Saturday, January 28, 2012

What a Week!

On Sunday, I went to see Tony n' Tina's Wedding with my husband, parents, in-laws, and my in-laws' neighbors.  Truthfully, it's not the sort of show Glen or I would normally go to see, but the production that happened to be in town starred two of our friends from college, so we had to check it out.

Fun fact: These guys are married in real life, too.  Adorable, right?
On Monday night, I did the work thing during the day, went to band rehearsal at night.  We're playing more Broadway stuff than usual this season, which is exciting for me.  I love playing in pit bands, but I haven't done it in years.  Playing showtunes in concert band isn't quite the same, but in the meantime I'll take it. ;-)

Glen opened for Myq Kaplan at the Allentown Brew Works on Tuesday night, but first Myq stopped by our place to film a pre-taped segment for Glen's show, and I had to keep Elvis out of the den and reasonably quiet. 
We didn't get home until fairly late (for a work night, anyway), so Wednesday was a much-needed lazy day once I got home from work.  I managed to go to the gym, but after that I parked my butt in front of the TV for the night.  Did anyone catch the two-part interview Stephen Colbert did with Maurice Sendak?  Amazing.  Here's part one:

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Grim Colberty Tales with Maurice Sendak Pt. 1
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogVideo Archive

The part about In the Night Kitchen made me laugh so hard I cried!

Thursday was a library day (read: 12 hours at work, fun!), and I got my hair cut during lunch. While I was at the salon, I decided to pick up some new shampoo and conditioner:

I am seriously obsessed with this stuff. (The shampoo smells like grapefruit!)  I generally don't splurge on beauty products, but as of right now, shampoo/conditioner and mascara are exceptions.

Last night was another lazy evening (well, except for the 3 loads of laundry I did, but I had originally intended to clean the whole house!).  I made the mistake of drinking coffee before my 5-9 library shift the night before.  Big mistake.  I slept horribly and barely made it through the day at work.

On the bright side, I did come across this video on YouTube:

I read about this event awhile back, and lamented the fact that (a) I didn't know about it until after it happened and (b) it happened all the way on the other side of the country, so I couldn't have attended anyway.  Watching it on my computer was the next best thing, and it totally made my day. 

I'm hoping to use my little Before and After series as motivation to get at least one room in the house thoroughly cleaned this weekend.  In the meantime, I will leave you with this adorableness:

Elvis loves snugglin'!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Before and After: The Bathroom

My husband and I moved into our house nearly 3 years ago.  It was a diamond in the rough, to say the least.  I've never seen so much wallpaper in my life.

Since I knew we'd be putting a lot of work into the place, I thought it would be fun to document the before, during and after, and make an album on Shutterfly or something, to document all the work we put into the place.  Well, I did a decent enough job of documenting before and during, but not so much the after.  I got as far as taking pictures of the bathroom and stopped.

I decided it might be fun to do a series of "Before and After" posts for each room of the house, but I won't lie, I have two ulterior motives:

  1. This will force me to clean up each room, and put on the finishing touches that we never quite got to, like the baseboards (or lack thereof) in the kitchen.
  2. I will have to take the rest of those photos, and maybe I'll finally make that album!
So without further ado:


I actually haven't looked at these photos in awhile.  This first one actually isn't as bad as I remember, it's just REALLY not our style.

Really, really not our style.  Also, that wallpaper?  It's not even on drywall, it was on these weird, plastic panels attached to the wall.  More on that later.

But this?  This is just scary:

During *

Want to know what was behind that weird plastic paneling?  THIS:

Nice, huh?  And what's even nicer?  When there's water damage behind the tub.  Thank goodness we decided to gut the bathroom, or we wouldn't have found it.

This meant we had to rip out the drywall on the other side of the tub.  Here's the view from Glen's office:

New drywall:

And in the spirit of today's post on Budgets Are Sexy, I opted to refurbish the vanity and cabinet, instead of replacing them:


Our color scheme was white with black trim and chrome hardware. Here's the new door and trim:

Clearly, the hardware in the tub had to be replaced, as did the tub surround:

Here's the refurbished vanity, with a coat of black paint, new hardware, and a new faucet:


 We replaced the mirror and lighting with a bit more stylish:

In the photos the difference in lighting isn't very dramatic, but the main difference is that the finish is much shiner on the metal and the shades are much sleeker.  The old shades we frilly and hideous.

