Tuesday, December 27, 2011

And the winner is...


Congrats! I'm so excited to tell you that you have won the Shabby Apple dress. I have passed on your contact information to Shabby Apple and you should hear from them soon. Thanks for playing, everyone! Hopefully there will be more giveaways in the future.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Last Minute Reminder for the Shabby Apple Giveaway!

Hey guys, don't forget to enter the giveaway for the Shabby Apple dress! It closes tomorrow at 11:59 PM!

Here's the link in case you missed it!

And here is a really dorky picture of me wearing the dress. I look very awkward because I'm trying to hold my sweater behind my back so it doesn't cover up all the detail.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Last Minute Holiday Round-Up

Here is a roundup of some great holiday tips and freebies I've found recently (and over the years):

Holiday Hair tutorials - simple, classy 'dos you can do yourself

Super cute printable gift tags - just print and cut out at home

More awesome free printable gift tags

Handmade gift ideas from Martha Stewart

Make your own jam

DIY Christmas Decor

Make your own wreaths - these would make great gifts!

Campfire Chic's round-up of holiday posts

Wine Etiquette - who knew?

Proof of Santa for you parents out there

Make bows out of magazines and plastic grocery bags (these are really attractive, despite how they sound)

How to use leftover wrapping paper

DIY gift bags - make your own or dress up inexpensive alternatives

And a few tips of my own:
  • Use your leftover holiday cards from previous years for gifts like money and gift cards. If it has been a few years, I'm pretty sure the recipient will have forgotten what your Christmas card looked like.
  • Use old holiday cards received from others as gift tags, labels, and wrapping decor.
  • Use yarn instead of ribbon. It's much less expensive. This is especially cool if you make pom-poms as well (see picture above)
  • Re-use gift bags - I keep the tags on them so I don't end up giving it right back to the same person. 
  • Keep crumpled up tissue paper to use as gift padding
  • For inexpensive wrapping items, visit Paper Mart
  • Kraft paper can be dressed up really nicely with paper doilies, tags, and twine. So much cheaper and more environmental than wrapping paper

Monday, December 19, 2011

Shabby Apple Dress Giveaway!

Hey guys, it's time for a great giveaway! I am so excited that Shabby Apple, an amazing online store that has great women's dresses, kids dresses, and accessories, has given me a free dress to give to a lucky reader. 

The dress I chose is the Mariposa Grove, a really pretty green number with this cool petal detail along the neckline. It is a universally flattering cut, and it is a deeper green than it appears in these pictures (not quite emerald, but a bit darker than pictured). It would be great for the holidays, but it would also work for any season. I love this dress so much that I own it myself. How is that for an endorsement? 

There are five ways to enter, but every one of them requires you to come back and leave a comment. Don't forget! This contest is open to U.S. residents only. 

1) Leave a comment here on this post telling me where you would wear this dress. Don't forget to include your email address.

2) Subscribe to this blog using Google Friend Connect (in the left column). Leave a separate comment saying that you have subscribed. If you are already a subscriber, you can comment saying that. 

3) Tweet or blog about the giveaway and then leave a separate comment here linking to your entry or tweet. Here is a sample tweet that you can just copy and paste:

I just entered to win a Shabby Apple Dress from @jendeats! Enter the giveaway here:  http://bit.ly/rZACSn

4) "Like" Nerdified Shirts on facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nerdified-Shirts/115898075180408 and come back and leave a separate comment about it. 

5) "Like" Shabby Apple on facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Shabby-Apple/56291792791 and then come back here and leave a separate comment saying that you have liked them. 

This contest will close on December 27th at 11:59pm so you guys have some time before and after Christmas to enter. 

Disclaimer: This dress has been provided by Shabby Apple, and I am not being compensated for this review. All opinions are mine!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Movie Marathon

Favorite Christmas movies....Go!

Here are mine, the ones I've seen a million times and are never tiring. I included movies I love where pivotal scenes take place at Christmas time.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (original cartoon)
The Nightmare before Christmas (I watch this at Halloween and Christmas)
Edward Scissorhands
Mickey's Christmas Carol (my favorite incarnation of the story, since I love Scrooge McDuck so much)
Love, Actually
Miracle on 34th Street (the original)
While You Were Sleeping
Sleepless in Seattle
John Denver and the Muppets Christmas Specials
Home Alone

Runners up. These are the ones that Mike's family grew up watching, but I had never watched regularly until we started dating:

National Lampoons Christmas Vacation
The Muppet Christmas Carol

Now, please list all of yours so I can go "Oh man, I totally left that one off!"

