Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Desperate Kitty

I came home to find this very sorry looking carton of whipping cream in the middle of the living room floor.  RJ must have pulled it out of the recycling bin in the corner.  I thought I had it really well hidden among the paper, but wow.  Just wow.  I'm glad that it was empty.  I can't imagine any leftovers in there tasting any good though, but I guess desperate times call for desperate measures. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Book Progress

Another telework day, yay!

Since my last post on books, I finished Robyn Carr's Thunder Point Book 3 and 4, and am currently working on Book 5.  I liked Book 4 the most from the ones that I've read.  Books 3 and 5 (so far) were really boring.  I've been skimming a lot of Book 5, so I'm probably going to move onto something else after this.

Monday, January 26, 2015

(Almost) Faceplant

We had a little bit of snow last night, enough that OPM offered optional telework.  Not have to get out of my jammies, yes please!

After I closed up my work computer for the day, I was on my way upstairs and RJ ran right in front of me and I tripped over him.  I almost faceplanted onto the stone by the front door.  I banged my left knee and if it weren't for my boobies and hoodie, I would probably be in worse shape.  RJ got all puffy under the table and glared at me.  I glared back when I managed to sit up.  I'm probably going to have a sore knee for a few days.

I think all was forgiven because he came to take a nap with me afterwards.

If only all fights could be solved so quickly...

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Bookworm Mode

I got in a 1-hour spin class this morning and then I went to visit my cousin since she's leaving to go back to Taiwan (but will be back in mid-February to celebrate the lunar new year with us).  I delivered the cookies that I promised and then went two doors down to my parents' house.  Then off to Safeway to get some snacks (Oreos, hummus, and Wheat Thins).

The rest of the day was reading, reading, reading. I found another series via my library's e-book selection, Robyn Carr's Thunder Point.  I made it through Book 1 and Book 2 already and am currently working on Book 3 (which is kinda meh so far compared to the first 2 books).  I am wishing for a snow day tomorrow, but I would settle for an optional telework day.  The Northeast is supposed to get pounded the next few days and I would prefer to be teleworking than shoveling lots and lots of snow.

While I was reading, I had another round of the creamy chicken crockpot dish going. This is the third time I've made it this month, so I'm ready to try something different next weekend.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

900th Sale

My iPhone went off right before I was falling asleep last night and it was my 900th Etsy sale.  Onward to #1000.  That's going to be a great milestone to reach.

Not much happened today.  Some grocery shopping and baking oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for my cousin (I offered her a trade: cookies for some treats from Taiwan.  I'll have to deliver my half of the bargain tomorrow since she is leaving for Taiwan on Monday).  I watched 2 movies on TV today.  The Other Woman, which was entertaining and 300: Rise of an Empire, which was meh. It was a little weird seeing Eva Green in that crazy battle-hungry role and it's quite a departure from her role in Casino Royale. When I finished the second movie, I came upstairs to find RJ taking up residence on my pillow.  :P 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Welcome to 2015, Mom

Hooray, this is the end of my 3 day work week.  I decided to take tomorrow off since there isn't anything really urgent that needs to happen tomorrow.  I went to Happy Hour with my former co-worker Surili.  She told me that she heard that one of the people that was supposed to start at my office decided to take another offer, and let us know the day before her start date.  o_0 I thought this was funny that she heard this news before I did and she doesn't even work with me anymore, and it's crazy that this person would give such short notice.  But, hey, I guess it's a competitive world out there.  I don't blame her for taking what she thinks is a better offer.

My cousin, who is visiting from Taiwan, gave my mom her old iPhone 4.  My family in Taiwan really likes to use the app Line and this was Mom's opportunity to get with the program.  My cousin set everything up with a family buddy list and gave her a lesson in texting family members. OMG, stuff had to be repeated so many times. Shouldn't it be intuitive?  I need to remember that my mom is not very tech-savvy.  I don't think she's ever Googled anything or sent an email.  She watches Asian programs on the computer via the Internet, but it has to be set up just right so all she has to do is click on an icon. Blah. -_-  We'll see how this goes.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

RJ's Photo Shoot

The forecast called for some snow today, and OPM was allowing unscheduled leave or telework.  I almost took advantage of it, but decided against it because a) it wasn't snowing when it was time to leave the house and b) my boss was in town. It did snow in the afternoon, but it didn't impact the ride home.

