February 5, 2016

On a Scale of 1 to 10...

The realtor is showing the house today, barring catastrophe. Or a cancellation. Anyway. I go so overboard when the house is being shown. I asked my husband how overboard I go, on a scale of 1 to 10, and he gave me a solid 8. 

So there's that. 

What I mean is that I clean the house. Like a lot. Like a lot a lot. The house is kept pretty clean to begin with, but when a total stranger is coming over for 20 minutes, hoo boy. THE BASEBOARDS MUST BE CLEANED.  


And I should steam-clean the rug in the living room. And wash the throw rugs. And have my husband take apart the windows because they haven't been cleaned in a few weeks and might be dirty. In the wintertime.

TAKE. 
APART.
THE.
WINDOWS.

In short, if you are reading this on Friday, I will be doing the flight of the bumblebee around the house. 

Have you ever listed your house for sale, and did it make you completely, batshit crazy? That is the question.

Cleanly, 
Beth


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February 2, 2016

A Master Bedroom Facelift

During the Great House Remodel of 2015, I bought toolboxes to hold makeup and other girl-stuff, and in order to fit them in the bedroom, the whole room had to be rearranged. 

This has led to me not sleeping. Ever. I don't get dark circles, but my undereyes turn a very pleasant yellow-dying-of-jaundice color, and two weeks ago my husband said...'Why is the skin under your eyes so yellow?' and I might have said something like BECAUSE I HAVEN'T SLEPT IN THREE MONTHS, THAT'S WHY. 

I couldn't take it anymore, so the rearranging began. The closet was cleaned out and rearranged, and now the toolboxes fit inside. The bedroom was rearranged, with the bed placed back the way it was. 

But I didn't like it. 

Three thrift stores, one hardware store, and one trip to Walmart later...

At a thrift store in Upper Michigan, I walked right by this and didn't see it. Luckily, the husband pointed it out to me. This nightstand was $25, and it came home with me. It has *patina*.



One $3.99 Goodwill lamp.


One pineapple dish (I find this thing unbelievably cute) a few Fire King bowls from the 50s, and a relish tray.

 



Oh, and a $5 lampshade from Walmart. 


Menards had 6 x 9 foot rugs on sale for $45, so we bought one to set the bed on, and they had throw pillows on sale for $3.99. I am a clearance rack queen.


And the verdict is...I can sleep. Not great, but better. The room is cozier, and I finally have a good nightstand that I can pile books on, like a normal person.

Does anyone else rearrange furniture all the time, or is it just me?

See you later!


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January 29, 2016

This Month's Books - January 2016

First month of 2016, almost in the bag. Yikes. I feel like an old lady, the way time flies by now. (By the way, I bought aluminum foil yesterday and there were like 412 varieties, and I actually did the whole WHEN I WAS A KID THERE WERE TWO KINDS OF ALUMINUM FOIL AND YOU DIDN'T HAVE TO MAKE THIS MANY DAMN DECISIONS thing.)

Anyway. Here are the books I read! There's a lot of 'em!


Ok, this first one is actually from December, and I forgot to include it last month. Beyond Belief by Jenna Miscavige Hill.


This was a good one, if you are one of those people (like me) that thinks Scientology is... 0_o. The author is the head of the church's niece, so it makes for interesting reading.


Survival Lessons by Alice Hoffman. This was a fast read. It's filled with reminders to see the beauty in life, and was written after the author was diagnosed with breast cancer. These were the things she did to get through it. If life sucks at the moment, this might be a good read for you. 


Not My Father's Son. Okay, I have to admit, firstly, that I love Alan Cumming and think he is fantastic. As Eli Gold on 'The Good Wife', he gives me life. Okay? Okay. 


Case in point. Anyway, this was a good one! This is a memoir about his childhood, his abusive father, and finding out a big family secret when he went on the TV show 'Who Do You Think You Are?' This was a really good read, and his writing tone is very conversational, and funny, so it's not one of those dry, navel-gazing memoirs. 

Up next is Geronimo, by Geronimo and S.M. Barrett.


This one has me a little conflicted. It's short, easy to read, and is in Geronimo's own words. S.M. Barrett is the man who edited the story, and he was the man that had to appeal to President Roosevelt to get permission for Geronimo to tell his own damn story. 

It's light on fighting white people (not a bad decision on Geronimo's part, obviously, as he told this story while on the reservation at Fort Sill, Oklahoma) and heavy on fighting Mexican soldiers. (The story about losing his family will give you feelings.) The entire thing, aside from a few sidenotes, is just Geronimo telling stories about his life, and I think that's what makes it both good and bad. You get the story right from the man himself, but it's not a comprehensive accounting. 

And now...the last two, which I shall list together. 



Tarzan of the Apes and The Return of Tarzan by Edgar Rice Burroughs. 

Allow me to explain. Every so often I attempt to read a classic, and most of the time this turns out to be a bad, bad decision. 'Frankenstein' was the worst. 'Dracula' was meh. DO NOT make me talk about 'Wuthering Heights' or 'Doctor Zhivago'. Oh man, in Doctor Zhivago I was hoping the Reds would come in and murder everyone just so the frigging book could end.

