I’m a total, total dork. I just want you to know that… in fact, Chad must be kinda dorky too, because we both did this.

We have watched every episode of Ghost Adventures (you know, that horribly crappy show on the Travel Channel?) that we can find on Netflix. Our favorite part is this little gun thing they use that the ghosts supposedly use to “say” words to communicate with them. It’s freaky when it’s sort of accurate.

So, I heard about this Ghost Radar app for iPhone and Droid. It’s the same premise, basically – it uses electromagnetic forces (or something) to form words from the ghosts. At first,  I was super bummed, because I don’t plan on getting a Droid or iPhone until at least June and, second, it’s probably a HUGE fake. I mean…really, your PHONE can do that? Uh. Sure. Then I found out Blackberry has it, too, so of course I made Chad download it.

The whole time we were waiting for App World to work and then waiting to download the free version, “Ghost Radar Classic,” he was throwing skepticism my way. Well, I don’t care if it actually works, it seems like it would be a fun concept! Geez!

We got it downloaded and opened it up. It looked like this (but this is not our screenshot, so we didn’t get this word or these findings).

The blue dot is a ghost. The random letters on the bottom right appear when the ghost(s) are “communicating.”

Just some of the nonsense words we got: stairs, Johnny, opposite, paper, everywhere, burn, Edward, Thomas, laid, coal, German, unhappy, Betsy, tie, book, Roman. Yeah, I’m not seeing a pattern either, but it was fun when the ghost blobs appeared on the screen, especially when they turned blue (supposedly close? I have no idea). Oh, and I don’t know what the numbers are all about. I’m not really a believer (and this app isn’t about to make me one, either) but it was kind of funny! I totally recommend for when you’re bored and want to do something “fun”, believer or not.

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I didn’t bake a cake this weekend. I didn’t even make cupcakes that look like rainbows. (Sorry, everyone). No, what I did do… is stumble upon the cleaning method that works for us.

Step 1: Major house cleaning, only once a week. We started this last weekend – scrubbed, swept, dusted, put everything away and sorted things. We did extra laundry, folded, etc. This week, we just need to wipe down the tubs, sweep the floors, vacuum, lightly dust and wipe down countertops as well as scrub the toilets and do a little laundry. Not too shabby!

Step 2: 10 minute cleanups throughout the week. Usually I put it off for the big clean, but I decided that it might look a lot more like when we started if I just cleaned the clutter a few minutes each week. That means shoving all the clothes to one side of the room for Sunday washing, trying to keep the throw blankets and pillows together and neatly stacked (Sidenote: We have like sixty million throws. Does anyone else share our love of blankets on the couch, or is this just a side effect of our stupid, crappy rental central heat?)

Step 3: Since I do my part on saving the earth by buying organic, using CFLs, not driving everyday or even most days and using all-natural cleaners (got Mrs. Meyers All Purpose lemon verbena cleaner, Green Works toilet cleaner and Purex Natural Elements laundry detergent… I’m almost all set!), I’m cutting myself a break here by allowing the use of paper plates and plastic cups. I know the plastic cups aren’t great, and we do use them sparingly/reuse them, but cutting down on the amount of dishes we do is an easy way to actually get Chad to do dishes (or myself… lol) and saves time trying to scrub that melted cheese/dried on rice off of plates – the paper is biodegradable.

Step 4: It’s ok to have containers to sweep stuff into, to deal with later. Just make sure you actually deal with it, no matter when it is, as long as it’s before your next move and you remember what’s in there. This is ok because otherwise, if it were laying around or you took it up to your desk and put it on top, you’d just have a cluttered desk and end up working elsewhere in the house and spreading the mess elsewhere… not that I know from experience or anything! Keep the mess contained.

Ok. I’m no saint and I know these rules are less than kosher to some, but I feel really good about how our changes are going, so far. Some of these I’ve been instituting for a few weeks and others are newer, but I know they’re all easily tackled.

…going slow at work today despite my frantic search for leads, cleaning up spreadsheets and calendars, and other stuff. So I just wanted to share this that I found while looking through leads:

This cake would probably be so weird tasting because of all the dye, but it’d be cool to try this with fruit or natural dyes! I’m thinking… weekend project. 🙂 Thank goodness tomorrow is Friday!

Oh, and one more cool thing for the road – I want to be invited to this:

Both images from http://saraspartyperfect.com

A cleaning routine. We always randomly clean rooms here, and then push clutter into a closet (I’m looking at you, below-the-stairs closet). I know, I know, that’s lame. We have too much crap!