Here's the view looking in from the hallway:

We still need to replace the floor.  The grout is in bad shape and tiles periodically pop up and stick to our feet.  Not cool.  The plan is to wait until we remodel the laundry room, which also needs a new floor, and hopefully get them both taken care of in one day.

*  This remodel would not have been possible without my extremely handy father-in-law, who was responsible for gutting the bathroom, putting up the new drywall and tub surround, and installing the new faucets.  He helped us out a lot with fixing up other areas of the house, too, but he is almost single-handedly responsible for the bathroom remodel!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Sushi and Shoes

I may or may not have mentioned this previously, but Texas is stealing my college roommates.  Over the course of a single year, three of my nearest and dearest friends/former roommates have moved to that state for one reason or another.  It's a big change from having them live within an hour and a half of me, and a HUGE change from them living in the same apartment as me.

However, one of those lovely ladies (whose wedding I was in this past summer) is in NJ visiting her parents this week.  I had the day off from work, so we got together for lunch and shopping.

We gorged ourselves with delicious sushi at East Japanese:

Sadly, all the seats at the conveyor belt were taken, so our dining experience wasn't quite as adventurous as it could have been, but everything was still very tasty.

And big news:  After months of searching, I FINALLY found a pair of brown pumps:

Not the greatest picture, but they were on clearance at Macy's and I couldn't find this pair on their website anymore.  But they are super cute, super comfortable, and were marked down from $75 to $31.  I'm a happy camper. :-)

Apart from the ridiculous traffic on Route 4 and almost getting rear-ended by a speeding bus in the parking lot of the Garden State Plaza, it was a wonderful afternoon!

Hopefully the joy of those new shoes will be the happy thought that sustains me as I start working on the tax return for my jewelry business this week.  I always dread doing inventory, but once I get that done, I'm planning to finally add some listings to my much-neglected Etsy shop.  Wish me luck!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Oh Good, an Extra Mortgage!

First and foremost, I have to thank femmefrugality for commenting on my blog, which resulted in my checking out her blog, specifically this post.

I've been wanting to check my credit report for awhile - I haven't checked it since I applied for a mortgage almost 3 years ago.  I've been toying around with the idea of replacing my car later this year, which would probably necessitate taking out a small loan.  The above-referenced post was the kick in the pants I needed to actually follow through on checking my credit report.

Well, my credit reports on Experian and TransUnion looked good, but lo and behold, Equifax thought I had not one, but TWO mortgages. Not just two mortgages, but two IDENTICAL mortgages, with two different banks. 

Needless to say, I filed a dispute in no time flat.  As it turns out, nothing nefarious was going on, no one was stealing my identity or anything of that nature.  The bank that holds my mortgage recently merged with another bank under the same parent company, and they forgot to remove the mortgage under the old bank name after they added it under the new name. 

I have to give a LOT of credit to my bank for how quickly they responded to the dispute and how nice and helpful the woman I spoke to was.  I just have to fax them a copy of the credit report with the error and they're going to remove the mortgage with the old information from my Equifax report. 

Moral of the story: Check your credit report regularly.  And DEFINITELY check it if you think you might be taking out a loan in the near future!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Happy (Belated) New Year!

Yup, I'm still alive.  My original intent was to just take the week between Christmas and New Years off from blogging, but I accidentally added an extra 5 days. Sorry about that!

Anyway, I did spend plenty of time relaxing and reading.  Last week I read Fathers and Sons, Sleeping Arrangements, and My Life as a Furry, Red Monster.  Yes, that's Turgenev, chick lit, and an autobiography by a Muppeteer.  I'm very well-rounded. ;-)

Anyway, here's a quick recap of my break:

Our fireplace was pretty great even when it was broken...
But it was even better after we got it fixed!!!
I got to spend lots of time with these handsome guys.
Unfortunately, this little guy (Sery) passed away a couple of days after Christmas. He was getting up there in age (most rats only live 2-3 years, he was 2 years and 8 months) so it wasn't entirely unexpected, but I will still miss him very much.

As usual, we spent New Years Eve in Wildwood with some friends from college.  This was the view from our balcony.
So pretty. :-)

Oh, and Glen was interviewed about our dog Elvis on Coffee with a Canine, check it out!

I hope 2012 is treating everyone well so far!  How did you ring in the new year??
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