P.S. I've never seen A Christmas Story. Every year I think: This is the year! Hopefully, this will be the actual year.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Video Interlude

Hey all! Still unpacking and doing all the final projects and papers for school (it's the last week). I had to come back to the interwebs for a few minutes to share two videos with you.

First off, we have a very enthusiastic porcupine eating a pumpkin.

And we have one of the greatest "cooking shows" of all time, My Drunk Kitchen. Watch all the episodes. Seriously. She's hilarious and uses editing quite skillfully.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Moving Update and a Book Recommendation

Oh man, it has been a busy week. We are totally moved into our new house now, with boxes everywhere. After all the hauling, cleaning, packing, paperwork, and standing in line at comcast for an hour just have them screw up our internet stuff twice, I basically collapsed for an entire day yesterday. It did help that it was peacefully snowing outside and that we now live half a mile from downtown, so I got to order two meals without leaving the house! This is a big deal for us, considering the last place we lived only had pizza and Chinese food delivery, and it was the first place we have lived that had the latter.

The problem with moving only a couple of miles is that you underestimate all the stuff you have to do. We had both houses for a week and a half, so we could take our time moving things over. We rented a small U-haul for one day and brought most of our boxes over in that. We hired movers for the furniture, which was great, but we still ended up having to make several trips between the houses with just our cars. It was brutal, and we were seriously wiped out by the end. The last two days, I had a maid service come in to clean the upstairs and then the carpet cleaners came. During this time, I finished up the downstairs packing and cleaning. I was so sleep-deprived by this point that I brought a sleeping bag and pillow to catch a nap between meetings. 

Moving on from all my complaints (pun not intended), I just have to say that the only thing that kept me sane during this whole ordeal was getting to listen to the audiobook of Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline, read by Wil Wheaton. I recommend it to anyone who has ever done anything geeky, or anyone who just likes a good quest story. Wil Wheaton's narration is just wonderful, it totally pushes a 4-star book into 5-star territory.

It is set in a future in which mankind is suffering from several crises, and to escape from its problems, people regularly plug into a virtual world called the Oasis. It's kind of like World of Warcraft meets Second Life, but infinitely more awesome than both put together. The eccentric designer of the Oasis dies and leaves his entire fortune and his company to anyone who can figure out his riddle and complete a massive quest within the virtual world.

The thing that really tips the book into the awesome category is that this designer is obsessed with the 80s, during which he was a teenager. There are tons of references to this era and to science fiction and fantasy of every generation. Don't worry, even if you weren't a teenager in the 80s (I wasn't), you will enjoy the references. For example, the protagonist eventually acquires a (virtual) firefly-class starship named the Vonnegut to travel between (virtual) planets. For everyday driving/flying, he brings his Delorean with flux capacitor and, interestingly enough, Ghostbuster emblems on the doors. If any of that sounds appealing to you, you should read this book.

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Plethora of Snow Whites

Seriously, people, what's with all the Snow Whites? It's like the whole Armageddon/Deep Impact phenomenon. Fairy tales, Snow White in particular, are trendy right now, and we have them popping up out of the woodwork all over the place.

First off, we've got Once Upon a Time, the new ABC show about fairy tale characters who don't know who they really are, living in a little town in Maine, ruled by the mayor/evil queen. This show is four episodes in and I'm totally hooked. I just love it. In this rendition, we have Ginnifer Goodwin as Snow White.

I like her as Snow White, though she's a bit older than I usually picture the character to be. She's more like a grown up, independent Snow. Also, in the fairy tale world, her Snow is seriously awesome.

We have the new movie Mirror, Mirror with Lily Collins as Snow White. She's definitely got the right coloring, but the star of this movie really seems to be Julia Roberts as the evil queen. 

Seriously cool dress.

I can't decide if this looks good or not. It's almost trying too hard to be funny and ends up being sort of ridiculous. Who knows, though, it could be great.

And lastly, we have Snow White and the Huntsman, with Kristen Stewart as Snow White. I'm not really sure about this casting. I thought Kristen Stewart was  Bella Everywoman, not 'the fairest in the land'.

Again we have a much more famous evil queen to steal the show in Charlize Theron, but Snow seems like more of a bad-ass, so that's fun.

If anyone asked me, I would have said that the best person to play Snow White (in my mind) would be Anne Hathaway. I think she is so beautiful and would be ideally suited for the role.

