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Bathroom Remodel

The bathroom remodel is aaaalmost done, but we are so happy with how it turned out. Anthony and his dad did most of the work in August, but we finally finished some of the last details recently. I painted the walls, ceiling and trim, thankyouverymuch. Eventually, we'd like to install some rough hewn shelves, but for now we just have a generic shelving unit in place to put all our stuff.

Anthony tiled the tub surround up to the ceiling.

We had the tub refinished and it actually comes clean now!

We installed four corner shelves in the tub instead of hanging a shelf from the shower head.

We found an antique sink at the Habitat ReStore which Anthony and his Dad built a cabinet for. We ordered the glass shelf, hand towel holder and tp holder from Pottery Barn. I found the train rack on Amazon to replace our over-the-door towel hook. We used black hexagon tile for the floor and white hexagon tile on the wall floor to ceiling behind the sink.

The mirror was taken from my parents basement storage room. My mom had purchased it at an auction 15 years ago and never put it up in the house. A few coats of spray paint and it was good as new. The lights are left over from my last rental where I hated the sconces and swapped them out for these.

It's such a pleasure using the bathroom now! I still want to make a new roman shade for the window - but first I need to get a new pedal for my sewing machine.

No more plastic tile on the wall. No more linoleum on the floor. No more crappy tub surround. No more tiny vanity. And the outlets are not tied to the light switch anymore! Here is how it looked when we first moved in:

Getting ready for demolition!
Christmas Decorations 2011
Well, now that I haven't blogged for a whole year and have lost all of my readers, it must be time to start again right? I'm really excited to show my Christmas decorations from this year. There is so much color in our living room that I try to not add too much more. Last year was just silver, this year was silver AND gold. Big step. Also, spray-painted & natural pine cones were kind of my obsession.

My lovely aunt gave me some red branches and suddenly everything came together. Anthony made me gold & silver swizzel sticks ala these.

Balls of white Christmas lights! They looks so awesome lit-up. I was inspired from another blogger to make words out of gold pipe cleaners and put them on the tree. Merry & bright:) (Actually, all of her decor inspired me, so chic!)

The far corner on top of the bookshelf got the blue tree. I really love this color scheme and might do the whole room this way next year - bright & traditional. I love that the "Life is Good" embroidery I did this year pulls it all together with my salvation army silver wreath, silver & gold pipe cleaners and lots of white books. And of course more silver & gold pine cones.

I could say I'm all set for New Years Eve, but I'm hoping to finish some tissue tassel garland like this.
It's 2011!
We had a little party to welcome the New Year

I insisted that we keep our tree up. And you can see some of the bunting from our wedding that we strung crisscross in the living room. In the middle of the ceiling I got a silver snowflake ball on clearance at Target as a makeshift disco ball.

Anthony was our bartender, he mixed up cosmos and mojitos for everyone. At midnight we had a champagne toast in our champagne saucers.

I also found on clearance some festive turquoise swirls that we hung from the curtain rods. I wanted tinsel, but couldn't find it anywhere - do they still sell it?

Jess brought her new beau. Blue swirls in the background!

I prepped the food the night before and so just had to bake a few things. I staggered them to best use the oven and to keep food coming out all night. My favorite was brown-sugar bacon-wrapped pinapple. Those are definitely coming back next year.

I made my favorite spicy corn dip and Naomi brought a great artichoke dip - it was gone in no time. Jess brought bars and chocolate-covered strawberries and oranges - Yum! Melissa provided the veggies and dip, which was a fresh break from the rich dips, chips and cookies. I tortilla roll-ups would disappear just as fast as I could replenish them. We were well fed!

We set up a photoshoot in our dining room with clearance Anna Maria Horner fabric and props and folks had lots of fun with that!

And there are even more photos here.

A little about Christmas.

We got a real tree this year! I was very proud of my present wrapping. We were little Santas and delivered many things in Princeton and Bemidji.

Anthony was overjoyed with his new 250 piece mechanic tool set from Sears.
Our TV watching has been exposed

A New York Times reporter called one day before the election to talk to me about my over-the-air TV reception. She found me because I tweeted "This wind is really messing with my over-the-air TV. #digitalnotalwaysbetter". We had 2 or 3 telephone interviews and email correspondence. They even sent a photographer over twice. Through most of it, Anthony was convinced it was a scam and they were using the ruse to case our house and steal our TV. Luckily, it was legit.

It's pretty exciting - they finally posted the article today. Read it here. I'm going to Starbucks to pick-up a hard copy (not sure if it actually made it into the paper version).
Packing-up and Moving

Strib photo by Jerry Holt. Click here to see more of who was moving into my office suite.

Shauna asked what today was like. I said "sucky". I've been trying to think of a way to help Anthony understand why we're all so shocked and sad.

Imagine your biggest business competitor was located next door to yours. You sell a high quality product at a reasonable price. They sell a shoddy product at cut-rate prices. After a hard 4th quarter that everyone is glad is over, they have sold more than you. As a reward they take over your office and make you move into their old space. And then they tell you what to do.

