The front porch of our house was the bow of the ship and Batman was the villain. 

13.) I was and still am a school nerd. I used to be so excited to go back to school in the Fall that I wouldn't be able to sleep the night before!

14.) I dyed my hair with pink streaks one time and I loved it!

15.) I didn't get my driver's license until I was eighteen. I wasn't in too much of a hurry.

16.) I don't feel like a typical Navy wife. I actually feel like I don't know too much about military life...

17.) The only time I ever dressed up like anything 'princessy' for Halloween was when I dressed up like Belle from Beauty and the Beast. And she was pretty much the most feminist of all the Disney girls so I think it's all good...

18.) I cut my hair off my Senior year of high school to donate to Locks of Love. 

19.) One time right after I graduated I snuck off to a club in Mexico. My one moment of rebellion and I didn't even enjoy it. Clubs are... kinda gross. Looking back, it freaks me out that I even considered such a crazy thing!

20.) I make up songs about my cats all the time. 

21.) I've kept a journal pretty much since fourth grade. It's a very crazy and biased account of my life that makes me laugh whenever I read them.

22.) I wrote Russ every. single. day. that he was gone to boot camp (front and back sheets) and we still have all of our letters.

23.) My favorite TV shows are The Office, The X-Files, Mystery Science Theater 3000, Bones, and That 70's Show.

24.) I would absolutely love to be able to have the guts and coordination (and to be free of the fear of bodily harm) to play in a roller derby league. I think I just want to hit people...

25.) My favorite places I've visited so far in my life have been Savannah, Georgia and Chicago (and I'd love to go back to both!).

And there you have it, some interesting (I hope) things. Hopefully you know me a little better now beyond painting and baking, right? 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pinterest Recipe: Buffalo Chicken Dip

After pinning this 51 (Wow!) weeks ago, I finally got around to trying it. And... we ate all of it and made another batch a couple days later. We absolutely loved it and it was really a simple recipe to make!

It was originally pinned from here.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

1 1/2 cups cooked and shredded chicken or 1 (12 ounce) can chunk chicken, drained
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup Ranch dressing
1/2 cup Buffalo wing sauce 
3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
blue cheese crumbles (optional)
Heat chicken and Buffalo sauce in a skillet over medium heat, until heated through. Make sure to break up the chicken so there are no big chunks. Stir in cream cheese and ranch dressing. Cook, stirring until well blended and warm. Mix in shredded cheese.

It may look like we're advertising for Walmart but we just bought the cheapest ingredients!

So, we made an appetizer dinner out of it and I got to use my new platter that I got on clearance at Target!

Which matches my cute little creamer cow that I also got on clearance at Target...

Some yummy food and Doctor Who made a lovely evening together! 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Using What You Have

It's amazing that just by changing a few accessories, you can completely change the look of your room.

I played around with my living room decor just to see what I could come up with by using my dark brown sofa. 

Here's the before:

Ahh! Ian looks scary! Cat laser eyes!

Red, brown and white turned out to be pretty together. I used my bedroom picture and red pillow to bring more red into the room.

I used one of my floral scarves to wrap a pillow and bring more of a girly element to this living room look. I don't think Russ would ever let flowery pillows into our house... The green bowl on the coffee table brings out the green leaves on the scarf.

This room was a little more modern (and ideally the art would be bigger of course but I was using what was on hand). I used a black and white scarf to cover one pillow and one of my shirts from my closet to cover the other (haha) just to bring in some more blue into the room.

This room could be called "The Traveler." It has my awesome Urban Outfitters map, map pillow from Ikea, a globe and the Eiffel Tower. 

I actually really like this last look! I'm used to seeing my tree picture strictly in the dining room but this definitely proves it can fit into a living room.

So go on, switch up your rooms for free!

Side note: my Android camera took some rotten pictures today. :( I guess it's time to bite the bullet and get a new camera. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Pillsbury Funfetti Whoopie Pie Review

Halloween is over a month away and my local Walmart (along with pretty much every store everywhere) is already filled to the brim with Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas stuff. But, I couldn't pass these up when I saw them on an end cap though. I've been wanting to make homemade whoopie pies forever but just haven't and I saw this simple little kit for $2.98 and thought they'd make a tasty and fun afternoon project.

And they're adorable and festive too!

They were so easy, I didn't even document the process. The little cakey pieces baked in about five minutes in my oven and quickly cooled.

