Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Hard Way

I am so excited! Julie is one of my best friends in the whole world, and her very first book was released yesterday!!!!

The Hard Way by Julie Luongo, available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders and other fine retailers.

Julie and I went to grad school together and I've seen this work in many, many variations, drafts, outlines, etc., and it just kept getting better and better. I am so unbelievably proud of her and I know it's going to be a huge success. I was thrilled to open my package from Amazon yesterday and see the finished product in my hands, and I got an email a little while ago from another friend who ran across it in a B&N in New York. Very exciting stuff, I tell you.

This is also my 100th post, so in honor of that as well as my friend and her fabulous book, I will give away a copy autographed by the author herself to a randomly selected commenter on this post. I'll leave it open until Monday, June 2, to give everyone a chance to get in on it.
Friday, May 16, 2008

Friday Feasts #190 & #191

From Friday's Feast: A Buffet for your Brain

Feast One Hundred & Ninety One

Appetizer: What is the nearest big city to your home?
I'm in a good spot here on the east coast - within an hour of Philadelphia and within 2 of Washington, DC, and New York City

Soup: On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how well do you keep secrets?
With my DH, 0 to -5. I rarely keep anything from him. In general, however, I am about an 8 or a 9. If someone asks me to keep a confidence, I do.

Salad: Describe your hair (color, texture, length).
Gillian Anderson was my "hair idol" in the 90s. My cut and color was very similar to her. The color remains some shade of red, but I've been getting it cut shorter ala Mariska Hargitay's new do for this season. My stylist tells me this is an ideal cut for someone with baby fine hair such as mine.

Main Course: What kind of driver are you? Courteous? Aggressive? Slow?
I am a fast, aggressive driver, though I have slowed down over the last few years. I'm not aggressive just to be mean - it's just that I hate driving and like to get where I am going as quickly as possible. I'm fine as long as people stay out of my way. I will add, however, that I always take road conditions into consideration and never drive too fast for the conditions or the area. Also, whenever possible, I will move over into the next lane to allow someone to get onto the highway, something my driving instructor in HS instilled into each and every one of us.

Dessert: When was the last time you had a really bad week?
An entire bad week? Probably a year and a half ago. I get the random bad day here and there, but really no long stretches of bad days in recent memory.


Feast One Hundred & Ninety

Appetizer: When someone smiles at you, do you smile back?
Usually, yes I do.

Soup: Describe the flooring in your home. Do you have carpet, hardwood, vinyl, a mix?
In our current house, it's tile in the front entry, carpet through most of the rest of the house except for the bathrooms and kitchen where there's craptastic vinyl flooring. In our NEW house, it's tile in the entry, carpet in the LR, DR, hallway and bedrooms, tile in the bathrooms and kitchen, and hardwood in the family room. At some point, the DR will be getting hardwood as well.

Salad: Write a sentence with only 5 words, but all of the words have to start with the first letter of your first name.
Jennifer jumps joyfully.

Main Course: Do you know anyone whose life has been touched by adoption?
More than the average person, I think. My husband and his two first cousins are all adopted. I also used to baby sit for a couple who adopted their son after many years of trying (unsuccessfully) to get pregnant. Soon after they adopted him, they found themselves pregnant with his sister, and another one followed shortly after.

Dessert: Name 2 blue things.
My beloved dark blue Dallas Cowboys Troy Aikman jersey and my nearly as beloved Tiffany Blue Boxes.
Thursday, May 8, 2008

Tea Drinker's Tip

I drink a lot of tea, and I suspect quite a few of my fellow stitchers are tea drinkers as well. I usually drink my tea hot with a touch of honey and milk, and since I drink so much tea, I buy honey in bulk at the local warehouse store in a large plastic bottle. Sometimes I get lucky and can use the whole thing before it starts crystallizing, but sometimes, it starts crystallizing by the time I am halfway through the bottle, and it's hard to use.

However, I found a great tip to cure that - microwaving. Put some honey in a small glass jar and microwave on high until it melts, stirring occasionally (every 15-20 seconds). You need to be SUPER careful when you do this and you cannot leave the honey unattended. Honey in the microwave gets very hot, very fast. Be very careful when you do this! I tried it the other day, putting thick, crystallized honey into the jar. It melted down nicely, and more importantly, has STAYED melted. I was afraid it would go back to its crystallized state once it cooled, but it hasn't so far. So if you have problems with crystallized honey, give it a try!
Monday, May 5, 2008

Vera Bradley on Sale

I know how much my fellow stitchers love their Vera Bradley stuff, and I just ran across a sale on that you might be interested in. They have a few discontinued colors - I picked up a couple things in Nantucket Navy, but there are limited quantities of other discontinued colors and styles as well. Definitely worth checking out - the prices are GOOD!

Also, if you shop through, you can get an extra 6% cash back on your purchase. I've been using ebates pretty much since they started about 8 years ago, so I know they are VERY reputable and you don't have to worry about signing up with them. They have a ton of stores, and while the percentages don't seem like a lot, they do add up, and even 2-3% is better than 0%, right? And the nice thing about shopping through them is that you can also use coupon codes in addition to your cashback discount.

