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Remodeling the powder room

A few months ago, the husband and I moved into our very first home!  The house has great “bones”, like our sister-in-law says, but the counter tops and cabinets are builder-grade, 80s inspired, and outdated.  Not having lots of money to remodel everything right away, we decided to paint the cabinets, add hardware, lighting and new fixtures to the bathroom.  When my friend Ramona posted a link to Centsational Girl’s blog, it inspired us to follow her easy steps and remodel our powder room. 

Safety first! We really made use of our 3M respirators! ;-)

We removed all the doors + faux cabinet fronts and sanded them in our patio.  The rest of the cabinet was sanded on site and the particles were vacuumed up.




Brand new coat of paint + pretty hardware!

Love the 80s show lights! 

To previous light fixture left unpainted areas behind.  Luckily I was able to find the exact color at Lowes and patch it up! 

We moved the towel holder next to the sink instead of on the wall with the painting (below).  It’s more convenient and keeps water from getting everywhere! We also purchased a ring holder instead of a 18-24” towel bar to match the size of the space.

There was no good place for a TP holder that was within reach of the seat (heehee), so we decided to get a TP stand.  No drilling needed! 

It’s amazing what a little paint and some new hardware and lighting can do to bring a room into the 21st century! 

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.

Anais Nin

I saw this on a friend’s facebook page and it really spoke to me.  You never really know how much courage you have until you are tested. These past few weeks and months have taught me that I have more courage than I ever knew. And you know what, that makes me a better and stronger person. So, bring it on!

Love: Google Voice!

Anyone that knows me, knows I love Google. Really, what’s not to love? Their products are intuitive, user-friendly, streamlined and the company is socially aware. So when I got an invite to Google Voice, I was ecstatic! One phone number for all my phones. You call my Google Voice number and I can pick up anywhere I am. Plus 4-way calling, good international rates, transcript voice mails, and you get to pick your own number. And now they rolled out my newest favorite feature: Google voicemail on your regular phone #s. So say someone calls my cell #, they still reach my same Google voicemail. AND I get an email transcript/text message with their recording. Loves it! When I tell some people all these great features they are unimpressed—I guess it’s nothing mind-blowing, but I’ve learned that it’s often the little things that bring a smile to your face. Like hitting play from your gmail inbox and listening to a voicemail without having to dial a number, enter your pin, and push through prompts! Go try it!

Happy New Year!

A decade has passed and I’m sure there has been a lot of reflection. However, I enjoy looking into the future. Here is a good article by Scott Burns.

Ten Lessons of the Long-Distance Runner

By Scott Burns

I’ve been writing a newspaper column since January 1977. That’s 33 years, 29 of them for syndication. It has definitely not been the same year, repeated 33 times.

But there are patterns. And there are rules. There are things that you need to do if you want to get by, let alone do well.

So think of what follows as the CliffsNotes from the last 5,000 columns.

There is always a crisis.

Now in my 70th year, I can’t remember a single year that was uneventful. Whether it was the challenge of Sputnik, the liberation provided by birth control pills, the Vietnam War, the OPEC oil embargo, the S&L collapse and crisis, the first microcomputers, the arrival of AIDS, the endless discussion of tax cuts or tax increases, the energy bust of the ‘80s, the market collapse of 1987, the fall of Soviet communism, the rise (and decline) of Japan, the dot-com boom, the Asian economic bust, the millennium scare, the housing bubble, the financial bust of 2008 or worry about the end of the world in 2012, you can’t talk about human existence without talking about one crisis or another. It’s what we do.

There is no free lunch. But there are some great deals.

Many “free” lunches are offered, but there is always a hook because everyone is selling. We seem to have only two roles. We’re either selling, or we are possible customers.

While the free lunch may be no bargain, the abundance of offers means we get some really great deals. I’m still thrilled that I can fly where I want, when I want, at very reasonable cost, that supermarkets are filled overflowing with wonderful foods, and that the Internet is an amazing cornucopia of human activity.

We have to take care of ourselves and those we love.

No one else will do it for us. Not our government. Not the companies that employ us. If we expect less, we’ll do what is necessary. We need to get on with it. We need to stop hoping that someone else will take care of us. They won’t.

We must save.