She would be my Snow White. Who would be yours? Any of the above strike your fancy?

Friday, November 25, 2011

It's Time to Start the Music

Thinking back on my TV history... I was born in the eighties, but I didn't really appreciate TV until the nineties (unless you count Sesame Street, you know, because I was a small child). Interestingly enough, however, my television roots will always be in the seventies, and even the sixties. I am a child of Nick at Night. I am a child of the rerun. I am a child of watching whatever my parents liked. It is because of my roots that this variety show will always have my heart.

And that is why I think this is the best Muppet movie ever made.

It was a beautiful homage to the original show, and chock full of awesome cameos (that I will not spoil for you). If you are anything like me, I think you will feel the same way. Go to the theater! Now! Run!

Mahna Mahna

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Plans

This year, I'm really missing a homemade Thanksgiving dinner with family. Since we are currently living in two houses and trying to consolidate into one this weekend, cooking our own dinner is out. We are going out to an awesome buffet dinner at a local restaurant instead. We have also resolved to take the day off of packing and hauling boxes.

In addition, we were thinking that a double feature would make it a perfect Thanksgiving!

What about you guys? Plans? Favorite Thanksgiving food? I'm a mashed potato girl, myself.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Simple life project: Tiny bathroom

Remember when I said we were looking for a house that was smaller and I called it "minimalism: downsizing the house"? I've decided that this is a really depressing title (with the use of the word 'downsizing'), and when talking about it to my dad caused him to offer me money, I decided to rename it the "simple life project." We want to live the kind of life where we can go on amazing trips and have extra money, and live in a smaller house with a ton of character (and, let's face it, fewer rooms to clean).

Here is our first hurdle: the teeny bathroom. Our (now rental) house in Phoenix has two decent-sized bathrooms. Our first house in The Springs had three bathrooms, including one quite sizeable one. Our new house has one bathroom, and it's the tiniest bathroom imaginable (except for those ones in boats or Japanese apartments where you have to shower over the toilet). It doesn't have a sink, but shares the one in the kitchen instead. There is a positive side, however; it has a clawfoot tub! Big enough for even tall people like us to take baths in! Plus, the rest of the house is simply oozing with charm, so I can deal.

Another big plus: there is a tiny room (bedroom? office?) right next to the bathroom that I'm turning into a bathroom extension/closet.

Here are some ideas I've been throwing around to make this project awesome without spending too much.

An awesome over-the-door vanity station - found on the Urban Outfitters site. It is really pretty, too!
This would go over the door between the bathroom and the kitchen, so Mike could use the mirror for shaving near the sink, and it would substitute for a bathroom mirror. It looks like it is adjustable for height (thank goodness).

For the bathroom extension, we have an inexpensive, simple vanity made cool by some new knobs and paint:

vanity makeover

This would be useful for nighttime ablutions and makeup application. It would also easily convert to a laptop desk when necessary. I already have a chair to use with it, re-purposed from a table and chairs set that we won't have room for in the new place.

For extra closet space (minimal in a small house), I love this industrial garment rack, also from Urban Outfitters.
Sweet, right? It reminds me of Rhoda's apartment on the Mary Tyler Moore Show (nick at night people, I'm not that old).

And, last but not least, nothing brightens up a small space like a cool shower curtain. I really like these:

I'm worried the latter might overwhelm a small space, so we'll probably go with the Care Curtain, though I love the idea of the Woodland Garden with a clawfoot tub! 

I'll be looking around for some options like these. The greatest part is, because we are saving so much on rent, a few new items don't even stretch the budget!

Any other suggestions? 

Friday, November 18, 2011

May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor

I was really skeptical about The Hunger Games movie until I saw this trailer. It's just the right balance of emotion, grittiness, and hope. They might just do justice to this book after all.

Sidenote: My Dad called me one day and told me that I should read the Hunger Games books because he really liked them. Of course, being me, I had already read them all, but I was surprised. Gritty young adult futuristic dystopian fiction where eleven-year-olds slaughter each other? This from the guy who calls anything other than a murder mystery "weird"? I was very proud of him. Go Dad!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Stuff that's awesome (aka Wednesday Treasures)

If you're new, this is pretty self-explanatory. Here are five things that are awesome. Also, hello!

1. Really pretty cakes - Here's my thing about cake. I always build it up in my head to be so much better than it actually is. I look at pictures of cakes and I imagine them tasting, not like cake necessarily, but more like heaven. I think I like imagining eating cake more than I actually enjoy eating it. I actually feel this way about most sweet things (apart from Reese's Peanut Butter Cups). Anyway, here's my latest pretty cake.