First, cleaning products. Slowly trying to switch over to this:

From this:

BAD. It makes me want to vomit. I don’t care how “clean” it gets things, it shouldn’t burn your lungs and make you want to spew, right? Ick.

So, having the right materials isn’t a major deal, it’s more that I have no cleaning routine. There’s no “Clean bathrooms on Tuesday” at our house, we just do it when we think we should. And sometimes, because of Chad, that might not be often enough.

Anyone have a good cleaning schedule? Do you try tackling it all on Sunday afternoons or Wednesday evenings or whenever? It’s one of my resolutions, so I would appreciate some advice.

I am so, so, sick of trying to convince myself I’m cool enough.  I don’t even know what the parameters are for that statement… isn’t that ridiculous?

Seriously, my house is never going to look like this:

I’m perfectly fine with that. But then, I start reading tweets of people way cooler than me, and I get ridiculously blown away. I’ve had to stop following designsponge on twitter because of how ridiculously braggy her tweets were getting, and she’s not the only one. I hate when people don’t seem real online, and as someone who talks to a lot of people online (mostly because my friends don’t live that close), I’d love to broadcast the PSA to keep it real.

I’d also love to address something right here, right now: I don’t really think I’m cool. After reading that last paragraph, I realize that people might think I’m braggy (I put out some ridiculous tweets and blogs, I know!). But I put out the good (“I heart falafel”) and the bad (“My husband passed out next to me”)  without trying to constantly spin it to be positive. Sometimes life just sucks, mine included, and I live in a “cool” town, have a “cool” job and play “cool” video games like Just Dance 2 (Kit, it’s ON). Why try to make it into something it’s not? It’s one thing to be positive, it’s quite another to ONLY be positive.

2011 is going to be a year of change for me. Mostly because I need to, but some unexpected, I’m sure. After all, we’re (90% sure) moving cross country, most likely to Cincinnati. My job is getting bigger and more kickass than ever, and I love it so much now. I feel like Katy Perry’s firework video, like this:

Life feels like it is just exploding! Marriage and the entire mystery of what our lives will be after Chad graduates. So, with that said, here are my fairly simple resolutions:

1. I will walk or play my dance game 5 times a week. Really, I love the dance video and I like our area ok, so I don’t mind doing either. Been waiting to do this for slightly warmer weather, and here it is.

2. I will be neater. Seriously, laziness has got to go. I’ve had my nice few months of lazy newlywedded bliss. Now, I need to deep clean everything more often… because I love when the chrome fixtures shine.

3. I will quit listening to shitty music because “it’s on.” No more Bieber, Rhianna or Lady Gaga just because they’re on. I’ll keep the Kesha though.

4. I’m making healthy dinners, meal planning and not eating out. Kills two birds with one stone: staying healthy and saving money.

That’s all I really want to say I’ll do as of right now… honestly, there’s a lot on my plate this year (and I can’t wait to share some of it with you in the next few months!) and my expectations aren’t too high.

I find it odd that, this being the THIRD christmas on this blog, I have not yet titled a post “deck the halls.” That just seems like something I’d do. Anyways, I’m here to share with you my excitement over christmas.  Let’s start with the tree. Please ignore the grainy photos – I tried brightening them a little because my house is dark and drab. It sucks to live in a rental. Anyways…

This is our tree this year. Well, and it has been for the last three years, too – this is a cheapie we bought for $20 at Walmart that we plan on retiring next year. Anyways, I change the theme every year, and this year’s is like a hipster etsy (I redecorated from previous posts): it’s got felt owls, exposed stitching, some Japanese style kirie, and some kitsch things like silver tinsel garland and red berries. [Last year’s theme was Elf, like the movie. It was an all silver and white tree and all across our living room, we hung three hundred feet of paper chains and probably 30-40 paper snowflakes, had paper trees on the mantle and tiny paper lanterns on the tree! Can you tell I really, really love themes?] You may have noticed the ducks there. I collect them – I probably have about 100? – and I put some out for Halloween and Christmas, Easter probably too. There are two Santa ducks because these are a special brand and they name each of their duck styles. But, you really didn’t care to know that.

This is my favorite ornament. Actually, we just got it last night, but I love it. You see, last weekend we froze our butts off helping my parents with this cool smores bar they set up at a holiday party for their church. We probably ate our weight in homemade graham crackers, hersheys & ghiradelli and jet-puffed marshmallows. So, it really does remind me of our first Christmas!