And the taste? Well... I wasn't impressed. The icing was pretty awful, actually. It had a metallic-sweetness to it that was overpowering and really took over the entire flavor of the pie. If you're thinking about getting this kit, I wouldn't. Or at least save yourself from this frosting and buy a tub of frosting that actually tastes good. 

But you can't deny, these little whoopies are damn adorable. I'm not a sprinkle-person myself usually but they were really cute with the holiday sprinkles. 

I'm actually looking up some whoopie pie recipes on Pinterest and I'd love to review another recipe!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Our Virginia Bucket List

When we found out we were moving from Virginia, I decided to come up with a list of things I'd like us to experience before we leave Hampton Roads. 

On Saturday we crossed another item off the list! We've got about 80ish days until we have to report to Washington so hopefully we keep up the pace. :)

We stopped in at Doumar's Cones and Barbeque which has been a Norfolk staple for years. And... we've lived here over two years and this is our first time!

It was featured on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives and you can view the segment here.

It was fun to try somewhere new and sad we waited so long to try this place!

So here's what we plan to do before December!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Pinterest Recipe: Crunchy Peanut Butter Cups

Apartment searching makes me depressed and when I get depressed, I want chocolate (okay, even when I'm not depressed... there's always an occasion for chocolate, duh). So I delved into this no bake recipe I found on Pinterest a while back that I hadn't yet tried.

And I really like it for homemade peanut butter cups. But, my heart will always belong to Reese's. I look forward to holidays because I know they will bring specially shaped Reese cups (they're so much better than the regular old cups!)... hearts for Valentine's... eggs for Easter... pumpkins for Halloween... Christmas trees for Christmas... Yum! :)

The original recipe can be found here.

Crunchy Peanut Butter Cups 

1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup semisweet or milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup milk
Sea salt
Line a  muffin tin with papers (you could also use a mini muffin tin if you prefer).
In a microwave safe bowl, melt the butter & peanut butter together for 45 seconds.  Stir until smooth.  Add graham cracker crumbs and sugar and mix to combine.  Distribute mixture evenly between the prepared muffin cups.  Refrigerate for 15 minutes to set peanut butter layer.
After the peanut butter has chilled, combine chocolate and milk in a microwave safe bowl and heat in 25 second intervals until chocolate is just melted.  Stir until smooth.  Distribute chocolate evenly over the top of the peanut butter layer.  Sprinkle with sea salt and chill until firm, at least 30 minutes.  Store covered in the fridge.

I didn't have any fancy-shmancy sea salt so I just tried regular table salt and it tasted much better than without it. It's like it was just too sweet without the salt on top. It made the perfect combination of sweet and salty.

What I loved about this recipe was that it was no-bake and I just used the microwave. It would be great for a Summertime snack because you wouldn't have to heat up the house with the oven!

You know what would have been interesting to try with it? Chunky peanut butter. Hmm...

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

My Trials and Tribulations of Apartment Hunting

A while back I found out that the area we're moving to in Washington has PPV (public private venture) housing. It works the same way as base housing does but it's not within the confines of the base. Supposedly, it costs your entire housing allowance but covers everything from electric to water and even yard maintenance (yay!). 

Here were my two lovely options that I found near our base. 

1.) Townhomes 

2.) Beautiful Homes 

Be still my heart! Hubba hubba!

So... from the caption, you can tell which of these lovely places was my cup of tea. I dreamed on and off for days about what I'd do with three bedrooms (hence, the office mood board that I did earlier...), of having a garage, all the storage... the back yard... of NOT sharing a wall with anyone... the possibility of PAINTING! 

After finally deciding I had to stop procrastinating I sent the local housing office an email and was crushed to find out...

"Then if you are E-1 to E-7 and have only one child or less, then [the townhouses] is your PPV area... We do have [beautiful homes] with 3 and 4 bedroom units. There are no extra forms for them.  Pets is another issue up here.  If you have any pets please include them on the application: size/weight, breed, and how many.  [The townhouse] has a pet deposit/fee cost of $400 per pet, just FYI."

Cue the sound of an air blowing out of a balloon. 

I can't have a beautiful home because not only do we not have a brat kid, but we'd have to have TWO brats kids to qualify. 

And... $400 PER pet. I'm sorry, WHAAAAAAT??????

