Groggy In The Morning

Nothing I say before coffee can be trusted.

DIY Frosted Glass End Tables

Do It Yourself Frosted Glass End Table
I don’t know about you, but nearly all of my furniture is hand-me-down. It’s kind of what happens when you live with many different roommates and refuse to spend your limited budget on fancy new furniture.

However, this does give me an excuse to instead spend money at the hardware and craft stores on spraypaint, stencils, and other furniture refinishing necessities.

Wooden Glass Topped End TablesThese two end tables came from a friend who is recently married and I was happy to take them off her hands, since I have just moved into a new apartment by myself and had been end-table-less. I also snagged a few other things from her, namely an Ikea couch and ottoman, a circle chair, a rocking chair, and another end table.

While these end tables are functional, they are (to me, at least) butt ugly. So this weekend, I am going to go on a DIY adventure and fix them up. I am thinking I will spray paint the bases, maybe a grey or blue? It will be a gametime decision at the hardware store. HOWEVER, the most exciting part is I am going to try my hand at faux glass etching. I spent some time around online looking for stencils that I liked to no avail and so I decided to stick to my favorite things and stencil my favorite quotes on these two tables.

The quotes I have chosen are:

“The love of learning, the sequestered nooks, and all the sweet serenity of books.” (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

“An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered.” (Gilbert K. Chesterton)

I’m thinking I’ll pick up some vinyl letters, stick them to the bottom of the tables and spray away with that frosted glass stuff! … I’ve never done this before, so hopefully it turns out.

Will you come with me on this DIY adventure? LET’S GO!

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Spray Painting Wooden End TablesGrey Ikea End Table

So far, spray painting my end tables has gone fabulously. They only had two cans of the color I liked at my local hardware store (sky blue), so I had to be careful not to waste it. This has resulted in tables with a few lighter spots, however I’ve decided I kind of like the look! While I was in the pray painting mode, I also spray painted a third end table of mine and a small picture frame in grey. Not sure how I feel about those yet. The table looks kind of … bleh. What do you think?

Cutting Stencil Letters Out Of Window ClingThe status of the quotes on the glass tops is a bit more complicated. It only took me 30 seconds of coming home from Joann’s Fabrics to realize that the letter stickers I bought were not going to work because I wanted to put these letters on the under side of the glass – meaning they have to be backwards in order to be read. And stickers are only stick on one side – the wrong side. I spent a few minutes fuming about this, until I gave in and went back to Joann’s. I returned the stickers and got lucky to find a stencil section way in the back of the store. Martha makes these letter stencils that are perfect! I also found a roll of window cling material (who knew they made that?!) and an exacto knife. And now you’re caught up with me. It’s Sunday morning and I’m currently cutting out S’s. This is the slowest process ever.

End Table Glass Top With Quote DIY
It is now Sunday evening and I am FINALLY done cutting out letters. I took a break in the middle of the day for a friend’s barbeque and now I’m back at it. I managed to finish all the letters I needed for the first quote, and then I went right outside and spraypainted the back of the glass! I first put painters tape on the front side, just as a precaution. I want the front of the glass to stay nice and smooth.

Peeling Vinyl Letters Off Frosted GlassFrosting Glass With Spray

This is what my setup outside looks like. Let me tell you, I LOVE this frosted glass spray. Super easy and it dries so fast. It’s perfect for a gal like me who wants instant gratification. After the first pane of glass dried (it took about a half hour, tops), I reused the letters for the second pane of glass and went through the same process.
Frosted Glass Wooden End Tables

Now that I have both my tables back in my apartment, all dry and frosted and beautiful, I am SO excited. This is why I love to make things over. I took a simple, sort of ugly table I got for free and I made it mine. The project in total cost me less than $50 (including spray paint for three tables, a plastic tarp, gloves, window cling material, letter stencils, and an exacto knife) I say that’s a pretty good deal. Plus, it was fun!

Has anyone out there completed any cool projects with frosted glass spray? Share your pics!

Knitting Dinosaurs For Fun and Affection

One Christmas while I was in college, I decided to teach myself to knit. I didn’t do this out of a desire to be crafty (in fact, I considered myself the opposite of crafty), nor was I particularly interested in making all of my own clothing. To me, knitting seemed a bit old-fasioned, but I wanted to give my friends cheap Christmas gifts and so I picked up an instruction book and went to town. Everyone has their motivations, right? Those first gifts were pretty pathetic – I wish I had pictures of the scarf I gave to my friend Hanna. It was made with a pocket knitter that I haven’t used since. The scarf probably only measured a couple of inches wide! Because winter is not something to be trifled with in Michigan, this scarf was probably the least useful item I could have made. Luckily, Hanna loves me and loved the scarf because of all its inadequacies.

