Friday, December 31, 2010

Give New Life to Wrapping Paper Tubes

The hubs asked me to take the lights down from the tree.

I wanted to get out of it somehow (I can only imagine how disorganized they'll be next year — lights always end up a tangled mess).


I had an idea... and it worked!

1. Find a few empty wrapping paper rolls; cut slits on one end. (Wait until later to cut a slit at the other end.)

2. Start at the bottom or top of your tree. Slide the cord end into the slit, then wrap the light strand around the tube (starting at the top and working your way to the bottom).

3. Wrap until you reach the end of the strand. Cut a slit at the other end of the tube so you can slide the end of the strand's outlet in.


Crossing fingers for untangled lights next year!

Keeping Christmas lights from tangling. Organizing Christmas lights.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Quote of the Week (Atlanta Housewives Style)


(At the nail salon, getting pedicures)

Me to my sister: "Hey! We're just like Kim and NeNe [of The Real Housewives of Atlanta]!"

Sister: "Why? Because we don't always get along but we have fun?"

Me: "ummm.... not exactly what I was thinking. I meant because we are out getting pampered on weekday..."

Monday, December 27, 2010

Recapping Christmas in Raleigh

On the twelfth day of Christmas, Raleigh gave to us...

12 Jello Shooters

10 place settings (2 parents, 7 kids, 1 husband)

9 ounces of mustache wax

8 inches of snow

7 varieties of dessert (cookies, coconut bars, chocolate pie, pecan pie, danishes, cinnamon rolls and peanut brittle)

6 strands of baubles

5 hours of dancing (Paul's party!)

4 idiots watching a turkey fry

3 new watches (Anna was one of three that received a new watch from Santa)

2 sisters named Katy/Katie (I have a stepsister named Katie!)

And 1 cod fish face!

What a great Christmas holiday! Thank you to my dad and Susan for hosting an awesome Christmas week gathering.

(Hope all your holidays were fabulous as well!)

- Katy

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Story Time: Holiday Edition

Being in that I'm a semi-new employee at my company (eight-ish months in), I felt compelled to make an appearance at our corporate holiday party.

The hubs and I suited up in our best cocktail appropriate attire and headed up to the Cobb Galleria (big events facility in metro Atlanta).

We followed other cars and the parking attendants' light sabers to a parking deck flush with the facility. I left my coat in the car, making the executive decision that a coat check might be more trouble than it's worth.

We entered the party and double-checked with a banquet employee to make sure we were in the right place. Check. We quickly made friends with the photographer, the wife of a company structural engineer. She was hilarious — encouraging people to take photos in front of the Christmas tree and telling people they ought to come back after a few more drinks. The photographer, who's name I can't remember (Lisa maybe?) introduced us to her husband. I learned he works with the Facilities department on waste water and building management projects. I shared with him that I'm in a semi-small part of our organization that sells advertising to the car manufacturers (Ford, Toyota, etc.). I asked him if he'd moved to the new office yet. So we talked for a few minutes about the new building and how nice it is and about an interior fountain that's not going to be installed after all (I didn't know there were plans for an interior fountain!).

Dan and I mostly hung out on the periphery. We were nervous to sit down at a table and get engrossed in conversation because we could only stay for an hour or so. After all, we didn't want to miss my bro and his girlfriend's annual tacky sweater party. Keeping to ourselves wasn't challenging, as I didn't really see anyone I knew. I mean, I heard that a lot of people opt out of this party for other Saturday night plans, but I was hoping to see a colleague or two.

Xylophones were chimed and dinner was served. The long drink line prompted a good idea on Dan's part: me go stand in the drink line while he went to grab a plate of food for us both. While Dan was in line, a woman asked him, "So, do you work for Arcadis or does your spouse?" Dan took a moment to reply but said, "my spouse." The woman replied, "Oh, what group?" Dan found the answer that made the most sense at that point in the conversation: "National Accounts." The woman seemed like she wasn't familiar with the department but didn't ask questions.