The only way to avoid the need for saving is to die very young. Since most of us will die old, saving is a necessity. So start, already.

Debt can be useful, but it’s not an honor.

Having credit may be a privilege, but it’s no status symbol. It’s just a way someone else can make a buck. So we should borrow only when necessary and pay it back ASAP.

In investing, expenses always count.

The sales force wants us to believe otherwise because our expenses are their lunch or Mercedes payment.

Simplicity works, complexity fails.

We want to believe otherwise, but the financial services industry has proven, again and again, that complexity leads to disaster for everyone but them— and often for them, as well.

Human creativity and energy are abundant.

It’s common for conservatives to worry that taxes will sap incentives, etc. In fact, creativity is a far deeper drive than anything that can be steered by tax policy. That doesn’t mean we should have high taxes or gigantic government. It only means we should not underestimate the ubiquity of our drive to create, do better, do faster and do more.

The wonderful curse of success.

Our greatest act of denial is believing that there are no consequences for getting the longer lives we’ve wished to have for centuries. The greatest global financial crisis, the one we are just beginning, stems from a simple reality— human beings have gained a year of life per decade for more than a century. If we live longer, we’ll have to pay bills longer. That means saving and investing more.

We’re changing for the better, ever so slowly.

Technological change may be faster than social change. But just 48 years ago there were only a handful of women in my class (1962) at MIT. Today, the president of MIT is a woman. Women now account for half, or more, of all students in college and professional schools. Yes, large ethnic and racial divisions remain, but we live in a far more open society than we lived in 25 or 50 years ago.

We can do better. Lots better. And we will.

Live long, prosper, and may your tribe increase.

More soldiers committed suicide this year than in any year for which we have complete records. But the military is now able to meet its recruitment goals because the young men and women who are signing up can’t find jobs in civilian life. The United States is broken — school systems are deteriorating, the economy is in shambles, homelessness and poverty rates are expanding — yet we’re nation-building in Afghanistan, sending economically distressed young people over there by the tens of thousands at an annual cost of a million dollars each.

BOB HERBERT, NY TIMES (via nanceroo)

Have I ever mentioned how much I <3 Nancy?

<3 Nicholas Kristof

Nicholas Kristof is probably one of my favorite journalists.  He travels around the world documenting injustices against women and children and shining the light on many courageous women.  He has save prostitutes, drug addicts, and women who would have died in childbirth.  This story below is so touching…it literally made me tear up.  It reminds me of my own mother, who is one of the bravest persons I know. And it also highlights the power of having a dream and establishing goals.

Triumph of a Dreamer


Any time anyone tells you that a dream is impossible, any time you’re discouraged by impossible challenges, just mutter this mantra: Tererai Trent.

Of all the people earning university degrees this year, perhaps the most remarkable story belongs to Tererai (pronounced TEH-reh-rye), a middle-aged woman who is one of my heroes. She is celebrating a personal triumph, but she’s also a monument to the aid organizations and individuals who helped her. When you hear that foreign-aid groups just squander money or build dependency, remember that by all odds Tererai should be an illiterate, battered cattle-herd in Zimbabwe and instead — ah, but I’m getting ahead of my story.

Tererai was born in a village in rural Zimbabwe, probably sometime in 1965, and attended elementary school for less than one year. Her father married her off when she was about 11 to a man who beat her regularly. She seemed destined to be one more squandered African asset.

A dozen years passed. Jo Luck, the head of an aid group called Heifer International, passed through the village and told the women there that they should stand up, nurture dreams, change their lives.

Inspired, Tererai scribbled down four absurd goals based on accomplishments she had vaguely heard of among famous Africans. She wrote that she wanted to study abroad, and to earn a B.A., a master’s and a doctorate.

Tererai began to work for Heifer and several Christian organizations as a community organizer. She used the income to take correspondence courses, while saving every penny she could.

In 1998 she was accepted to Oklahoma State University, but she insisted on taking all five of her children with her rather than leave them with her husband. “I couldn’t abandon my kids,” she recalled. “I knew that they might end up getting married off.”

Tererai’s husband eventually agreed that she could take the children to America — as long as he went too. Heifer helped with the plane tickets, Tererai’s mother sold a cow, and neighbors sold goats to help raise money. With $4,000 in cash wrapped in a stocking and tied around her waist, Tererai set off for Oklahoma.