Over time however, I’ve taught myself to make a lot more useful items, like scarves, hats and socks. I have really come to love knitting – it’s the perfect activity to keep my hands busy while watching TV or even hanging out with friends. I haven’t bought a winter hat in years and my ever-growing stockpile of yarn is a bit concerning. I still give my friends knitted gifts regularly, even if they are often delivered a few weeks late. I’m not exactly the most timely knitter!

I have also discovered that I can use this skill to befriend the male coworkers in my techy office. I’ve already wormed my way into their hearts through baked goods like pumpkin cheesecake, but sometimes even that isn’t enough. Apparently, the way to win the hearts and minds of a legion of male, techy coworkers is not a pair of homemade socks. Instead, it is knitted and stuffed dinosaurs! Yes, all of my coworkers
are secretly 5 years old.

Knitted Dinosaur Patterns Book

Knitted Dinosaurs are actually pretty awesome.

One particularly fantastic coworker bought a book chock full of dinosaur patterns. You might not have known such a thing existed, and you also might not have known you needed one, but trust me, you do. This book has opened the doors to a series of dinosaur projects that has … well if not enriched my life, than at least made it busier. I’m making dinosaurs for coworkers, my niece and nephew, and various dino-loving friends. I even mentioned my knitted dino projects to a prospective date on PlentyOfFish.com and he professed that he would love me forever if I made him a Reptar. What girl can refuse an offer like that?

The instructions in the book are pretty easy to follow, and offer a lot of freedom for creativity. This is key, because my niece has specifically requested a Triceratops that looks like Trixie from Toy Story 3. Also, everyone I have made dinos for has seemed to enjoy the process of picking out the colors of their future stuffed friend.

To date, I have knitted a Velociraptor, an Ankylosaurus, a T-Rex, and am in the process of creating a Triceratops! They turned out pretty awesome, if I do say so myself:

Anyone else want a dinosaur? 😉

The Perils of Online Dating: My Ten Worst Messages Ever

Me at the Warrior Dash

One of my pictures on my online dating profile … my strategy is to wow them with my athletic prowess.

Have you ever tried online dating? Let me tell you, it’s the worst. However, as a single, semi-introverted, twenty-something living mostly on her own, it seemed like the logical thing to do. I joined with a friend, because it felt less crazy that way, and we jumped straight into the world of semi-anonymous, sexually charged, online messaging. Now, I don’t know if you know anything about the trends in online dating, but being a female is good. So, at least I’ve got that going for me. Immediately upon joining, I was bombarded with messages from all of these men who lived in my town – and some who did not live anywhere near by.

Dozens of messages came in per hour. Literally. Some of them were nice, thoughtful, and used proper grammar. Others, however … were more sketchy – and because they were sketchy, I found them hilarious. I wonder if any of these messages are actually successful. Someone should do a study. Some of the messages aren’t even that well thought out. My favorite most hated? The classic “Hey.

Coincidentally, “hey” makes my list as one of the top ten WORST pickup lines I have ever received via online dating. To bring some laughs to the ladies out there who know what I’m talking about, and maybe even offer some advice to the gentlemen out there genuinely trying to meet a person, I’d like to offer my ten worst messages I have ever received from men through dating sites. Prepare to be, well if not astonished, then at least vaguely amused about my chances of having a date this weekend.

My Ten Worst Online Dating Pickup Lines

Zooey in New Girl About Online Dating

I hear you, Zooey. Some of these messages make me suspicious of the same thing …

  1. “Hey”
    Never, ever, EVER send a message that only says “hey.” What are we supposed to do with that? It’s lazy. How am I supposed to respond? With another beautifully vague “hey”? I think no. There is a 100% chance I will not be responding to this.

  2. “Hey, I knew I would feel awkward if I ever clicked on a co-worker’s profile”
    THEN DON’T.

  3. “Good evening, Happy Thursday. I’m [insert name] from Chicago. I found your profile to be very superb and your aesthetic beauty left me suspensefully smiling. It’s evident the God’s took their time creating you darling… How are you?”
    Laying it on a little thick? And creepily? I’ll be backing away slowly now.