Dan and I found each other then found a vacant table where we could sit down. He told me about his conversation in the food line — and we promptly inhaled our food, hoping that no one would talk to us or that no one would ask me anything else.

And that's how we found out we were at the wrong holiday party... for 45 minutes. That's right... my employer's name also starts with an "A" but it's definitely not Arcadis.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Traveling = Invitation for Murphy's Law

Murphy's law has its way of descending on me when we have well-intentioned plans of traveling — and getting out of town on time.

Here's a little recap of Wednesday afternoon:
  • I cannot locate my husband's great aunt's china that we were supposed to bring to Nashville after looking everywhere possible — and spot a leak from under the water heater
  • I call husband who tries his best to instruct me on how to inspect the leak, which is frustrating for both of us because I can't really describe what I'm looking at very well and he's not there to see it in person
  • Husband walks me through how to turn off the hot water valve and gas line; he texts our tenant to say we won't have hot water for a few days
  • I start loading up the truck with my stuff, husband's stuff and the dog — in the rain
  • I drive over to husband's office to pick him up with dog in back of truck in hopes of continuing on our way... only to see that our dog pooped in the bed of the truck sometime on the ride over
  • I scrape up most of poop using a Kroger plastic bag
  • We drive to the closest gas station (2 miles away); husband tries to get dog's poop from in between her toes and under her toenails
  • In the mean time, I go to wash my hands and buy a hotdog because I didn't eat lunch
  • Husband asks me to wipe the bed of the truck using baby wipes while he continues dealing with dog poop in between dog toes
  • I set down hotdog in its packaging on console in truck
  • I miss husband putting dog into cab of truck
  • After some light scrubbing, I open truck door to sit down and eat my hot dog... only to see hotdog has been eaten by dog
  • Husband finds some humor in this while I do not; I toss the hotdog bun in its box at husband and get ketchup on his shirt (I thought the packaging was closed)
  • Husband is not amused
  • We each apologize
  • We get on road to brave traffic to Nashville
  • Sister calls and says she is locked out of our house, where she planned to spend the night (whoops... I forgot to leave the key out for her)
  • I coach sister through breaking into our house, hang up the phone
  • I announce to husband, "why don't we just rear end someone to really put a bang in our travel plans?"
All that being said, we finally made it to the Nashville area and had a great time. With 30-plus of Dan's family members, 8 large dogs, great food, precious kids and karaoke, how could we NOT have a blast?


Friday, November 5, 2010

Halloween 2010 Costumes Revealed

At work on Monday, I told people we dressed as an airline pilot and a flight attendant... though as a couple we had a different name for our costume. Can you guess?

Friends were:

Kat Von D and Bret Michaels

The rabbit from Monty Python and a Ghostbuster

A peacock (or showgirl - you decide) and The Joker

Sorry for the delay... I killed my laptop charger this week and had to wait on another one to arrive.

Lurve me some Halloween...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

5-Minute Funny Break

This has been cracking me up since I watched it last weekend:

I mean, the lyrics to Pearl Jam's Yellow Ledbetter are pretty hard to understand... watch the video... hilarity ensues.


(Kudos to James Wiersma at the basically now defunct "The Anthology of James Wiersma" blog for passing this link along to my hubs)

p.s. Safe for work. I think.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


I'm still here!

I've just been busy traveling for work, traveling for fun/family and being domestical.

Aside from racking up frequent flyer miles, I finally made one set (two panels) of curtains using that fun brown and creme-colored print fabric I bought a while back. (And oh, Erica and Julia, Hancock Fabrics never contacted me after I filed my detailed and mostly polite complaint...)

Fabric from

Note to self: buy a new ironing board pad. Yours is looking a little sketchy.

The bedroom. As you can see, it's rather neutral and plain, so I wasn't afraid to use a bolder pattern in the curtains. And brown and cream go well with the light celery walls.