I get an email from one of the HR ladies this morning, saying that they were going to go with another card vendor for employee appreciation week (even though I had made them the previous 2 years) and the reason was because of cost.

o_0   Oook, mmhm. 

My cards are already discounted from what I sell on Etsy and I've delivered a good product every time they've placed an order.  A part of me wanted to ask why they didn't want to negotiate, but then again, I don't wouldn't want to go too low because then it wouldn't be worth my time and energy.  I'm very curious to see what cards (if we get cards) we get this year.  I'm even more interested to see if anyone says something about how the cards this year look different from ones that we've gotten in the past.

As Taylor Swift would say: shake it off, shake it off.

Julie's work has a cat related assignment and there was an email sent out to staff requesting cat pictures.  So, last week, Julie was trying to get good pictures of RJ while he was at my parents' house, but he was not very good about sitting still for long periods of time. She got a few good shots, and here are two of my favorites.
Finally, Julie sent me this interesting article about a guy's experiment in wearing makeup for a week. Wow, that takes some guts.  Kudos to him!  "For many, makeup is comfort. Makeup is fitting in, it’s feeling attractive, it’s standing out in ways you choose to stand out."  YES, me and my winged liner agree!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


This morning started off on a weird note.  I said good morning to a co-worker and this person said good morning back and then after a pause, proceeded to say "You have some gray hairs coming in."


Are you serious?  Was that necessary? 

I wasn't sure how to respond, so I went with doing a "shh" gesture.

I texted Meg and Robyn about it, and Robyn joked that I should just dye my hair pink so that I'd have pink hair where the grays are coming in. Thank goodness for friends to lighten the mood...even if it's through text.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Productive Day Off

Let me count the ways:
  1. Went to the ATM, gassed up the car, and went to Costco to buy kitty litter. 42 lbs. for $12.99, plus I had a $2.70 automatic coupon, what a steal!
  2. Walked around the mall to get some Fitbit steps in.  
  3. Did a load of laundry and vacuumed.
  4. Made this creamy chicken crockpot dish again so that I would have stuff for lunch/dinner this week.
  5. Use this solution of dish soap and vinegar to get the soap scum off of my shower door (the recipe called for blue Dawn dish soap, but I had orange Palmolive).  I was really impressed how well and quickly it worked with household items and not harsh chemicals.  I had just finished a cleaner, so I even had a spray bottle to use. 
  6. Went to my parents' house for some spaghetti and meatballs for second dinner.
I saw this notebook at Joann's when I was browsing the store.  I had to laugh because it's totally not accurate in my case.  I sent the picture to my sister and she said "Only when he's sleeping..."

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Catching Up with Friends

I hadn't been to spin class since last Sunday so I made sure to get to the 8:30 and 9:30 classes this morning.  Go me!

I'm glad that I got my exercise in because I met up with Meg and Robyn for dinner and we went out for Mexican. I ordered two chicken enchiladas and they were delicious.  The three of us hadn't seen each other as a group since the beginning of October and with the birth of Robyn's niece and the holidays, we weren't able to get together until now.  There was lots to catch up on!  After dinner, we went back to Robyn's place and exchange Christmas gifts. Robyn got me the Just Dance 2014 game for the Wii and Meg gave me a bag of Swedish fish and a wine glass that has the Washington and Lee trident on it. Meg also gave me a under-the-bed storage unit, but when I got home, I found out that it was too big for under my bed, so I hope to find a new home for it.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Cat's Back

Hooray for restful sleep! When I got home last night from traveling, I was too tired to take a shower so I took a shower washed away all the airplane gunk this morning. I then headed to Safeway to get 2 of those Entenmann's danishes (one cheese and one raspberry) that she likes as a thank you gift for watching RJ this week.  She definitely deserved it after all RJ's antics.

Julie and I got in a 2-mile walk around the neighborhood (approximately 2 miles) to chat and catch up.  The afternoon was pretty much a bust because I washed my flannel sheets and couldn't pass up the opportunity to take a nap in them after they came out of the dryer. :)

Friday, January 16, 2015

Yay, Home!

