Thursday, March 27, 2014

A New Obsession

Several months ago, from some other blog or link or something, I discovered the website Darby Smart.They're a craft website offering DIY kits that you order by the project. Each kit comes with everything you need to complete the project. They also have a monthly subscription box that sends a mystery project each month; I've done this twice.

All the projects are reasonably priced, in my opinion, and they frequently offer coupon codes and deals. (I'm not sure I've ever paid full price for one. Though I gladly would.) So far I've completed four, ordered two for my sister's Christmas gift, have two waiting for me to complete, and one more on the way. (For the latest three, I had a coupon code for one, a gift card from my brother, and a $10 credit for coming in second in one of their giveaways.)

I also just submitted my own idea for a project. If they like it, and can source the materials, they will offer it for sale as one of their projects. I'll let you all know if that happens. For just being considered they gave me a $30 credit to use in their supply store. I got paint, jewels, and stencils. I used the paint and jewels and submitted this wine cork memo board as my project idea.

Projects waiting for me: Cutting boards to woodburn, pillows to embellish, and champagne flutes to dot.

And these are the four I've completed so far.

I just loved these tilted teacups. It came with two and I made one for me and one for my sister. These are the first candles I've ever made and they smell so good. It came with hot pink spray paint but I used the gold paint pen I got with another kit.

There were so many options for what to do with this states stencil. I finally decided on stenciling all of the states and coloring the ones I've visited. I look forward to coloring in more. (Provided the paint doesn't dry up.) The stencil is reusable too.

I don't have the Darby version for this as it was the December DIY For mystery box. Once the supplies were revealed, I snatched it up, knowing it would be great for my 20s party. It came with a full stencil alphabet, though I connected the lines for a cleaner look. (Those stencils are also resuable.) It came with two sets of battery-operated twinkle lights, which you can sort of see. I added the cursive words using my Silhouette machine.

This kit was also bought for my 20s party. The glitter got out of hand so I strung the balls like beads for a garland instead. Had they been used for cocktail stirrers, I feared my party guests would be drinking glitter.

With no easily accessible or fully stocked craft store near me, I love that everything you need comes with it. I also love that while they give you a photo and steps, you can still exercise your creativity to customize. There's also a showroom where others post what they did, giving you even more ideas.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wednesday Words

"When do the things we once wanted more than life itself, get replaced, by life itself?" 
-Jan W., in a Gchat conversation with me

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Things I Learned This Weekend

A new escalator not moving looks the same as an old escalator not moving.
About four months ago, Metro closed one of the entrances to our metro to replace the escalators. They were unveiled on Thurdsay morning and by Thursday evening when I got home one was already not moving. I had predicted it would last until at least Friday, and Karey was generous and gave it a week. It turns out we both have more faith than we thought in our embarrassing metro system.

Sitting at home reading and watching a Carolina tournament game is a good way to end a crazy week.
I watched the game from home on the couch with my PJs and my book. It was a good start to a weekend that would end not good.

Reading even a slightly scary book makes sleeping slightly difficult.
Last week I read "Night Film" and as a result had some trouble sleeping. I just can't handle even a little mystery. Luckily, a trash can in front of the door helps keep out even the mightiest supernatural threat. Or so I tell myself. It was a pretty good book though.

Everything really is better in miniature.
Even mid-century modern furniture, which isn't my style but I do appreciate the aesthetics of, especially when tiny! I broke down and bought this furniture for $2.50 at one of my thrift stores. It's been there my last few trips and when the whole store was 50% off last week, I took it as a sign. It's from the 80s so it has a record player, big speakers, and giant headphones. We had a similar setup at home.

Carrying flat pieces of wood is only marginally safer than carrying a dowel.
A few weeks ago I carried a dowel and almost killed myself/others. This week I carried a few pieces of balsa wood, which was still kind of dicey.

Duke students don't say thank you.
This unopened box of thank you notes was at my thrift store for 50 cents. I assume it's because Dukies never say thanks. Or maybe they just don't write. Remember the sad memo block I found?