This photo sucks because my camera skills are sub par using Chad’s camera. Whoops. Anyways, we have some gifts wrapped, under the tree. I know you can’t tell from this, but I’m a serious gift wrapper. I layer different papers, different types of ribbon and bows and of course, use cute tags. I am aware that I am a dork.

Ouch, the grain in this picture is almost hurtful. Anyways, here are the stockings I hand embroidered while watching old episodes of SNL or the Kardashians or something. I think they were $1 each last year when we were doing the white theme, and I’m too cheap to go find better ones. They’re very nice, and I can’t find better for that price… and heaven knows I’m not sewing stockings. Tried that two years ago.

I understand that this is the worst photo in the history of cameras. In fact, if you stare at it too long, your eyes may bleed. The out of focusness, the ugly way the jar reflects… well, I’m sorry. But, I just wanted to share my pine-scented mistletoe. This reminds me of Chad’s house, because his mom has been burning this exact same candle all year.

You can’t tell, but this is the backdrop for the ducks. We only have a three foot banister where our stairs end, and it’s right behind the TV. I have no idea why they put the cable hookup on that wall, but that’s a story for another day. This has the same kirie plus some stars cut out of the world’s worst “survivor-esque” book. I was going to cut into a 1912 edition of a book no one has heard of, read or reviewed on the entire internet, but Chad stopped me, so we have lame stars. Oh well!

Cookies. This may be the best pic yet. Anyways, I halved Alton Brown’s recipe for “the Chewy” and got these babies. Mmmmmm.

Now, finally, the reason I was making cookies – to heat up the oven because it is 22 degrees, it feels like 11 and it is SNOWING!

Ok, I think these are the last of the dorky Christmas photos I’m going to share. Now… share your christmas decor with me!

After taking a peek at my google reader, yesterday’s prompt struck me. Yesterday, my dear friends, was six years since I told my wonderful husband I’d be his girlfriend, you see, so anything with elevens catches my attention.

Yesterday’s prompt was basically 11 things you don’t need in 2011, and I’m going to respond to that. I’m late, but I don’t care 🙂

  1. I don’t need to put off housework anymore. My house is so, so much nicer when it’s vacuumed and the chrome fixtures in the bathroom sparkle. It’s ridiculous how much better having a really, really clean house makes you feel.
  2. I don’t need to be afraid. In 2011, I’ll move to another new city. I’ll have to find another life – another new house, another set of friends, another method of paying bills and going to the grocery store and, well, everything. That’s scary. It’s scary how much moving costs, how much we have to do to move, how far away our potential homes could be, and how much I could hate it – but I will stay positive, I will put my all into painting walls, refinishing furniture, thrifting, and other things that make my heart happy no matter where I am.
  3. I don’t need to buy crap that, well, I don’t need. In this last month, we’ve kind of went crazy buying some crap (including eating out) that we don’t really need. I made the promise to not buy furniture that I won’t use forever, and I need to do the same thing with clothing, shoes, artwork, craft stuff and kitchen gadgets. I went a long way in doing that by hand making a lot of my christmas decor that can be recycled or reused now.
  4. I don’t need to get drunk. I don’t really think I need to explain this one, other than my love for Santi’s margaritas. Good thing I don’t live in Charleston anymore.
  5. I don’t need to worry. I worry excessively over noises in the night, Chad’s driving, our house burning down or getting broken into, our cars getting stolen and all kinds of other crap that is out of my hands. I need to be happy with the precautions I’ve taken, have faith in God and my neighbors, and be able to enjoy my life rather than worry.
  6. I don’t need to compare myself to others. Kristen wrote this on hers and it’s actually something we talked about not too long ago… there is a certain person on my blog roll who only blogs the cutest parts of their life, and it makes me doubt my own sometimes. We all have our problems and we all have our happy exciting things too – I just choose to share more of my problems than other people. And I need to quit thinking that life has to look like a magazine, too – real people have stray socks under the couch sometimes, or walls without art. It’s life in progress.
  7. I don’t want to stop learning. I love learning, and I love to read… those are two things that have been such a part of me for my whole life. I love learning about petty things like decor to serious things like world issues to cool things, like photography. I want to keep reading and keep learning, and maybe even gain a new hobby by learning in the new year.
  8. I don’t need to keep trying to live my life by going home once a month. I love my family, but I think it’s starting to be time for me to establish my own life. Of course, when I move 10-20 hours away, that’s going to change things too.
  9. I don’t need to rashly choose a new place to live. Don’t get me wrong, I like (and am thankful for) my house. It’s low rent, in a fairly safe area, exactly two minutes from Publix and the community is well maintained, plus we have three bathrooms! (I know, can you tell I hate sharing a bathroom!?) However, the place we really wanted had a bit smaller kitchen but a separate dining room (ours is part of the living room), hardwood floors, a fireplace, built in bookshelves, taller ceilings and was a 10 minute walk from Five Points and 5 minute drive from downtown. I regret how quickly we signed the lease for this place – we won’t make that mistake with the next house.
  10. I don’t need to start projects and not finish them. Most of my ideas aren’t that bad, I need to suck it up and finish them. I’ll be putting in some cute prints come January in the upstairs hall and then refinishing my footlocker trunk thing, maybe that will make me follow through with some other ones!
  11. I don’t need to take my life for granted. There are so many, many reasons it’s so easy to take it for granted, too, but I need to stop and savor life more, to enjoy the life I’ve been given and have fun living it while being thankful for all I have. I don’t need to take my husband for granted, or the wonderful marriage we started this year. I don’t need to take our move to a new home for granted, or our families being only 5 hours away for the time being. I need to start being appreciative, and the first thing I’m going to do to start doing that is finish these wedding thank-you notes. 🙂