OMG, so glad to be home. This wasn't even a long trip (only 24 hours!), but whew, all day meeting (plus a 1.5 hour conference call that I had to step away to monitor), sitting in Atlanta traffic on a Friday afternoon, long line at security, the tray in front of me kept coming down on the airplane, and then the long Metro ride home.  Blah...

I'm thankful that my parents didn't mind keeping RJ until tomorrow. Speaking of him, I've gotten reports that he found his way to the top of and behind the refrigerator.  And Mom also found him licking a pan that she cooked food with. In the people world, bad behavior would mean that you would not be invited back, but as Julie said "He's too cute not to be invited back!"  Neither Oliver nor Ginger (family cats that have since passed away) had ever gotten into such mischief. Sorry, Mom.

I also came home to some positive feedback on a book lot that I sold on eBay recently.  It bumped me up to 50 positive ratings, and I moved to the next colored star.  Onward to #100 for the next colored star :)  2 items sold so far in January 2015, and they were things that I already had in my house!  Not a bad start to the year!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Trip to Atlanta

I am currently in Atlanta for a meeting that's happening tomorrow.  To prepare for the trip, I dropped RJ off at my parents' house on Monday night so that he could spend time with them and get acclimated to the house again.  It didn't take long since he was there for an extended stay in October.  Mom called me yesterday at work to let me know that he's been a little rascal.  For example he has started chewing Mom's plants, which was something that happened when he was at their house in October and he also likes to get into the walking closets and crawl into the furthest corner so Mom can't reach him while he's exploring.

My flight to Atlanta was this afternoon so I was able to get some work done this morning.  Myh boss's flight got in 1.5 hours after mine, so I took advantage of the airport's free Wi-Fi and took care of some emails and watched some YouTube videos while I waited.  For dinner we got some takeout for the Chinese food restaurant and I got two orders of steamed dumplings. I was going to get the lo mein but I thought it would be too much food to eat so late at night.  I'm ready to go to bed and have a productive day tomorrow.  Yay for a three-day weekend ahead!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Empties #6

I was able to get rid of one makeup item since my last empties, a sample size of Estee Lauder concealer in light medium.  I took a q-tip to it and tried to scrape off as much from the sides as possible.  Good stuff!

I was also happy to be done with this huge bottle of Listerine White.  I'm not convinced that it did anything to whiten my teeth, and I think that has something to do with how much tea I drink already.  Maybe it just prevented them from getting more stained.

The Estee Lauder Perfectly Clean Splash Away Foaming Cleanser was great, but there was a lot of fragrance in it.  The only thing in this set that I would and did repurchase are the Up & Up makeup wipes, which have come in handy when I've traveled.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Spin, Read, Sell

I mustered the energy to get out of bed this morning to go to the 8:30 AM spin class and then I walked a little over a mile on the treadmill afterwards to get closer to my 10,000 steps for the day.

This afternoon, I battled a virus on my computer, but I think it's resolved now.  I'm leaving that computer alone for the time being, at least until tomorrow, because I know if I find anything wrong with it, I'll be determined to keep fixing it, no matter what time it is.

Another two accomplishments for today were a) a book that I put up on eBay last night got a bid  (The Art of Racing in the Rain) and b) I finished the last book of the Lucky Harbor series by Jill Shalvis.  I'm glad that I got into it at the tail end during the past month so that I could binge read with no problem since the library had them.  I was thankful that there were both hard copies and e-book versions available so I didn't have to wait at all.  I'm glad she's got other stuff coming out this year because finishing the last book today was like watching a series finale.  It's been a while since I've gotten hooked on an author like that. I got Divergent from the library yesterday, so I think that'll be my next read. 

I have another book, several DVDs and a puffer vest listed on eBay at the moment, so I'm hoping that they will all be going to new homes at the end of the week!

This week should be interesting.  There's a freezing rain alert for tonight through early tomorrow morning.  And then I'll be going to Atlanta Thursday and Friday.  Good thing this upcoming weekend will be a 3-day one because I think I'll need it!