It's really important to realize the effect your purse strap is having on the buttons on your shirt whilst shopping at a thrift store attached to a church.
Can you read behind the lines on that one? Yeah, I think I inadvertently flashed the elderly workers at my fave religious thrift store. But it's Episcopalian, and they're super liberal, so it's probably ok.

Spring is trying to arrive.
These little buds were just trying to bust through that stubborn winter ground. After today's snow, they've probably retreated and are considering never busting through again.

Dremel-brand bits fit my generic-brand Dremel and routing is fun.
I basically want to rout all the wood in my apartment. But I won't. For now.

A new lamp can really brighten things up.
See what I did there? The cheap medusa lamp I've had since the summer after college was sort of burning itself. I bought this pretty thing from Target and had to do some rearranging. It was also a good spark to get some organizing done.

Organizing can lead to found and lost things.
I had to move my bookcases in order to accommodate the lamp where I wanted it. This meant I was able to retrieve two of my Breakfast at Tiffany's posters that fell several weeks ago. In the process, however, the wrap and purse for my Holly Barbie fell behind the bookcase. But doesn't it all look so pretty and clean? And now another found lost thing...

It's easier to save money when you remember you're saving it.
Short story: I found $60 in my saving place in my room.
Long story: About 4 years I lost my college class ring. I was devastated. Even more so when I learned Carolina had started offering only one "official" class ring, which I didn't like. Then last summer I saw that they were offering some additional options, including my original one! My first instinct was to buy it immediately and put it on my credit card. Instead I took out some cash every paycheck and kept it in my secret saving place in my room. By the end of the summer I had enough saved and ordered (and received) my ring. I must have decided to keep saving for something else, but then must have forgot after one withdrawal. Oops. On the upside I found $60!

Pantone's color of the year -- radiant orchard -- really is quite radiant. AKA bright.
I'll write about this later this week, but I'm working on a DIY project for my favorite new website, Darby Smart. I got comped some supplies to make it and one was a pot of Pantone paint. It really is a lovely, and bright, color.
Having friends turn 30 is way better than turning 30 yourself.
I was the first of my close group of friends to turn 30. Now the others are starting to fall over that hill, too. Finally. This was the first of at least four 30th birthday cards I'll have to make this year.

I hate basketball.
Sunday evening wasn't good and I don't really want to talk about it. Except to say that it kind of sucks caring about something sometimes. And sometimes I want to go back to when I didn't care about sports. It'd be easier.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Only Thing I Learned This Weekend

Tar Heels are everywhere!
Because this happened on Saturday nite at a bar in D.C.

If you don't know, that is former Tar Heel basketball player and 2009 National Champion Marcus Ginyard.

So here's what happened. On Saturday nite I went out with my friend who, for the purposes of this blog, I will call Mr. Wit (MW)*. We had considered going to Georgetown but since I hate it there, had just spent the afternoon there, and people were out celebrating St. Patrick's Day there, we decided to hit Adams Morgan instead. This is a very popular part of D.C. that I've never really cared for. I have reasons but they're all pretty lame so I'll just move on.

We had dinner at a small New Orleans restaurant I had visited years ago with my book club. After jambalaya and beignets we set out for a new-ish bar that I'd only been to for brunch and was entirely new to MW.

After sitting at the bar for a little while, this tall man walked in. I took one look at his face, dug my nails into MW's arm, and squealed, "Oh my gosh it's Marcus Ginyard! No, wait, it's not, it can't be. Oh my gosh I think it's him. No." After letting me carry on like this for a minute, MW had me pull his picture up on his phone and he confirmed it was him.

He tried to get me to talk to him but I refused. I didn't want to bother him and I just knew I'd make a fool of myself. Somehow I got distracted, by a drink or the TV or something shiny, and MW took that as his cue to talk to MG. He told me it went something like this:
MW: So, if I went to UNC, would I know you?
MG: I don't know, would you?
MW: Would I?
MG: Maybe.