If you click through this link, you get $5 and I get $5 for referring you.

IMPORTANT TO NOTE: You DO NOT need to download the MoeMoneymaker toolbar. All it does is check where you are and remind you to shop through ebates if they have a discount. I always check ebates before I start shopping, so I do not use the toolbar. IMO, I don't particularly care for this kind of software anyway as I find it intrusive and cumbersome.
Friday, May 2, 2008

Finally, some stitching related content

But no pictures!!

Actually, I've been absent from blogging as much because we were deep in the midst of a house hunt, which, fingers crossed, has been successful. We had our offer accepted on a house and are now working on removing our contingencies, namely acquiring a mortgage, getting a home inspection and a radon test. We're hoping they all go smoothly and we can be in our new house sometime in June. This is our new house:

It's 4 BR, 2.5 bathrooms with central air, a 2 car garage, and a basement. The yard is smaller than we originally wanted, and it's in a development, but I think it's going to be a great house. It's been on the market almost a year, and was priced well above other houses for sale. Finally, the owners relented and came down in price, something our real estate agent was really surprised about. But I really did my research - I was well versed in every house for sale in 2 counties and part of a third, and I knew the offer we made was low but fair. I'm just really glad they accepted it!
And now for the stitching related content...
I finished up most of the stitching on the small version of Acorns and Threads, and decided I didn't want to do the title or the alphabet in the top portion, so I'm currently working out what to change it to. I was thinking about making it a Welcome sign for the front hallway. I originally thought to put in Willkommen (my DH is German), but it doesn't quite fit in the font I'm using and I've already stitched in the border, so I'm not tearing all of that out. I might just look for a different font, or I could stitch the larger version and use the Willkommen for that instead. We'll see.
I've also started a new freebie by Pelin Tezer, called Moire. I'm doing mine in shades of teal green and will finish it as a biscornu. It's a very relaxing pattern to stitch and I think it will be beautiful when it's done.
So that's what I've been up to. I hope everyone is doing well, and now I am going to catch up a little more on my sadly neglected Google Reader!

Friday Feast #188 & #189

Friday Feast #188

Appetizer: Name something you would categorize as weird.
This was hard to answer because I try to be openminded and tactful. Even if I don't agree with something or think it might be weird, I don't usually like to say so publically because I don't see the point in unnecessarily hurting other people's feelings. To each, their own.

Having said that, I will say that some of my eating habits are weird. For instance, I usually don't eat the bottom bun on a burger, usually because it is too soggy. Also, I usually eat what I like the most last, meaning I eat all the vegetables on my plate first. I've come to discover, however, that this is not as uncommon or weird as I might have thought at first.

Soup: What color was the last piece of food you ate?
Brown and white - I ate some parmesean breaded chicken breast

Salad: On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how much do you enjoy being alone?
Most of the time, about a 9 to a 9.5. I'm an introvert and being around lots of people, especially ones I don't know well, exhausts me. Once in a while though, I get a wild hair and crave social interaction. It's not often, and the craving does not last long. Most of the time, I am very content to be by myself or with my husband and / or a few close friends

Main Course: Fill in the blank: I will _________ vote for ___________ in _______.
I will definitely NOT vote for Hilary in 2008

Dessert: Describe your sleeping habits.
I prefer to go to bed very late (like 2-3 am) and wake up later (9-10 am) . That seems to be my natural cycle. I do not usually nap, but I do have a weird habit of falling asleep in the passenger seat of a car, sometimes even on short trips.


Friday Feast # 189

Appetizer: What was your favorite cartoon when you were a child?
In the late 70s, early 80s, Saturday morning cartoons were the BEST. I loved Superfriends, the Laff-O-Lympics, the Smurfs, He Man and the Masters of the Universe, etc. I was also a big Jem fan and I loved Pirates of Dark Water.

Soup: Pretend you are about to get a new pet. Which animal would you pick, and what would you name it?
I've always grown up with larger dogs like labs, so I love them, but my DH has always had schnauzers. Since we have a pretty anti-social cat, we'll probably start with a schnauzer, which should be less overwhelming for the cat. By family tradition, his (or her) name will be Fritzy. Once I get my labs though, I'm going to name them Dallas and Cowboy.

Salad: On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how much do you enjoy getting all dressed up for a special occasion?
If I have an outfit I like, I LOVE getting dressed up for a special occasion. It's finding an outfit that's the problem!

Main Course: What kind of music do you listen to while you drive?
It depends. I like a variety of classic rock with a pretty even tempo. I've noticed the faster the music, the faster I tend to drive, and I already drive pretty fast, so this is not necessarily a good thing. LOL I have a great iPod playlist that randomizes a selection of songs from sub-playlists, so I always have a new, randomly selected playlist to listen to whenever I get in the car.

Dessert: When was the last time you bought a clock? And in which room did you put it?
I can't even remember when I bought a clock, but it might have been the one that's in our bathroom. I like having a clock in the bathroom - it keeps me on track in the mornings. The last time piece I bought was a new wristwatch, about 4 months ago.