RJ will be spending a few days at my parents' house.  I'm sure if he knew, he'd be looking forward to being spoiled by Mom.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Tyson's Corner

I went with my sister Julie this afternoon to Tyson's Corner.  She'd been putting off redeeming some lottery tickets that she got from her secret Santa at work.  Since the mall was nearby, we decided to get some steps in there.  We went to Old Navy, LL Bean, and Sephora, but came out with nothing except the steps. This makeup no-buy I've put myself on hasn't been as hard as I thought it'd be; it's been about a month so far.

Afterwards, I went to the library and the grocery store and then another mall to get some steps in.

When I was at the library, I found Book 9 of the Lucky Harbor series, which was the only one of the 12 books that I hadn't read. I was tempted to read it all tonight, but I need to save some for tomorrow.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Chickpea, Pesto, Tomato, and Mozzarella Salad

When I was doing my makeup inventory on Sunday, I put in a mix CD that I had from a while back.  How way back you ask?  It had Britney Spears's "Lucky" on it and now it's stuck in my head!  I suppose there are worse songs to have stuck in your head.

I sent in one of my public health textbooks to Textbook Rush, and I got $15.25 via PayPal for it yesterday. :)

Recipe #2 of 2015: I saw this chickpea, pesto, tomato and mozzarella salad recipe from Two Peas and their Pod in my Facebook feed this morning.  It looked very delicious (honestly, the cheese was what got my attention, heh), so I took a break from my computer and went to get air in my tires (the low tire pressure indicator has been nagging me the past 2 days because of the cold weather) and some groceries.  After my first conference call of the day, I put it together.  I didn't have any grape tomatoes, so I got by with canned tomatoes.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

New Year's Resolutions 2015

2015 Resolutions to complete by January 1, 2016.  

Lots of these are repeats from my 2014 list.
  1. Reread the Harry Potter series, a total of 7 books.
  2. Read 5 books in addition to goal #1.
  3. Utilize the gym more often other than going to spin class.  I want to see how far I can get in 30 minutes on the treadmill.  I'm currently at 2.41 miles.
  4. Complete 1 road race.  The last one that I did was in 2012.
  5. Limit new make-up, clothing, and craft supplies.  I have enough of all three categories.  I made a separate beauty resolutions list here and I did a makeup inventory (this was quite the eye-opener...).
  6. Do at least 10 volunteer events. 
  7. Try at least 10 new recipes (baked goodies/desserts do not count). 
  8. Get back into my eBay and Etsy groove.  Specifically, reach 1000 Etsy sales.  I'm currently at 897 sales.  I actually got my first eBay sale today: a lot of 11 paperback books for $11.99, yay!
  9. Get more restful sleep.  This means not being on reddit at midnight, not taking so many naps that it prevents me from falling asleep, and not ruminating on bad thoughts or things I can't control.  This will also help me get up on time to go to work, duh.
  10. Comment more on blogs and YouTube videos that I read or watch. I've been mostly a silent observer, but I think it's important to reach out and say "Good job!" or "That (fill in the blank) looks great on you!" or "I really agree with what you said about (fill in the blank)."  This goes with people in real life too.  Compliments cost nothing and can really brighten up a person's day.  Source: me.
  11. Plan/hold at least 5 cousin-only events. As my parents' generation gets older, I think it's really important for us cousins to remain tight.
Oh, and I almost forgot...maybe get another cat?

WHOA. Where did THAT idea come from?!, hm.  Looks like I got my work cut out for me this year.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Snow Day

O hai! Can I have some chicken?
The weather forecast called for a 1 - 3 inches this morning, and I didn't really think it was going to be that big of a deal so I did not bring my computer home from work last night. When I woke up this morning and turned on the radio, I heard that OPM had an unscheduled leave or telework policy for today and several schools were delayed or closed.

The county schools first decided to delay schools and then they decide to close them.  I thought it was kind of weird because the closure happen after the kids, at least the high school kids, were already on the road. Talk about unsafe! I kept tabs on Twitter, Facebook and the local news and the roads were a mess out there.  GoogleMaps was displaying lots of red lines, indicating traffic congestion. 