Then MW pulled me over and said, "Well, I didn't go to UNC, but she did." And then I died.

I couldn't stop smiling and apologizing for bothering him. I asked him what he was doing in town and he asked me what I did in D.C. I asked if he'd seen UNC's atrocious game the day before. (He had not.) He was so polite and nice. I had no reason to think he'd be otherwise, having only ever heard good things about him, but it's always nice to see.

I asked him if he'd hate me if I asked for a picture, and he laughed and said no, so that's what I did. MW left for the bathroom so I'd have a minute alone to talk to him, which was nice but nerve-wracking because I'm such a goober. When he got back, I moved back to my seat and we continued doing our thing. Well, not true, we continued drinking and dancing interspersed with my periodic "Oh my gosh! I'm so happy! Oh my gosh!"

It was just a fun nite anyway and to have that as part of it definitely made it even better. Had I been alone I would have just been happy to see him at the bar, without saying anything, so I'm glad I had MW to break the ice for me.

*There are certain aspects of my life I keep off this blog for various reasons. But sometimes these areas are important and it feels wrong to ignore them. So my solution is Mr. Wit. Which was one of many suggested monikers. As you might expect from someone called Mr. Wit.

Wednesday Words

"For the impenetrable prison with the impossible lock is your own head."
-Marisha Pessl, "Night Film"

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Wednesday Words

"'How easy it is to feel the goodness of God on such a day?' he whispered. 'Sometimes I wonder why we shut ourselves up in churches. What can man make, after all, that evokes the Divine as a place such as this?'"
-Geraldine Brooks, "Year of Wonders"

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Getting My Fix

Several months ago, my friend Cynthia told our book club about the online personal shopping service called Stitch Fix. For $20 a stylist will pick and send five items of clothing or accessories based on a style profile you complete. Then you have three days to decide what you want to keep and return any remaining items in the included envelope. The $20 fee acts as a credit toward anything you buy.

I've written many times here about how much I love clothes. But I've actually cut way back on the amount of clothes I buy. Especially new clothes. I'm far more likely to get items from a thrift or consignment store. I resisted doing the service since I'm so particular about my clothes and since I know my self control goes way down when I have pretty clothes in my hand. I couldn't imagine how low it would go if they were at my doorstep.

As you could probably guess, this resistance didn't last long and I ordered my first "fix" back in October. I kept a pair of jeans and a blouse. I am most particular about my jeans and was shocked that these fit so well.

I got my second fix yesterday and decided to write about it. I debated writing about this but I've read the reviews others have written, including Cynthia, and I think it's fun.

As soon as I opened the box I smelled this bag. It was made of polyurethane and smelled like a tire. It also made everything else in the box smell, too. I don't have a problem picking out accessories myself and I like them cheap, so this was an automatic no.

Next was this thin, striped t-shirt. I wasn't crazy about how the stripes were different widths on the front and back. It also hit at an odd place and was way too thin to justify that price tag.

I thought this would be shapeless on but it actually had some structure to it. I love the color and it feels so soft and comfy. This one was a yes.

I liked the size of the stripes and the color blocking on top, but it was too big. If it was a bit cheaper I may have justified buying it and taking in the sides myself. It also was a bit too thick for summer and too thin for end of winter/spring, so I fear it wouldn't have got worn much anyway.

It's hard to capture the color of these pants, but they are a beautiful royal blue. (NOT a duke blue, thank you.) There are no zippers or pockets and they just slide on to fit me perfectly. I really am shocked that yet another pair of pants fit me so well. These are more than I pretty much ever pay for pants but I talked myself into them because: I have nothing like them; the quality, fit, and feel is great; and since I had a $25 referral credit that covered the styling fee, which normally I'd pay, it basically works out to $50 off and I can swing $45 for pants.

The other three items went in the return bag and the pink cardigan went on my body to wear today. (With the jeans from my first fix.)