About these drapes:
  • I used a liner/backing material for the first time. This helps block out more sunlight but creates a little more work when hemming. With the first panel, I tried to do lose running stitches between the two fabrics to hold them together. That didn't work so well... I used pins for the second panel and that worked much better.
  • Fabric is by Waverly and feels very durable/substantial. And it arrived in less than a week (double points!).
  • I didn't do it purposely, but using a geometric pattern made cutting and measuring easier than if I'd used a solid print. I could pick a line and follow it across
  • For consistency (okay, I admit it... laziness and lack of sewing skills), I used the O-rings with curtain clips again for these. The alternative was creating tabs or folding over the fabric so the rod would slip in. Unfortunately the rings I bought didn't match the curtain rod/hardware so I spray painted them with a metal-friendly spray paint (Rustoleum, I think, from Home Depot).
  • Overall, I'm happy with how they turned out. Scratch that — how they've turned out so far. I still have two more panels to make.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Butterscotch Chocolate Martinis

I hosted a few old — and a few newer — girlfriends for a grown-up slumber party a few weekends ago.

We played games, told stories, enjoyed a tasty dinner out (Iberian Pig in Downtown Decatur) and stayed up 'til the wee morning hours giggling and chatting.

I also tried out a new drink recipe. Ever since I tried Pinnacle's smooth and affordably priced whip cream flavored vodka ($12 for a 750 ml), I knew it would be a great addition to a decadent martini.

Girls' Night Butterscotch Chocolate Martini
  • 1 ounce Pinnacle Whip Cream vodka
  • 1 ounce butterscotch schnapps
  • 2 ounces milk (I used 2%)
  • teaspoon chocolate syrup (or to taste — I used light Hershey chocolate syrup)
  • (Combine in a martini shaker with ice; pour through strainer into chilled martini glasses)
Another thing I liked about this recipe is that it doesn't break the bank. For about $30, you probably have 20 martinis' worth of makings.

Yes, I am perfectly aware those are margarita glasses... I couldn't find the martini glass box in the basement.

Long live girls' nights!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Giveaway on my other blog

I'm doing a giveaway on my other blog for a $80 gift certificate to (retailer that offers all kinds of things ranging from furniture and decor to shoes and kitchen gadgets).

Check out all the details here.

Neighborhoody Excitement

We had a little excitement around "Mallory Manor" on Friday.

I drove up to our house after work and thought to myself, "weird, I don't remember Dan doing any yard work — specifically pulling up any bushes — in the last few days."

Then it donned on me... "that's not yard work refuse..."

Someone totally plowed over our wrought iron mailbox, the shrubbery next to it — and our official City of Decatur road sign (our only claim to fame for having some Decatur property). That Decatur road sign was about 8 feet from our mailbox, so the person must have been ALL up in our yard. Yikes. Good thing no one was parked in front of the house right there; the rogue car would have nailed it.

In addition to her Carolina front license late, the woman who accidentally ran over our mailbox left a note saying she wanted to pay for the damage. We called her, and it sounded like she was having a tough day (trying to bring a friend to Cerebral Palsy rehabilitation when she had the wreck), so we told her not to worry about paying us back. (Not to mention our mailbox arrangement really needed a forced makeover anyway).

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Traditional Ranch Extreme Bath Makeover

Okay, extreme may be a massive exaggeration — but we did just make over our hallway bathroom in our little 1949 Decatur brick ranch.

We reglazed our yellow tile to white, took down the wall paper and painted the walls light grey, installed a new slate floor — and put in a new light sconce, fan/light, vanity, sink faucets, shower turns, etc., etc.

Both our styles are rather traditional (but not stuffy traditional) so we went with what we would picture in a 1940s bathroom but not quite so retro. I hear the word "transitional" thrown around to describe casual, traditional with a hint of modern — maybe that's us.