Even though I did not have my work computer with me, I was able to download Lync onto my personal computer so that I could telework and continue to receive and make calls as necessary.  Email wasn't as much of an issue since I could access it via the Internet and on my phone. I got an email saying that the big boss was ordering pizza for the brave souls that went to the office today.  How generous! :)

In between conference calls and answering emails, I made a batch of this crockpot chicken that I made on Saturday.  I have one serving left from my Saturday batch, which I'll eat for lunch tomorrow.  Yay for planning ahead.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Makeup Inventory and New Card

Makeup Inventory: This is going to sound really gross but my washer was smelling kind of weird last night so I looked up how to clean it on Google and I found out that you can clean it with some vinegar and baking soda. While I was waiting for the machine to cycle, I sat down with my computer, opened up a spreadsheet and made a makeup inventory of my "collection". I didn't really include free gift with purchase items that I got from my mom from Estée Lauder, with the exception of 2 blushes and a concealer. I still have a lot of make up that I really would like to either throw away or use up by the end of 2015.

At some point this week I will also do a nail polish inventory. I think it's good to write these things down to keep me accountable and to know what I have.

New card: Julie asked me to make a card for someone she knows that broke his fibula.  She wanted the card to feature an origami giraffe or alpaca wearing a cast.  I went with an alpaca because cutting out spots for the giraffe would take too long.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

New Haircut

I successfully made it to one hour spin class this morning, yay! Afterwards I went to my parents house to take down the Christmas tree and decorations with my sister. I also emptied ánother half of a box of my old belongings.  Recycling ensured.

When I got home I took a shower and then I went to Hair Cuttery to get my hair cut. I had a coupon in my email that I wanted to use before it expired. It'd been a while since I've been in that mall and I noticed there was a lot of construction going on. I asked the receptionist what new stores were coming and she said Ross and TJ Maxx and Michael's which I was really excited about.

I asked for a trim and my bangs cut because everything had grown out since my last haircut.  I thought the hairdresser seemed very nervous and I felt that the haircut took a long time for something that seemed pretty simple.  When the appointment was over, I realized that I didn't purchase a full blow dry and so I didn't see the full effect of the cut until I ran my hair straightener through it when I got home.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Decluttering (Again)

I've gone through several rounds of decluttering since moving to my townhome and somehow I can still find things that I want to throw away, donate or recycle.  It's nuts!

This is how I spent my Friday night yesterday.

Step 1: Tackle a box from parents' house. A few days ago I went to my parents' house and I retrieved 1 of the 3 remaining boxes of my old things. Inside there were some old books, 2 graduation caps, a photo album and some old timesheets from previous jobs.  This part entailed a lot of shredding.

Step 2: Tackle textbooks. I tried to find some books that I could resell, specifically my public health textbooks. I already recycled my old chemistry books.  Unfortunately, I only found one that was worth anything, and and I will get $15.25 for selling it back. I wish I had thought of this sooner because the versions that I have are not worth anything anymore.

Step 3: Tackle VHS tapes. I also sent off a box of approximately 28 VHS tapes to GreenDisk for recycling.  Yes, I had to pay for them for this service, but I would much rather do that and know that they are not in a landfill somewhere.

Step 4: Tackle personal library.  A coworker said to me last week that she doesn't own many DVDs anymore because she streams her movies. That thought came to mind when I was looking at my bookshelf. I have so many that I don't read anymore, and they take up space.  I figured that I could donate them and if I felt like reading them again, I could borrow a physical or e-book copy from the library.  For books that are from the same series/author, I hope to put in lots so that I can sell them on eBay.  With that said, I took a bag of about 10-15 books to the library to donate. 

For what it's worth, I know that one series that I will NOT be getting rid of is Harry Potter...too much sentimental value here.

So this morning was very productive with going to the post office to mail off the textbooks and the VHS tapes and then the library to donate a bunch of books.  I also did some grocery shopping, which was really good timing because I knew this afternoon would be rainy and gross, so it'd be a perfect opportunity to throw things in the crockpot and have some comfort food ready for dinner and for the next few days. While I waited for things to cook in the crockpot, I watched a ton of YouTube via my Chromecast (mainly Project Pan and Project Use It Up challenge videos.  The one lady (Amber F.) actually finished the entire Naked palette.  Every single eyeshadow. I was really impressed!) and used my spin bike.  I used this Real Simple Magazine Slow-Cooker Creamy Chicken with Biscuits recipe (Recipe #1 of 2015). I added potatoes and didn't include biscuits (it's like the inside of a chicken pot pie).  The next time I make this, I'll include mushrooms.  