So I was nervous about Tarzan. And then I started reading, and...I loved it. Like...loved it. No one ever told me that Tarzan was just straight up pulp fiction pandering, and it is awesome.

It is batshit crazy, in the best sort of way. Ape man! Swinging from trees! All muscular and attractive! Is actually a titled English lord! Teaches himself how to read! Kills lions with a knife!

It's largest fault is the racism. It's not pretty, and I skimmed those parts, as they were obviously not integral to the story. 

But I can understand why, after reading this, Tarzan became so popular. This was written in 1912, and I can only imagine that women were reading this and busting out of their corsets. 

The second book, 'The Return of Tarzan,' is not nearly as good. It's all right, but not as good. There are over 20 volumes about Tarzan, and I can't imagine reading all of them, but this is the only book I have read in years where something happened and I *literally* clutched the book (or in this case, Kindle) to my chest and whispered this book is so awesome. 

Go forth and read. 

This blog, Black Spruce Hound, is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

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January 26, 2016

Depotting Makeup into a Z Palette

After dithering for 600 years, I finally bought a Z Palette last month. A Z Palette is a magnetic makeup palette, used to hold individual makeup pans. For those of us (me) that hate bulky packaging, a Z Palette is nice because you can de-pot your makeup and put it into one, single, solitary palette. 

The downside to a Z Palette is that they are stupidly expensive for what you get, a magnetic cardboard box with a window. I mean really. Almost $20 for a magnetic box. Not cool. 

Anyway, I had several eyeshadow palettes that I didn't really like. I used 1 or 2 shadows from each, so what was the point of hanging onto them? No point, I say. They take up a lot of room that could be used for more makeup other, useful things. I also had a blush that I dropped and broke, and I figured I may as well de-pot that as well.


This is the 'large' size Z Palette. (It's not large. In no way, shape, or form, is that thing large.) 


While everybody and their mother loves the Urban Decay Naked Palettes, I do not. I only use 1 color from this one, so I took a thin metal nail file and popped it out. This method does not work for everything, FYI, but some makeup can just be popped carefully from its packaging.




The blush popped right out of its container as well. This is a super-inexpensive NYC blush, but I love it, and have repurchased it several times. It's a good one. And now it's in a Z Palette, so I can stop breaking the damn container.


Not everything can be de-potted that easily. I broke 2 eyeshadows from other palettes, and the big bronzer down there would not come out without heat. The heat method (described in the link there) is a little frightening, but it works well. 


The Z Palette isn't full yet, but I'm in no hurry. I am just pleased because things are more organized and I was able to get rid of some huge, bulky-ass packages. Seriously, those Wet n Wild bronzers come in flying saucers. What's up with that.

It seems like I go on an organizational kick every winter, and this makeup organization was just the tip of the iceberg. There will be a few more organizing posts coming soon. Consider yourself warned. 

See you later!



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January 22, 2016

A New Walk Around Lens - Tamron 18-200mm

One of my Christmas presents last month was a new camera lens, a Tamron 18-200mm. (I say Christmas present, but I've had it since the beginning of December. Close enough.) I've had it almost two months, at any rate, and can now say that, yes indeedy, this is my new walk around lens. A walk around lens is the one that's on your camera the most. Going for a hike? Walk around lens. Taking pictures inside your house? Walk around lens. It's the one that is the most useful to you, and saves you from having to switch lenses all the time. 

And believe me, the first time you have to clean the sensor on your DSLR, a pants-wetting experience, you will want to change lenses less often, too.


I love that I took a picture of the box and it's slightly out of focus. Whenever I talk about photography, it's like getting hunting advice from Elmer Fudd. 

Here it is on the camera. She's not tiny.


This lens has replaced my previous walk around lens, which was an 18-55mm. It's not a bad lens, but it doesn't take the sharpest photos, and isn't large enough for my needs.

I can use this lens inside the house (usually without zooming at all) and I can take it into the woods and get pictures of animals (zoomed anywhere from 18-200mm) without having to bring along extra lenses. And that, for me, was the number one concern with the other lens - the damn thing didn't let me get pictures of animals that were farther away. This one does.


This takes sharper images than my previous lens, and overall I've been very pleased with it. It does tend to hunt around a little when using auto-focus, but as I don't use that too much, it's not a big deal. It also can't be used for photographing anything up close, it just won't focus on it. Instead, you either have to switch lenses, or stand back and zoom the object in up close.

So there you have it, the lens that's been on my camera for weeks now. While there are bigger, better, more expensive options, I've been liking this one just fine. A comparable lens, made by Pentax, is over $400. Catch me as I faint. 

That's not even that expensive, in the photography world. 

Catch me as I faint. Again. 

See you later!

* As an aside, here - does my dog look hugely fat in that picture? I don't think she does, but we took her to the vet on Wednesday and she weighs over 120 pounds. Lawd have mercy. My girl needs to go on a diet.


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