This has been probably the biggest transformation in our little casa. Over the past two months, we spent about $3,000 on updating this bathroom (in our minds, less than if we had gutted it and re-tiled it).


Yikes! We had the toothbrush holder and soap holder tiles taken down when we had the tile reglazed from yellow to white.

Vanity cabinet and medicine cabinet are from Lowe's. They weren't part of a set but felt right together. I believe the vanity was $250 or $300 — and medicine cabinet/mirror was about $120. Chrome faucet is Moen and was $92. The new vanity cabinet is shorter and narrower than the old one, which is good since the bathroom is small. We had wanted a faucet with the same turn-style knobs we have in the shower — no luck. One negative to keeping the original tile is that the mirror has to be really high to be above the tile. Folks 5 feet and under probably can't see their reflection.

Because I couldn't be there when he worked, I left our painter Miguel sticky notes with what I would like done ("e.g., sand, skim and paint").

Wallpaper was a shiny dark yellow and cream damask. I doubt it was original to the house but it was probably here for at least 30 years.

Can't remember the exact color of the paint, but we chose another Martha's Stewart color from Home Depot (a light blue-ish grey) but had it matched at Sherwin Williams because we really trust their paint. Light sconce is from Lowe's (maybe $15 for the chrome hardware and $10 for the globe).




New shower fixtures are Price Pfister via Including the "rough in" (or behind the scenes parts), I think these were about $250.

I was SO over this white hexagon bathroom tile. I mean, it's neat and retro, but it looked dirty and dingy all the time (even right after cleaning).

Replaced the floor with dark grey slate tile (12 x 12 inch). The actual color is darker than what the photo shows. I LOVE the tile. Dan's still not sure that navy is the right rug color choice — but we're working through it.

Lastly, two custom-framed watercolors we picked up in Italy on our honeymoon. (In case you you don't remember, I lost our camera so we have no photos). Got these framed at Hobby for about $110 total including frame, matte and glass.

We used Porcelain Innovations to reglaze our tile and install the new floor. We are really happy with the most important part: the tile reglazing. However, there were some little things that lead me to say I wouldn't recommend Porcelain Innovations. The owner was tough to get in touch with sometimes and they had excuses for some things that didn't get done the way we wanted them. For example, the work was done while we were out of town, and we were excited to come back to a finished job. Porcelain Innovations neglected to tell us they messed up our towel racks (took off the plastic coating and tried to paint them) and accidentally ripped our new, professional paint off the walls because of taping off the tile for reglazing. Granted, it may have been that the paint wasn't dry enough just yet — but they could have sent us a quick e-mail while we were gone to say, "hey, wanted to let you know that..." And they were the ones who recommended we have the painting done BEFORE they come to do the tile. They also said they would install the threshold but decided not to. I don't know... I just left the whole thing with a kind of bad taste in my mouth related to customer service, communication and having to convince them to come back and fix things. Anyway, they did come back to fix most of the things we weren't happy with so we still are overall satisfied. Including the old floor being demo-ed and the slate being installed, the tile work was $1,800. It does look good.

Sorry for the rambling.

Angel Painting (Miguel!) did our painting. We spent about $300 with him in the bathroom — but well worth it. The walls were raw plaster and needed to be smoothed with mud and sanded down to be even. He also patched holes where the medicine cabinet and light fixtures once were. I should also mention that Miguel came back out to re-do where the paint was messed up without excuses or requesting additional money.

Corey with High Priority Plumbing has done our plumbing work (installing new fixtures). High Priority is so easy to work with because their office folks are very communicative — and the prices are reasonable and and the work is quality. Angela at the office responds quickly to e-mail communications, and they're always able to give quick turnaround time appointments. Corey (the technician we use) is friendly and courteous. He calls on his way over to let us know he'll be arriving soon — and he calls following his appointments to tell us how they went. My favorite thing is that he sent me a text message photo of our new faucet before he left our house. Love it!