I think I'd like to use Stitch Fix once a season. I'd love to do it more but I don't trust myself. However, if you want to use it too, and use my referral link, maybe I'll do it more. (Hint hint.)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Wednesday Words

“The mind of a writer can be a truly terrifying thing. Isolated, neurotic, caffeine-addled, crippled by procrastination and consumed by feelings of panic, self-loathing and soul-crushing inadequacy. And that’s on a good day.” 
-Robert DeNiro, 2014 Academy Awards

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Tar Heel For Life

As I briefly mentioned before, the Toronto Raptors recently came to play the Washington Wizards. If you're like me, you may have thought one or all of the following things:
  • The NBA is still a thing?
  • Why in the hell is DC's team named the Wizards?
  • When did Tyler leave that team he was on somewhere in the Midwest?
Those first two questions I ask myself repeatedly. The last question wasn't asked until after tickets were purchased to see the Raptors vs. Wizards, leaving me to assume he had indeed been traded.

Why do I care about the Raptors? Because, of course, one of the greatest players to ever wear the Carolina jersey happens to be on that team. And with a vibrant UNC alumni community in the DC area, and enough of us that bought tickets and committed to form a fan tunnel, we were allowed on the court prior to game time to do just that.

It was really neat to be on the court. (Especially in heeled boots. The coaches at my high school would've died.)

I was with two of my favorite Carolina girls, of course. Plus about 30 other alums, including a few we've met at events in the past.

After just a few minutes on the court, the Raptors (unexpectedly) emerged and ran through our pom pom-waving, Tar Heel-loving, Tyler-cheering tunnel. Well, some did, others avoided it all together and others just mocked our cries of "Go, Tyler!" Tyler himself just look embarrassed. Oh well. Guess you shouldn't be a beloved UNC player, buddy. Tar Heel is a lifetime title.

We were able to stay on the court long enough to see him take a few practice shots.

Then it was up to our nosebleed seats for the first half. Tyler put in some good time in both halves.

For the second half we snuck in to lower level seats. The stadium was less than sold out but it was surprisingly difficult to sneak past the guards. We ended up in a section with the dance moms of the halftime show, so we didn't exactly blend in, but it worked out.

The Raptors won by quite a bit so that was nice to see. It's so weird to me still that a professional basketball team is just a few metro stops away. I guess I could try and go more but I think we all know my heart lies with a certain college basketball down South.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Things That Have Happened

It's been awhile since I caught myself up on my life. And since technically I haven't left my apartment in a few days--but I did get a ton of stuff done around said apartment, except for putting away the laundry I did on Thursday--I'm writing about stuff that has happened in the past few weeks:
  • I went home to North Carolina for a long weekend to see my parents and also Billy Joel in concert! It was wonderful.
  • At dinner before said concert, the power button on my iPhone jammed, rendering it useless.
  • I bought a new iPhone. It was time for a new one but I was hoping to wait a few more weeks.
  • While at Apple store, I had a nice conversation with the "Genius" and learned that they don't get commission on what they sell.
  • I took a friend out for their birthday and learned that one of the bartenders at a whiskey bar in DC likes to pretend he's Belle from Beauty and the Beast whilst climbing the big ladders in the bar. (Ladders are to get to all the whiskey on shelves on the wall.)
  • Snow Storm #1 left about 10 inches of snow on this fair city and we were snowed in for several days.
  • I didn't leave my apartment the entire President's Day weekend. It was lazy and sad but also glorious.
  • Tyler Hansbrough came to DC with his NBA team to play the Wizards and the UNC DC alumni group went on the court for a fan tunnel. It was wonderful and amazing and I'll post about it later.
  • I made my Grandma Bonnie's potato soup for a competition at work. It only took two Facetime calls and a death grip on my phone to prevent it from becoming part of the soup to make it happen.
  • Snow Storm #2 hit today and we got about 8 more inches of snow.
  • I've watched the first two seasons of "Veronica Mars" over the past week and it has consumed my life.