Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Cleaning out my makeup

When we started the bathroom renovation, we went through all of the cabinets in the bathroom and I ended up dumping some stuff on (and around) my makeup table, which was already in desperate need of an overhaul.  There were a number of things that I didn't wear anymore, and didn't see myself wearing in the future.  I also had samples pretty much everywhere.
Stuff from the bathroom

This doesn't look bad, but I was struggling to find stuff in the holder on the right

Samples and my new packet of wipes (I use them on my fingers)

A very messy drawer

Oh my word do I have a lot of mascaras and they were everywhere

This weekend I went through everything, got rid of a lot of things, and reorganized everything else.  Now I can easily find things, and I even have all of my samples grouped together by type.  I did discover that I have a lot of mascaras.  One of these days, I should do a comparison.  I just have to remember to take pictures of me wearing the different ones.

This is the finished product.

Most things are out of the drawer, and it pretty much now just holds some combs, my wipes, the towel that I lay on the table as I'm getting ready and the makeup bag that I take to work.  The hair products that I'm not currently using are tucked behind the mirror and all of the nail polish removers are together.  I even managed to fit all of the mascara in a drawer.

So, am I the only one that collects mascara?  What's your favorite?  How do you organize your makeup?

Monday, January 29, 2018

Bathroom Renovation

There is nothing as exciting or as terrifying as embarking on a major home renovation.  Last week, we embarked on a bathroom renovation and the planning stages of a kitchen renovation.

We live in a 1950s ranch, it's not huge, we have three bedrooms and one bathroom on the main level, and we have a 3/4 bath in the finished basement (it has a shower stall, no tub).  Needless to say, having the bathroom torn apart has caused major disruptions.  However, it was a project that definitely needed to be done.

Here are some before pictures

It's a very small bathroom

A very old, very worn, tub and tub surround

I was so glad to see the orange tile go

At the end of day one, everything was torn out, we discovered the original linoleum, and the new tub was in the bathroom, though standing up right.
Everything is torn out 
Original linoleum

The new tub

It's still going to be at least another week and a half, to two weeks until everything is finished, and I can't wait.

Monday, January 22, 2018

What I'm Eating Lately: Beef Stew

Happy Monday!  Today is the day that we finally get the remodel started on our house.  Te contractor should be here soon to demo the bathroom and we're meeting with the designer at 1 to begin work on the kitchen.  Since we have no clue what the next 2 to 3 weeks is going to bring, and just how dirty our house is going to get, I wanted to have a warm, comforting meal yesterday for dinner.

I love beef stew - when it's made sans tomatoes.  I especially hate beef stew that is made with vegetable juice cocktail, and it hates me back :)  So we created a recipe that was easy, and had no tomatoes.  I also don't like overly fatty stew, so we make sure to use a lean cut of meat.  Yesterday we used some sort of round, it was marked as lean stew meat, and we could easily see that there wasn't much fat on it.

First we tossed the beef cubes in some seasoned flour and browned them in a bit of olive oil.  Towards the end, we added in some chunks of sweet onion.

Once everything was nice and browned we added the broth and the seasonings, brought everything to a boil and then turned down the heat to a simmer, covered it, and let it simmer for an hour.  Now, I have to mention our secret ingredient to the stew.  To give the stew a bit more depth of flavor, we added cumin to it.  It didn't give it heat, just a smoky, earthiness, that we really like.

Once the hour was up we added the carrots and potatoes and then a slurry of cornstarch and water.  We actually ended up doing that twice, I think because our meat to broth ratio was a bit high on the broth side.  After it came back up to a boil, we turned down the heat and simmered it, uncovered for 30 minutes.

Beef Stew
1 pound lean stew meat
2 tablespoon flour seasoned with salt and pepper
1 medium sweet onion, chunked
2 teaspoons minced garlic (I'm lazy and buy the pre-minced kind)
4 cups low sodium beef broth
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 pound of carrots chunked
6 small to medium red potatoes cut in half

Monday, January 15, 2018

What I'm Eating Lately: No Time To Cook

Most weekends I cook up a recipe of some sort to bring as my lunch for the upcoming week.  It helps to ensure that, one, I'm not buying lunch every day, and two, that I'm eating something healthful.  Unfortunately, some weekends, I'm just too busy to spend much time in the kitchen.  The first weekend of January was one of those.  Sometimes when that happens, I'll just buy enough cans of soup to last me the week (I've been reaching for the Progresso Light Soup a lot lately), but that weekend, I really wanted to cook.

Organic Sprouted Thai Red Curry Rice

On a trip to Whole Foods a while back, I had picked up this rice side dish, and then never made it.  It turned out to be the perfect thing to cook up for lunch for the week.  Even though it simmered for something like 30 minutes, it wasn't something that I had to watch, so once it started simmering, I was able to start on my next project, which was undecorating from Christmas.