After having a heart attack and fighting the urge to throw a toddlerlike temper tantrum, I decided to write down a pros and cons list to The Townhouses versus a regular old apartment. 

Here's what I came up with:


*designated and safe parking
*no utility bills (covered by housing allowance except for cable)
*no monthly extra pet fee, flat $800 (*gulp*)
*driveway and garage
*1.5 bathrooms

*staggering $800 pet deposit (not sure if any was refundable)
*takes ALL of housing allowance (whereas an apartment we might have extra left over)
*only washer and dryer connections, might have to rent appliances?
*possible gas & electric bills depending on usage


*possible 3 bedroom for the same price of townhouses
*pet deposit wouldn't be over $500 with half refundable
*possibility of living closer to family or base

*questionable parking
*additional monthly pet payment of up to $50 extra on rent
*pay for electric (and some places water and sewage)

So, for a while it seemed like they were both pretty even and I was leaning toward The Townhouses before I decided to Google some reviews of the place. 

It was horrific. It has a 0% recommendation on Apartment Ratings and 47 reviews. There hasn't been a 'Yes' recommendation since 2007. Uh oh. 

Here's a sample:

"cheaply built, everything falls apart, plumbing is a joke, make sure you get a plunger first thing, you can hear everything next door because the walls are paper thin, i could actually hear my neighbor doing the nasty and people snoring, vandalism, break ins, random people who dont even live there walking around"

"I will make sure to get the word out about this place to stay away. How can management treat our military members and dependents this way while we serve."

"Parking sucks, it's very noisy complex, kids running around everywhere. I also suspect the units are infested with mice in between the walls.
Don't let the units fool you with how nice they are, this is a terrible place to live."

KIDS.. everywhere. I figured as much seeing as it is a bunch of military families and my fears have now been confirmed. Sorry, I can't stand children. If we happen to have kids someday, I'll like them but other people's kids? No. 

We already have an annoying child problem where we are now, they are actually screaming outside near my door this very moment, and I wish we were able to live in a 55+ community. 

And I have learned from past experience that you have to take Apartment Ratings with a grain of salt. There's reviews about our current complex that are so blatantly wrong, (i.e. drug needles in the parking lot) that I have never ever seen substantiated. 

I'll just have to keep digging and rooting through the dumps to find a place where we can actually live and feel relatively comfortable leaving our Jeep outside and that no one will rob us blind. 

Apartment hunting is a dirty, awful, terrible business. Especially when you've never been to a place nor can actually see the property until a few months from now. 

So, welcome to my housing nightmare. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Little Bathroom Update

It's no secret that I get sick of things in my house after a while and I like to switch things up for a fresh new look. 

I was a little bored with my key picture in my bathroom.  I still love the picture but I was ready for something new to look at. (I didn't throw it out of course, just stuck it behind the new art in case I change my mind later...) 

I often find myself in the scrapbook paper aisle at Michael's and found this 12"x12" printed clock canvas piece. It was more expensive than scrapbook since it was actually fabric but for $1.99 I had to have it. I can use it as art or to cover something small later (like on a mod podge box...). 

So... I made it mine. 

Cute, huh? 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Labor Day and More DC

Over Labor Day weekend we headed up to Alexandria, VA to visit with Russ' dad who was in town for work. We got to go back into DC and see a little bit more of the town than we did on our last trip.

Library of Congress

Fountain in front of the Library of Congress

Department of Justice... under construction

Ulysses S. Grant Memorial near the Capitol

Waiting for our Capitol tour to start...
The ceiling of the rotunda in the Capitol building... it really is breathtaking.

Inside the Capitol rotunda (which can fit the Statue of Liberty and then 30 feet!)

National Archives which houses the Magna Carta, Declaration of Independence, Constitution and the Bill of Rights... no pictures allowed but it was incredible to see a real piece of history!

Our last stop was the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History which had an incredible collection of meteorites, gemstones and minerals. I've wanted to see this collection since seeing pictures of the museum in grade school. I should've taken more pictures but I was too busy trying to absorb it all! 

We could actually touch this amethyst! 
And... The Hope Diamond! While interesting to see, I kinda felt... underwhelmed. 

And another little slice of history... jewelry that was owned by Napoleon's first wife. Pretty cool!

Great visit! Hopefully next time we're up that way we won't 1) roast our butts off in the late Summer heat and 2) get drenched by a random late afternoon downpour!