  4. “I’m gonna lay all the cards on the table for you to see. I’m currently in a fuck buddy relationship, not friends – purely sexual. …”
    I’m going to stop you there, bucko, because no. If you start your message this way, I’m already concerned.

  5. “OkCupid seems to think we have a bit in common though it could be better. You should probably answer some more questions.”
    This one baffles me. Are you trying to ask me out? Or just giving me advice for my profile? Either way, no thanks!

  6. “What’s your best body part?”
    My brain, thanks for asking!

  7. “So this is a totally random invite. I’m at the quality inn. Care to join for a dip in the hot tub?”
    This person is literally the origin of the term “creeper.” And plus, what if I’m allergic to hot tubs? Shortsighted, really.

  8. “I have never seen such magnetic eyes in my life. Am feeling a little shaky”
    Maybe you should see a doctor about that. I’m concerned about your health.

  9. “Can I be your slave? I’ll worship you at your feet! You can use and abuse me however you’d like!”
    That’s awfully trusting of you, sir.

  10. “Want to hook up?”
    Honestly, at least this guy is real. The answer’s no, but I appreciate the blunt attitude and the ability to take a hint. After all, when I didn’t respond I can guarantee he moved on looking for a willing participant. More power to you.

One last bonus message I just recently received:

“So, after a rigorously brief overview of your profile, I wanted to let you know I have already married and divorced you in my mind. Thanks for all the wonderful imaginary memories… you will always have a special place in my heart. Your ex-hubby, Patrick. P.S. You can keep the beach house in Florida as long as I can have the dog and my CD’s back.”

Apparently this is a strategy called “negging,” where you approach someone you’re interested in by saying negative things. Don’t worry, I responded to this guy. There is no way he’s getting the dog. Also … he owns CDs? What? #Spotify

Anyone else receive some quality messages from the fine folks in the online dating world? What’s your strategy for dealing with them?

Gluttony Is My Favorite Sin

Thanksgiving 5K

We’re ready to run a Turkey Trot 5k in preparation for the gluttony to come.

Ahhh, Thanksgiving. The time of year when family comes from near and far, we all pause and reflect on how great our lives are, and …. oh who am I kidding? I love the food. I love the food so much that this year I ran a 5k the morning of Thanksgiving in order to allow myself to eat even more food.

Don’t get me wrong, the food doesn’t come without the family. If you plopped a traditional Thanksgiving plate in front of me, but didn’t offer me time with my aunts, uncles, or cousins that I only see a couple of times a year, I’d feel robbed. I always eat corn pudding when I visit my aunts and uncles. The two activities are intrinsically tied. (Side note: Corn pudding is actually a lot more delicious than that wikipedia article makes it look. I swear.)

To me, Thanksgiving means two things: a lazy day on the couch while my father cooks a variety of fantastic foods in the kitchen (if he’d let me help I would, but you enter the kitchen at your own risk in my parents’ house), and then later on reconnecting with extended family surrounded by more fantastic foods and copious amounts of wine. You’ll notice fantastic foods is a trend.

Of all the fantastic foods I shovel into my mouth this time of year, potatoes are my favorite. Mashed, fried, baked, raw. (Okay, not raw.) Mhmmmm potatoes. Because my love for potatoes is well documented in my family, my father takes great pleasure is crafting the most delicious mashed potatoes he can and pairing it with homemade gravy. Not having seconds is probably the biggest sin I could commit. In fact, in my family gluttony is not considered a sin and is instead highly encouraged. I’ve mentioned before the weird pleasure my father gets out of feeding people and how he’s passed it on to me. The more helpings you have, the more loved you are. Thanksgiving is not Thanksgiving unless the day is ended with you on the couch completely immobilized by food.

To perhaps sound less like a selfish, food-hoarding heathen, I have carefully crafted a list of the things I am most thankful for this year – just as long as everyone really knows that my priorities may not always be in this precise order.