This one caught my eye in the grocery store. It was on the cover of Make Ahead Holiday, a Better Homes and Gardens special publication. The recipe itself was not so pretty, considering it wasn't actually red velvet cake, but I think I could make it better. Now I just need an occasion to make it. My family is more a fan of cookies at Christmas.

For more delicious-looking cakes, I would check out this Martha Stewart Gallery

2. Darkrooms - I love darkroom photography. The darkroom is my zen space. I love the smell of developer on my hands after a session. I love watching the photo appear on the paper. Digital can never measure up in that way. My last darkroom class at the Bemis School of Art is tonight, but I'm definitely signing up to start again in January.

(There are no good pictures of darkrooms, because it's dark in there, but here is CalPoly's.)

3. Schmidt on New Girl - He's definitely my favorite character. I'm pretty much watching just for him. He's hilariously douchebaggy. Plus, he's Deputy Leo! I can't not love the actor.

4. The Bounce Dryer Bar*. No dryer sheets, no waste, no hassle. Seriously the best thing ever for laundry. Plus, it actually works. No static, and my clothes smell very nice. My days of finding dryer sheets everywhere around my house may be over!

I have seen some complaints around the internet about the bar breaking, but I haven't had any problems with mine.

5. Funky Jewelry. I don't wear much, but when I do, I like interesting pieces. I spotted this necklace on the front page of Etsy today and it is so cute!

And this ring from Modcloth is so much fun.

*I should note that I did receive a free bar from BlogHer, with no obligation to post about it, but I was already using the dryer bar for months before receiving it!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Hobbit Day - Life on the Slow Carb Eating Plan

Mike and I have been trying out the Slow Carb Eating Plan (also known as the Slow Carb Diet), as outlined in The Four Hour Body. I hate calling it a "diet" because it's sustainable over really long periods of time, and not a fad. At least, I hope it isn't. Basically, six days a week, you eat certain foods. At each meal, you have protein, legumes (slow digesting carbs), and vegetables. It is easier to focus on what you should eat, rather than what you can't, as you can easily get bogged down in the restrictions (no fruit, dairy, gluten, bread, rice, etc.). If you actually want to try it, reading the book is a must, as there is a lot more to it.

It seems to be working well. I haven't been exercising lately (bad me!), but I've been losing weight at about the same rate as I was when I was exercising (and eating popcorn for lunch and soup for dinner), so it must be working! I really liked the parts of the book about self-experimentation, junk science, and encouraging skepticism. The only way to know if something will work for you is to try it.

I'm not really big on being told what to eat, so it's hard for me to be on any kind of plan, but I have actually done pretty well with this one because of 5 things:

1) No counting calories. Boring, boring, boring. I can't stand having to try and count calories.

2) Simplicity. I can make recipes or just throw something together, and it works. I have mastered the art of making delicious chili in 15 minutes or so. Chili seems to be the ultimate SCEP food.

3) The online community. There is a huge forum for this eating plan and every question, suggestion, or discussion you are curious about is on there. I use it daily. 

4) Mexican and Thai food are his suggested options for eating out. You have to make a few modifications, but those are my favorite kinds of foods, so it works well for me! Also, you can have red wine, which is nice.

5) Cheat day. I don't like to call it "cheat day" because it's a required part of the plan, so it isn't cheating. I also don't like to call it "binge day" because every other usage of that word is extremely negative. So we call it "Hobbit Day." It is the day you eat like a hobbit, and you eat anything that you want. Guilt free.

I have some qualms with the book, especially with regard to vegetarians. Tim Ferris both encourages you to be a vegetarian while simultaneously giving little to no information about being a veggie on the SCEP. I've had to improvise a lot. Here's my initial review of the book, if you're interested.

I noticed a few things as I've been on the plan.

1) Keeping a food journal is kind of annoying, especially since you are encouraged to eat the same things over and over again. I have been keeping one, but it has shifted to putting up recipes, thoughts, and new foods only. Here's the link, if you're interested.

2) My emotional eating has shifted. I had a bad day this week, and instead of reaching for the ice cream, I had a sandwich for lunch. That's a strict no-no on this diet, but it's a healthier alternative than the former!

3) Planning Hobbit Day can be a lot of fun. Mike and I make a list of the foods we miss during the week and then have a really great day eating them all on Saturday. This week we are having ravioli with vodka sauce, fondue at our favorite french cafe, bagel sandwiches, and beer. My brother and I have started texting each other what we are eating on Hobbit Day. It makes the process really fun!