I went to write a blog post two days ago (because I have been very unmotivated, for some reason) and stopped by facebook, and found a link to an article about my high school. Unfortunately, it was sad news, a suicide attempt by flames. It really, really shook me, and not because I know the student (I don’t), but because of what it means.

My high school was a magnet school that didn’t tolerate things like bullying. Everyone basically just got along. It would be so easy to blame this on bullying, but the truth is, this kid had some demons he was facing, and he finally got to the point he couldn’t take it anymore. That depression, anxiety and the feelings of suicide are common to many teenagers, and it pains me to think that this tragedy could bring out even more of that in his classmates, peers and others. I was a teenager who had trouble with that middle ground between being a kid and an adult, especially in college where I did suffer through depression. His death strikes me to the core because not that long ago, I was there. And even more frightening is that now, I’m pretty sure I have family or friends there, too.

I’m standing on my soapbox today to encourage to wear red today – people are wearing red for Aaron. My red of choice today is not only clothing, but this blog – I want to share this story with you in the hopes that you will reach out to people you know, to friends, to family, to anyone you think may be suffering with depression and be a listening ear, be a loving heart and just someone who cares. While I wish the circumstances under which I am relaying this message were different, Aaron’s death and the reasons why should not be in vain.

Not going to fib to all of you out there in blog land – lately, I’ve been slacking in my love for thrifting. I have amazing places near my house in Athens and in Charleston that sell for super cheap, and craigslist hasn’t totally failed me either. However, for the rest of you, I’m going to help you out with a few decor terms so you can properly label your crap.

  1. Vintage: There are very few vintage things that are plastic. For now, let’s settle for stuff made between 1950-1975 that is clean or at least able to be cleaned.
  2. Colors: Olive and sage are not interchangeable. Neither are periwinkle and blue, peach and beige, or hot pink and OMG MY EYES pink. Please consult a color wheel.
  3. Antique: This is usually code these days for crappy, antique-style Queen Anne reproductions you bought in 1992 when it was cool. Please stop trying to sell that crap, no one wants it.
  4. Like New: Person who was trying to sell the 20-year old “well cared for, like new” couches today, take note – like new means that I could conceivably find it in a store right now, and I wouldn’t know which furniture was yours and the store floor model. Floral couches cannot be found in stores right now. I don’t care how nice they are, if you let Fluffy on them, that’s not the best cared for couch. Neither is one that you ate on, one you slept on, or anything else.
  5. Or Best Offer: You know you’re not going to get a better offer. Save the bytes it takes to type that.
  6. Pictures: Put pics in post. Don’t offer to send them via phone. Clean up your house before you take the pic. Clean up your house before someone shows up for the furniture.
  7. Recently Reupholstered: You should have gone for more modern taste when you had that thing reupholstered a year ago. It still looks like it’s from 1993. (Side note: Where the hell did you find that fabric?)
  8. Chewed/Scratched: Detail it. Show us pictures. Please let us know what did that (if it was a rodent, don’t sell it).
  9. Price: Price it correctly. No rug is going to fetch half of what it sold for, unless it’s never been used. Just because the lamps are useful doesn’t mean they’re stylish. And please, if you know you have an Eames lounger, put it up for auction – not for $3400 to the wrong audience.
  10. Stains: If there are stains, explain them. Period.

And there you go. Got anything to add? Let me know – @thesarahmorgan on twitter.

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