Maybe when the shoddy product breaks, consumers will see their error and buy better quality. Time to work on our sales pitch.
Worst. Drive. Ever

Anthony and I started last Saturday night out as a fun little trip to St. Paul for Roller Girls and then a quick stop in Minneapolis for a drink with a friend, then home to bed. We did not realize what was in store.

After Roller Girls we made the drive over to Minneapolis in about 30 minutes. We noticed it was misting. Which was weird, because it was only 25° out. We had our one drink with a friend that was moving away to California and we were back on the road at 11:30 PM (PS we would have stayed out longer but, we had to be up to teach Sunday School by 9:00 AM). We should be home by midnight.

However, it was difficult to even walk to our car because (if you live in MN you know) the mist had frozen solid, covering every surface in ice. I fell on the sidewalk. We figured it would be slow going on the highway home, but those things are always hot and plow trucks should be out with sand & salt, so they wouldn't be that bad, right? Wrong.

Once on I94 we were very sad that we were there. Almost immediately we were at a stand still. We considered exiting on to Hwy 55, but figured the stand still wouldn't be for long and that it'd be safer than a lot of stop lights and intersections. Wrong again.

Every time 94 came to a curve or a hill there were spinouts, cars unable to make it up the incline and cars that just couldn't help from sliding onto the shoulder. Not to mention HORRIBLE drivers that would floor it and just make a spot shinier with their spinning tires.

At the Cedar/Riverside exit we counted over 20 cars that had either crashed into another car, crashed into the highway wall or who just couldn't keep from sliding into the shoulder.

Two hours in traffic and we had made it to about Hwy 280 (about 1/4 of the way home). We considered exiting on to Cretin, but decided the hill down to the intersection of Marshall would be too steep. We watched a FIRE TRUCK fishtail and slide into the shoulder/highway wall. How are we going to make it out if the firetruck can't?

In between the curves and hills would be moderately light traffic at a decent pace (20 mph instead of 0 mph). Then we encountered where 35E intersects I94. This was hell. Most of the time we just turned the car off. We did not move for an hour and a half. (We think this is because there were some of the 430+ crashes right in front of us and just too many to take care of and move.)

Some people got out of their cars and walked to see if they could see what was ahead. At times, it felt like REM's "Everybody Hurts" video (and not in a good way - more like this is a nightmare get me out of here). I kept thinking "Why are there so many cars on the road at 2:00 AM?" I couldn't help from falling asleep. I was so glad that Anthony was driving.

We spent a lot of time parked on the highway in front of the Kelly Inn, and we considered just getting a room there. But we were so close to home, I thought it seemed silly.

We had passed the 10th & 5th street exits in St. Paul (just barely) but we could see other cars driving over the low curbs to get on to the downtown side streets. It was 3:00 AM and we couldn't take it anymore, so we tried our luck and did our own curb jumping.

Downtown was deserted and we took Cedar down to Kellogg. We ignored the speed limit to get enough momentum to make it up the Kellogg Boulevard hill and kept on going up to Mounds Boulevard but we were foiled once again. We couldn't make it up and around Mounds. So Anthony did some stunt car maneuvering with the aid of the curb to turn us around and back down the hill to the I94 entrance.

I94 was deserted there, except for a few cars here and there. And one STUPID Buick who decided to cut in front of us as we weaved through other stalled cars (at the fast pace of 20 mph).

Almost home - almost home! We opted to go one exit past our house because the McNight exit ramp is a decline instead of an incline. We made it down but couldn't slow down enough for our right turn. So Anthony again did a stunt car move and pulled a 360° in the middle of the intersection to finally make our turn. Then it was easy going from there. Only 3:30 AM. Anthony used a whole bag of salt on our sidewalk and steps. I brushed my teeth and took out my contacts. We were in bed by 4:00 AM. Hey, only 4 hours until we have to be up!

I was just so happy to be in my bed. And that we didn't get hurt. And that our car didn't get smashed. We were so lucky that Anthony had a full tank of gas.

Are you still reading?

We went to church even though there weren't very many kids, but it was nice. We were over joyed that the after-church activity that we were supposed to help with was canceled! We went home, ordered pizza and took a nap in front of the Vikings game.
Nora Ephron "Talking Volumes" at the Fitzgerald Theater
I was the lucky, last-minute date of Nicole to "Talking Volumes" with Nora Ephron and her new book "I Remember Nothing". I felt so lucky - who wouldn't want to go listen to the writer/director of some of my favorite movies?!

Kerri Miller hosted (the night was recorded for future broadcast on MPR) and she was a great foil to Ephron's wit. We were regaled with stories from her past and her outlook on life.

She also read excerpts from her book.

I had previously read an excerpt of her book in Vogue and loved it. Or at least I think it was her. I may have it totally wrong. Just like when I got up to ask her a question about a movie that I thought she was writing based on the Pioneer Woman's Blog. But she's not. I was mortified.

I'm not sure if I just dreamed that or what because I tried to go back and find where I read that, but of course there is no evidence of that being true. I was laying in bed and it came to me that the screenwriter from Steel Magnolias is doing it. Not Ephron. Good timing.

Of course I bought the book.

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