Once it was cooked, I divided it up into four bowls and topped with some frozen veggies that I had cooked up.  It turned out to be quite a nice, quick lunch.  The only issue, was that I really didn't have a good protein to top it with.  If  do this again, I will add either mushrooms, or shred some chicken to have with it.

I also forgot to take a picture of the finished dish - sorry.

So what is your go to quick lunch to pack?

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The #MeToo Movement

This past weekend was the Golden Globes where a lot of emphasis was on the issue of sexual harassment.  The women wore black and the men were sporting pins that said “Time’s Up” all in support of those that had faced sexual harassment.

I fully support the #metoo movement and all that is happening as a result.  My concern, however, is that while there may be some changes now, we’ll soon go back to where we were before.  Actually, let me be blunt, I honestly don’t think that anything is really going to change.  You see, we’re still sending the wrong message to our sons and daughters.


We are still teaching our girls that they are a distraction.  Every time a girl is told that she isn’t covered “enough” we are teaching her that she should feel ashamed of her body and that her very presence is only because some teacher or administrator, whom I’m guessing is male, deems her acceptable.

We are still teaching our boys that they don’t need to control their thoughts or their actions, that if they act inappropriately it’s “her” fault.  We teach them that it is the girls’ responsibility to not do anything to distract them or tempt them.


As long as that is what we’re teaching, the cycle will continue.  We’ll continue to send mixed messages that girls can do anything that boys can do, that girls can be anything that boys can be, but then in the next breath, we tell them that they are a distraction.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Book Review: A Bridge Across the Ocean

The January book for the book club that I belong to is A Bridge Across the Ocean by Susan Meissner. 

From the publisher's website:
Wartime intrigue spans the lives of three women—past and present—in the latest novel from the acclaimed author of Secrets of a Charmed Life. February, 1946. World War Two is over, but the recovery from the most intimate of its horrors has only just begun for Annaliese Lange, a German ballerina desperate to escape her past, and Simone Deveraux, the wronged daughter of a French RĂ©sistance spy. Now the two women are joining hundreds of other European war brides aboard the renowned RMS Queen Mary to cross the Atlantic and be reunited with their American husbands. Their new lives in the United States brightly beckon until their tightly-held secrets are laid bare in their shared stateroom. When the voyage ends at New York Harbor, only one of them will disembark… Present day. Facing a crossroads in her own life, Brette Caslake visits the famously haunted Queen Mary at the request of an old friend. What she finds will set her on a course to solve a seventy-year-old tragedy that will draw her into the heartaches and triumphs of the courageous war brides—and will ultimately lead her to reconsider what she has to sacrifice to achieve her own deepest longings.

I finished it this past weekend and let me tell you this was one of the most captivating, draw you in books that I have read in a long time.  Both poignant and hopeful, this book drew me in and made it difficult to put down so that I could go back to work. 

There is an additional character that you are introduced to at the very beginning, but who isn't mentioned in the synopsis above.  That was the character that really intrigued me, and whose identity is kept a secret until the very end.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

2018 Goals

The view out of my office window today
I don't really do New Year's Resolutions.  I guess that to me they have too much drama associated with them.  But this year I wanted to set some goals for myself.  Things that I would like to accomplish or improve this year, but without the all or nothing approach.

Growing up I was always a voracious reader, but as I got older I found myself putting reading on a back-burner.  This year, besides reading the book for my monthly book club, I want to complete the 2018 Reading Challenge over at Modern Mrs. Darcy.  Finding time to read is going to take some creativity, but I've already figured out a way to carve out about 30 minutes each weekday.  I read while I get a power walk in.

I have a tendency to multi-task, but I'm learning that I'm more efficient and effective when I don't.  So this year I want to try and focus on one task at a time, instead of 2 or 3, plus emails as they pop up.  I'm trying time blocking and I bought a time cube from Amazon, which I am not so patiently waiting to arrive.  I ordered it in purple so it would also be pretty as it sits on my desk.  So far, the time blocking is working okay, though granted I'm only two days into it.

I started dabbling a bit in genealogy last year, but I got massively side-tracked last year and haven't really done anything with it.  I need to figure out a good time to set aside each week to work on it. 

I've been very happy with the workouts that I've been doing from Fitness Blender, but I also want to do more yoga to help with flexibility.  My hips still give me some issues since the chemo, and I'm hoping that this will help.

Writing and Blogging
As I mentioned in my last post, I really want to get back in to writing and blogging.  I think that I need to start just carrying a small notebook with me at all times so that I can jot down ideas as they come to me. 

So those are my goals for 2018.  What are some of yours?