An impossible dream had come true, but it soon looked like a nightmare. Tererai and her family had little money and lived in a ramshackle trailer, shivering and hungry. Her husband refused to do any housework — he was a man! — and coped by beating her.

“There was very little food,” she said. “The kids would come home from school, and they would be hungry.” Tererai found herself eating from trash cans, and she thought about quitting — but felt that doing so would let down other African women.

“I knew that I was getting an opportunity that other women were dying to get,” she recalled. So she struggled on, holding several jobs, taking every class she could, washing and scrubbing, enduring beatings, barely sleeping.

At one point the university tried to expel Tererai for falling behind on tuition payments. A university official, Ron Beer, intervened on her behalf and rallied the faculty and community behind her with donations and support.

“I saw that she had enormous talent,” Dr. Beer said. His church helped with food, Habitat for Humanity provided housing, and a friend at Wal-Mart carefully put expired fruits and vegetables in boxes beside the Dumpster and tipped her off.

Soon afterward, Tererai had her husband deported back to Zimbabwe for beating her, and she earned her B.A. — and started on her M.A. Then her husband returned, now frail and sick with a disease that turned out to be AIDS. Tererai tested negative for H.I.V., and then — feeling sorry for her husband — she took in her former tormentor and nursed him as he grew sicker and eventually died.

Through all this blur of pressures, Tererai excelled at school, pursuing a Ph.D at Western Michigan University and writing a dissertation on AIDS prevention in Africa even as she began working for Heifer as a program evaluator. On top of all that, she was remarried, to Mark Trent, a plant pathologist she had met at Oklahoma State.

Tererai is a reminder of the adage that talent is universal, while opportunity is not. There are still 75 million children who are not attending primary school around the world. We could educate them all for far less than the cost of the proposed military “surge” in Afghanistan.

Each time Tererai accomplished one of those goals that she had written long ago, she checked it off on that old, worn paper. Last month, she ticked off the very last goal, after successfully defending her dissertation. She’ll receive her Ph.D next month, and so a one-time impoverished cattle-herd from Zimbabwe with less than a year of elementary school education will don academic robes and become Dr. Tererai Trent.

Kanye vs. Joe

We have all heard about the Kanye episode at the VMAs this Sunday. Just a mere moments after the outburst, my Facebook feed was inundated with comments.  I agree with most people: Kanye’s comment was rude and unnecessary, Kanye has issues, Taylor Swift deserved her moment and Beyonce graciously allowed her to have it.

What surprises me most is that Joe Wilson did a similar thing, yet the outcry was not nearly as potent. Who is Joe Wilson? Wilson is the congressman from South Carolina that shouted “You lie!” as President Obama presented his health care plan. Regardless of political beliefs, what Wilson did is just as reprehensible, if not more, than what Kanye did to Taylor Swift. Like Maureen Dowd points out, no Democrat told Bush he lied (even though now we know he did misrepresent what was going with the Iraq war, WMD, and torture, among many things).

Why did millions of people not go on Facebook showing the same contempt for Wilson? If Taylor Swift deserved the respect to give her thank you speech without any naysayers jumping on stage, surely the President of the US deserves enough respect to not be interrupted in this manner while giving a speech to Congress and the nation.

So again, where is the public outcry over the blatant disrespect Wilson showed last week?

Lion Sleeps Tonight


I wish I were eloquent and succint in describing the importance of Ted Kennedy’s influence for social policy in this country. He was a champion, a true advocate, and it saddens me that he wasn’t able to see the fruition of healthcare reform in his lifetime. This article points out the specific reforms he set forth on civil rights, human rights, pay equity, disabilities, women rights and the list goes on. He will be missed but not forgotten.

Happy Birthday, Ingrid!

My friend Ingrid is working from home this week and since she lives near my job, I told her it would be fabulous if she invited me over her house and cooked me lunch! She happily obliged. When she asked me when I would stop by, I randomly chose today.

Luckily she did not mind cooking for me on her birthday. The veggies were home grown and tasted super fresh! It was so delicious, I almost did not want to leave her house. Luckily I get to see her again for her birthday party this weekend!

Have a great day, Ingrid!

Also, Happy Birthday to Susan!! :D

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