Has anyone else tried this or thought about it?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

TinTin = Nerdgasm

Ok, so I feel like every time I gush about an upcoming movie on here, it turns out to be not so great (see Cowboys & Aliens). If I believed in jinxes, I would probably avoid talking about The Adventures of TinTin, but I don't.

This movie is one of the most perfect nerdy equations I have ever seen. Here we go:

Directed by Steven Spielberg. The man knows what he is doing. I don't think I need to list his credits here.


Produced by Peter Jackson. Geek God. Lord of The Rings


Written by Steven Moffat. Writer of Doctor Who. Need I say more?


Starring, in no particular order (because they are all seriously awesome):

 Daniel Craig (James Bond)

 Simon Pegg (Montgomery Scott, Shaun of the Dead)

Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot)

Andy Serkis (Gollum)

Cary Elwes (As you wish!)

Nick Frost (famed Pegg sidekick/partner, on and off-screen)


How could it not be good? Anyone else really looking forward to this? We are going to go see it on Christmas Eve.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thursday Treasures

Here are some things I'm into right now.

1. Benefit Erase Paste concealer and They're real! mascara. The best cosmetics I've used in a while. Anyone else try these? A bit pricey, but you get what you pay for.

2. Trader Joes. We don't have them in Colorado, so when I was driving through Santa Fe, I stopped by. The cashier told me that lots of people in Colorado do this, and sometimes they receive orders for dozens of cases of wine*. I'm on a specialized eating regimen right now and I was traveling with a small cooler, so I was limited in what I could buy. Here are my essentials that I had to stock up on:

Wine - 3-buck Chuck and Smoking Loon - surprisingly good-tasting cheap wines.
Coffee - not too expensive, delicious, fair-trade certified, and it comes in the most beautiful canisters.
Margarita mix - The TJs brand is inexpensive and delicious.

3. Spaghetti squash. This vegetable is easily the best substitute for spaghetti I've ever tried (and I love spaghetti). It's so good and really easy to make. Here is a simple recipe. Top with your favorite marinara or other italian sauce.

4. Mary Roach books. I just finished Packing for Mars, and I've moved on to Stiff. Basically, she teaches you (in a humorous manner) about scientific aspects of life that they don't talk about in school. Her books are everything you didn't know you would be fascinated by about space travel, dead bodies, sex, and the afterlife.

Remember to read the footnotes. Some of the funniest stuff is in the footnotes. If you have the audio book, the narrator reads them aloud. My only complaint about having the audio book rather than a physical copy is that there is no bibliography of the fascinating-sounding books she sources. I'm thinking about running to the library and jotting down a few titles.

5. Quorn Crumbles. These are a great soy-free** veggie meat substitute in recipes. They are mostly mushroom and seem to have less crap in them as opposed to other brands. If your next question is "why do vegetarians buy meat substitute products?" my answer is "because it's easy and it adds protein and texture to dishes like chili." I try to limit consumption of these items, but they can be very useful if you need to make something quick.

*It's against the law in Colorado to sell wine and other alcohol in grocery stores. It's the biggest pain in the butt ever.  It's also most likely the reason why there are no TJs in Colorado. 
**If you're anti-soy, a position that I don't think there is a lot of evidence for, but that I respect.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Well, I had a busy weekend! We had a mini family reunion in Laughlin, NV and I got the silly notion into my head that driving there (in two-day increments) would be a really good idea. It was actually an exhausting idea, and I'm still recovering from this brilliance (as evidenced by this post being my first one this week).

I got back at about five on Monday to a very spooky house and quickly changed into my costume. Mike did a really good job even with all our (extensive) decor in storage in Phoenix. He had a massive spider web going and some creepy music and lights. He was lamenting the missing fog machine, but he was pretty satisfied with how it turned out. We gave out candy to trick-or-treaters and watched 28 Days Later and the newest Walking Dead. It was a very zombie-filled night. Plus, we actually got to watch the whole movie because we only had about 15 trick-or-treaters, as opposed to 150 or so that we had in Phoenix. I was not a party animal, exhausted from driving, I passed out at about nine. I was so tired, in fact, that when I had to get up and take my cat to the vet at seven, I did it with platinum blonde spray in my hair, and loads of Billie Piper mascara smudged around my eyes. Sexy.

Hope you had a great Halloween! (and that it was more exciting than mine, obviously)

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