Things I Am Thankful For (Other Than Potatoes)

  1. Family
    All the kooky, sarcastic, frustrating, loud, insane, and loveable members of my family. My family will simultaneously ask me in a rather judging tone if I plan on brushing my hair at all today (answer: no) and also fetch me another blanket for the couch because I just don’t look cozy enough. Gotta love them.
  2. Old Friends
    The kind that you can ignore for days on end – or even weeks or months – and not have any trouble reconnecting. They know you, they get you, they won’t ever mention your unbrushed hair, and they love you unconditionally. Thanks to each of you – you know who you are!
  3. New Friends
    All shiny and new and exciting, these people are the ones you’re still figuring out, but the learning curve is fun. You still brush your hair before you hang out, but they sure can make you laugh. Not to mention, their taste in music is excellent.
  4. Miscellaneous Happy Thoughts
    This one is pretty vague, I’ll admit. But it was either make this list waaaaay too long, or sum it up right here. There are a lot of little things in my life that make me smile, including:

    • Dogs.
    • *whispers* potatoes
    • My garden.
    • Inside jokes.
    • A job well done.
    • Coffee in the morning.
    • A good book.
    • Sleeping.
    • Feeding people.
    • Happy hours.
    • Chocolate, the good kind.
    • Evenings in.
    • Evenings out.
    • Floppy dog ears. (Did I already mention dogs?)
    • Well thought-out plans.
    • A complete lack of plans.
    • A clean house.
    • Finished projects.
    • Finished successful projects.
    • Laughter for no reason at all.
    • The luxury of unabashed goofiness.

… Basically there are a lot of happy thoughts out there. If this were a Disney movie, I wouldn’t even need pixie dust.

 

Hope your Thanksgiving involved tons of food and more than a few laughs! What are you thankful for?

A Few Wrong Ways to Bake a Cheesecake

I was raised by a man who loves to cook — but most of all he loves to feed people. There’s a difference, trust me. If I didn’t take seconds (or even thirds) at every meal, he was heart-broken. “I made this just for you, Pooka Jo!” he’d say, with this pathetically dejected look on his face. Of course, I’d give in and get a second (okayfine, THIRD) bowl of Cheeseburger Chowder. I blame him for my inability to portion control to this day. And of course, after the first bite (and sometimes even before), he’d eagerly ask, “Do you like it?!” The answer, if you’re wondering, is always yes.

And before you ask, yes my father calls me Pooka Jo. That’s another story!

Almost Famous Pumpkin Cheesecake

The last slice. Mhmm, mhmmm good.

Anyway, it appears that my father’s need for for feeding friends, family and even neighbors has been passed down to me in full force. I find myself baking piles of cookies and cupcakes and taking them into work, gleefully passing them out to my appreciative and obviously under-fed coworkers, and then basking in the joy that is a happily fed human. Basically, I’m a people pleaser. And I like to make people happy with food! To me, hosting dinner parties is more fun than attending. Plus after you feed people, they tend to do the dishes! This behavior is most likely hardwired into my genetic code. Which is why this weekend I found myself making not one, but TWO of the most delicious pumpkin cheesecakes you’ve ever had. I assume.

Side Note: This is not a baking or cooking blog. I do bake and cook all the time, and I will be talking about it occasionally. But I don’t my consider myself anywhere up to the caliber of a food blogger. For one, my presentation is always lacking. Food bloggers can make the simplest creation look elegant. I settle for delicious. Secondly, I don’t often make up my own recipes. Any recipes I mention here will be properly sourced so the real genius gets the credit.

Last week was one of my favorite coworker’s birthday. We’ll call him Bert, because he’d find that funny. Of all the desserts I rambled off to Bert at high speed to choose from, he picked a pumpkin cheesecake. Because, one: Who doesn’t love cheesecake? — and two: this time of year if you’re not putting pumpkin in EVERYTHING you make, you’re wrong.

I decided to make the Almost Famous Pumpkin Cheesecake. If I were to go ahead and toot my own horn, I’d say this cheesecake is now famous. Alright I’ll toot my horn: people loved it. In fact, one coworker even stomped her foot and yelled, “This is ridiculous good!” from across the office. I’m so proud of this compliment, I may learn to cross stitch just so I can put it on a pillow. I made the cheesecake a second time two days later for my best friends simply because I had been bragging about its success so much, they finally told me to shut up and make it again already. I happily obliged.

However, the glory of this cheesecake did not come without a few humorous setbacks. Here are the lessons I have learned in my little cheesecake adventure:

    Rock-hard Graham Cracker Crust

    That is a solid quarter inch of “sugar crust” right there, ladies and gentleman. Even the strongest knife can not slice it.

