Monday, February 21, 2011

Blog bits: steam mops and coffee

Two stories that can't stand on their own as a whole blog post:

Steam mop:

Last weekend I went to the Texas Home and Garden Show. It was a let down. Unless you are about to completely gut your current home and renovate, you won't find the booths much help. There were no painting/decorating booths, nor landscaping idea booths. There were, however, a bagillion and three granite, roofing, flooring, new AC unit, radiant barrier, type booths. Oh well, good thing my friend and I used the groupon deal and got in for $5. :)

Just before we were leaving, we stopped at the booth for steam mops. Most of you have probably heard of the Shark, which is a pretty popular steam mop. The point of a steam mop is that it uses steam to clean- you don't dunk the mop in water and scrub at the floor. The steam loosens and removes the dirt and also disinfects due to the high temp of the steam.

With my back, mopping isn't much fun. I can do small spaces, but the kitchen can be a challenge for me with the rag mop that I currently have. Thus, I was planning on purchasing a steam mop, or rather the Shark.

The guy at the booth caught me eyeing the mop and asked me if I had any questions. I asked him what made his mop better than the Shark.

Apparently, with the Shark, you have to pump it to get the steam going. Exactly what I didn't want...this mop, you just fill it with water, hit the power button, and go. So after watching a pretty impressive demo, I bought the steam mop.

I love it. It is easier to use and my hardwoods and tile look great. Haven't tried it on carpet yet, but I am assuming it will do just as great a job. And my back likes it too. Yay for steam mops!


I bought new coffee last week. Seattle's Best is now selling their stuff in the grocery stores. I've been to several Seattle's Best coffee shops and always liked their coffee.

Their coffee-in-the-bag smells.

Coffee is supposed to smell good when you open the bag. Otherwise, all those Folgers commercials are lying. I opened the Seattle's Best bag and lowered my nose, breathed in...and ::coughwheezehack:: Eww. It smelled coffeeish...but not to where you want to keep inhaling that awesome freshly opened bag of coffee scent. The coffee tastes just fine...if you can get over the smell. (My poor co-worker on-console had to put up with a week of me whining about my stinky coffee every morning when I came in to get handover from him...he said it smelled good, which is why the remaining bag of coffee will be sitting on his desk soon).

So needless to say, I am back to my usual Dunkin Donuts coffee. And it smells heavenly.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

On The Occasion Of Turning 30...

The above delicious culinary creation is a cake my friend Erin made for me. Gluten-free almond cake with a lemontastic flavor. It was AMAZING. I had it with my coffee for breakfast this morning. (My roomie also made two beautifully decorated cakes for some friends I had over today, but alas, neither of us took pictures!).

So...the big 3-0.


I haven't been looking forward to this birthday. I don't like the fact that I haven't been looking forward to this birthday, because it seems so cliche to think like that, but well, that's the honest truth :).

I think it's because I am not where I thought I would be in life when turning 30.

However, I have also gotten to do things in life that I never thought I would do before turning 30. Like the following:

1. Work at NASA
2. Travel to Russia (multiple times) and India (not your normal go-to places)
3. Buy a house
4. Run a half-marathon
5. Be a triathlete

and the most important "not expected"...stepping back and seeing how many amazing, inspiring, and encouraging friends and family that I have in my life.

I am incredibly blessed by the people God has put into my life to support me, make fun of me (in a good way :) ), correct me, cheer me on, make me laugh, listen to me cry, roll their eyes at me when I am being a drama-queen, pray for me, and encourage me. God has used them to help make me into the woman that I am today. And for that, I am thankful.

So if the next decade is anything like the last has been...

Welcome 30.

Birthday flowers from Erin V., Irma, and Pam :)

Gluten free - week 7

I'm getting so used to this diet, that I don't have a ton to share every week, so I am saving gf nuggets until I have enough for a decent post.

So many people have been asking me if I have noticed a difference, so I figured I owed you all a status :). So, as a refresher (in case you are just tuning in), the reason I went on this diet was to see if I noticed any reduction in the symptoms of the autoimmune disease that I have.

My rheumatologist and I have been tweaking my meds during the time that I have been on the gf-diet (started tweaking about 1 month after being gf), but in general, I have noticed no drastic changes in how I feel. I am slowly feeling better (more energy, less pain, etc), but it's the normal trend from coming out of disease flare. I wouldn't associate it with going gf.

So, right now my plan is to finish out the 3 months of strict gf. Then, I will reintroduce the minor gluten items (those with natural flavoring that has gluten- sauces, dressings, etc). I will continue to avoid the "heavy hitter" gluten items- bread products, crackers, pretzels, etc. Because, studies show that gluten and inflammation are linked and anything I can do to reduce the amount of inflammation in my body I am all for and this will sound weird, but eating gf makes me feel... my insides aren't as heavy...see, I told you, sounds weird. Not sure how else to describe it. Besides, I really have found such good substitutes that I like the taste of that I almost don't miss bread. Almost :). And I am thankful to have the option to do a "modified gf diet"...those with Celiac cannot.

Here's my creation from this week:

These gf tortillas are actually pretty tasty. WHEN HEATED. They are ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTING cold. I mixed some organic black beans, corn, and chipotle roasted diced tomatoes (all gf), half a slice of muenster cheese (all I had left in the fridge) and threw it on the gf tortillas (a nice change from corn tortillas, because I am not a huge corn tortilla fan), with some spinach and zapped it until heated. Pretty tasty.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


I've started painting my bedroom. I'm really loving how it is turning out. Three walls are being painted a dark gray, Behr's Creek Bend. The remaining wall is going to be getting some awesome vertical stripes (Behr's Moonshine and Silver Drop) and wainscoting (to be painted a truly brilliant blue color). What's interesting about the dark gray is that right looks slightly purple, but in daylight, it's definitely gray. Might need to switch out the lightbulbs I am using...

I've got two walls painted the dark gray (I'm waiting on the 3rd because I need to have some drywall work use in painting it twice...) and I tested out the stripe technique in the mini-entry way into my bedroom. I plan to use bigger stripes on the actual bedroom wall (what you see is 6" and 4.25" stripes, with a wider white strip to encompass the light switch). I plan to do 8" stripes on the main wall.

I'm becoming a master taper, that's for sure! Here are some sneak-peek pictures...I'm thinking this might take me another week or two to finish up don't hold your breath :)

Taping for the white stripes


I didn't show the gray stripe taping, but you get the point. Here's the final product...yeah gotta touch up the darker gray paint on my fingers and then fell into the wall :)...also need to touch up the corner...that will come at the very end.
(Disclaimer: yes, the calendar you see is a Year of in the car, and no, I do not like the year for February. ::shudder::)