Friday, January 2, 2015

2015 Beauty Resolutions

Spinning: 1-hour spin class, check!  There was a guy that rode the noisy bike despite several of us telling him that it would do that.  The clanking noise got so loud that the music couldn't drown it out. The lady next to him actually got up and left. One of the spinners told the guy on the clanking bike to move to her bike since she left.  Problem solved and everyone had a less distracting class. :)

2015 Beauty Resolutions: I wanted to make a set of beauty related resolutions for 2015, separate from life ones. These were also easier to come up with, so that's another reason why I'm posting them first.
  • The theme for this year is to make a conscious effort to use stuff up and then I can allow myself to buy new stuff.  I've even written down a list of items that I want to be done with by 2016.  This should be pretty easy because I've made a significant dent in all of these already.  I can't wait to be able to put them in my empties box.
    • Revlon Lip Butter in Pink Truffle
    • Revlon Just Kissable Balm Stain in Honey
    • Revlon Nearly Naked foundation in Shell 
    • Jordana Twist and Shine Moisurising Balm Stain in Honey Love
    • Estee Lauder concealer in light medium
    • Estee Lauder blush in True Sand
    • 2 Covergirl liquiline eyeliners in black
    • 1 Jordana Made to Last eyeliner in Black Point
    • Urban Decay Primer Potion eyeshadow primer
    • 1 tube of Carmex
    • 4 body sprays
    • 1 facial mask
    • 1 brush cleaner
    • Not pictured because they are at my desk at the office: Revlon Lip Butter in Sugar Plum and EOS lip balm in Lemon Drop.
  • No more new nail polish purchases.  Have you seen my collection?  I have enough.  Really.  I do.  I will make an exception for top coat because that's not really a colored nail polish.
  • Limit myself to 6 new makeup purchases in 2015, like lipsticks and eyeshadows (roughly 1 new thing every other month).  Necessities like lotion, moisturizers, foundations, concealers, a black eyeliner (after the ones listed above are done), a tube of mascara (after all my backups are done), hair dye, shampoo, conditioner, etc. will not count.  If I can stick to this resolution, I'm going to be ecstatic!  Eek!
  • Make an effort to use conditioner in my hair.  Wow, it really makes a difference!  Duh.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Mischief Managed

Happy New Year! 

I started the day off on the right note by making it to a 1-hour spin class this morning. The girl that had the bike behind me was totally singing along to the songs, which I found amusing.  Shake it off, shake it off!

Truth be told, I lipsynced my way though class.

Afterwards, I went to Bed, Bath, and Beyond to return a gift that I didn't end up giving away. On a whim, I went over to the home section because I had been thinking about getting a slip cover for the loveseat. RJ has sometimes used the edges of the armrests as a scratching post (even though he knows how to use the actual scratching thing that's next to the TV!) and the right side has frayed so badly that the foam is coming out slightly (?!). I had thought about upgrading my furniture since I purchased the sofa and loveseat from the house's previous owners, but OMG, I looked up furniture online and it's not cheap.  Not that I would want cheap furniture.  It would not be fiscally responsible to get something cheap and then have it fall apart in a year or so.  Wow, quite the reality check. Mom suggested that I get a slipcover since it'd be a cheaper alternative and I can wash it if necessary and if RJ ruins this one, it's not as big of a financial investment as new furniture is.

Anyway, I found one in chocolate...and it was on clearance and I had a coupon! #bestdayever Original price: $59.99, clearance price: $35.99 and then I had a 20% coupon. Yay!  I'm not in a rush to cover the sofa because it hasn't been a victim of RJ's mischief, but if the right one at the right price comes along, then I'll reconsider.
Another good thing that happened today was that I got a 2-card Etsy sale. Etsy sales 2 days in a row...double yay!