  1. Don’t forget to buy sour cream. This one is minor, as long as you have a little grocery store right in your neighborhood. But if you don’t, then it’s going to be a huge pain in the ass to turn off the oven, turn off the stove, set down the hand mixer, pause Arrow on Netflix, and run to the store. However, this one is nothing compared to the next tip …
  2. Don’t forget to add the 6 eggs. Say for instance, you notice the recipe calls for “room temperature eggs” but you forgot to take the eggs out of the fridge and let them room-ify. By all means, take the eggs out, beat them a little in a bowl and then set them aside while you go about other business. But PLEASE, do not forget to add the eggs before you pour the cream cheese-y batter into your pre-baked crust. If you do forget them, you’ll have to scrape as much of that incredibly gooey batter as you can out of the crust and back into a bowl so you can add those damn eggs.
  3. Don’t misread the recipe and add quadruple the necessary sugar for the graham cracker crust. Sounds like a delicious mistake, right? That’s what I thought when I discovered I only needed ¼ cup of sugar for the crust, instead of the 2 cups I added. However, a crust that is mostly sugar will, in fact, crystallize and harden so that it is inedible. I might have had to forcefully scrape it into the trash can using a sharp knife – a dangerous feat when you’re giggling uncontrollably with your best friend over your kitchen mistakes.
  4. DO somehow magically make a cheesecake with a crack similar to a Doctor Who plot. Not sure how I did that. I know cracks in a cheesecake are not supposed to be acceptable and the sign of a poorly-made cake, but I’m nowhere near that skilled and just accept cheesecake with cracks. However this time, I didn’t just accept the crack in my cheesecake. I was freaking proud! See that crack? That is definitely a crack in space and time. I call this adventure a success!
A Crack In Time ... In My Cheesecake!

Those two cracks are basically the same. Someone call for The Doctor!

What are your best (or worst) kitchen blunders?

Meet Kerri Jo

Morning People

This is what I imagine morning people do every day. It feels accurate to me.

I love the idea of morning people. And, I think that I would be a wonderful morning person. Waking up early, seizing the day, doing yoga (yoga is probably better for you when done before 6 a.m., right?), and achieving all those mysterious things that morning people achieve before the sun comes up – it all sounds fabulous. Sign me up! Not to mention, morning people seem to have their life under control. It’s like those wee morning hours provide some sort of magical clarity the rest of us humble folk can’t even comprehend.

 

There is just one problem. It’s minor really, hardly even an issue. But … I don’t function in the morning. You might think this is an exaggeration, but I’m here to tell you it’s not. My brain usually doesn’t wake up until halfway through my shower, when I suddenly realize I’m singing Taylor Swift out loud. At that moment, I also realize I’ve put face wash in my hair AGAIN and have to re-shampoo. I go through a lot of face wash.  But before this moment of awakening? I am basically a robot.

Hello, my name is Kerri and I’m horribly Groggy in the Morning.

Meet Kerri

This is me, not groggy. But it’s solidly afternoon in this pic, so that’s why. I’ll try to find a groggy photo for you, but honestly, people with cameras tend to stay out of my way that early in the morning.

You can see how this might prevent me from jumping out of bed at the first alarm, skipping into my exercise clothes and doing a meaningful 30 minute yoga meditation. If I’m going to be honest with you, even something as unambitious as sliding out of bed and getting out of the house on time is a bit beyond me. I’m more of a three-snooze, robotic-shower, coffee-drinking kind of morning girl. There is also a significant chunk of time where I stare blankly at my closest and try to remember what clothes are for.

However, while I might not be able to achieve this grand status of Morning Person (cue the fanfare) due to some faulty wiring in my brain (I can only assume that’s where the problem is), there are some things I am good at. One of them is the written word. Or at least, I enjoy writing. Something about putting all my oh-so-important (read: rambling) thoughts on paper in a blog and forcing a captive audience to ooh and ahh over my brilliance with the English language really just sounds fun, doesn’t it? No? Just me, then?

Coffee

Coffee, it’s the most important meal of the day.

But that’s it. That’s why I started this little corner of the Internet. After reading a few other blogs written by ladies I’ve been admiring from afar, like Avoiding Atrophy and Just The Elevator Pitch, I was inspired to find to find out if I have anything interesting to add to the world. Groggy In The Morning will be a cozy little place, where I can figure out what I’m supposed to be doing with this thing called life, or at the very least, entertain a few people once in a while. I can promise a few laughs, some deliciously awkward, real-life anecdotes, and honesty. I can also promise nothing will ever be posted before 9 a.m., and definitely not before my first cup of coffee.

Anyone else suffer from a lack of motor skills first thing in the morning?