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I Am Not Dead! September 7, 2010

Posted by A. Robinson in Life, Lovin'.
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Hey everyone,
Sorry for such a long hiatus.  This summer was crazy, and after I finished my thesis, I just felt like I needed to take some time for myself and my family.  Now that the school year is back in full swing, expect regular updates, just like always.
Time to dust off the rust, I guess.  Where to start?  Oh, I know!  How about an…

I’m Lovin’!

Right now, I am absolutely head over heels for the art of ModHero’s Rogan Josh.  I am secretly (though I guess not anymore) a huge comic book fan.  I’ve been a Marvel Fangirl since I was a kid, and after a lapse in comic book reading over the past few years, John bought me a subscription to Marvel.com’s online comic feature.
It’s amazing.
Anywho, I recently stumbled across Josh’s fantastic, super modern superhero artwork.  It’s really stunning–and doesn’t really look superhero-esque unless you know what you’re looking at.  Take the following for example:

Guess who.

Unless you’re familiar with the X-Men, you probably don’t recognize this weather witch.  And yet, the art is still stunning no matter what the inspiration.  Josh doesn’t open his shop often, and when he does it’s only for a few days.  John and I picked up three prints this weekend–namely, Thor, Captain America, and Gambit–right before he closed his doors again.  It was the hardest decision I’ve had to make in a while, mostly because I’m desperately in love with most of his prints (I mean, have you seen his oversized X-Men poster?!  Love it).

It’s Not Dead! June 14, 2010

Posted by A. Robinson in Life.
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Growin' like a weed.

Remember how I told you that I was growing a garden?  Remember how I said it would probably be dead by now?  Well…it’s not!  I took this two weeks ago and the lettuce has tripled in size.  I also have three little bitty roma tomatoes coming on!

The garlic is a new addition. Also, this is a "pepper photobomb"

My cilantro is dainty and adorable.

Look how much bigger it's gotten.

The Baptist Farmer May 10, 2010

Posted by A. Robinson in Life, Life List.
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Hey, I’m putting off working on my (already behind schedule) thesis.  What are you doing today?

I thought I’d take a few minutes to introduce you to my very first container garden.

Here's one half, anyway.

Ah, there's the rest!

The containers are courtesy of my grandfather’s friend Kenneth Swift, who gave them to us for free.  They’re originally cattle feeders; John and I drilled holes in the bottom of them and painted them to make them a little less…well, royal blue.

So far we’re growing mostly herbs: basil, oregano, chives, rosemary, and a bunch of cilantro.  We’ve got a few roma tomatoes, bell peppers, and some lettuce thrown into the mix too, though.  Grandpa also gave me some garlic, which I need to pot sometime today.

So far everything seems to be happy and healthy, though I’ll let you know how it’s progressing in a few weeks.  I’ve only gardened with lots of supervision, so this might end up being a practice in futility.  Hopefully not, though.

On the Hunt for Alarm Clocks September 10, 2009

Posted by A. Robinson in Lovin'.
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Two posts in one day!  I thought I’d make up for my earlier rant with a peace offering of lovlies.

The other night as I snuggled into bed, I was struck by how hideous my alarm clock is.  I mean, really, it’s ugly out of necessity–I need the numbers to be big enough that I can see them easliy without my glasses, and multiple alarms are nice so that John and I can use the same machine.  But seriously.  It looks like a large, ugly, black box just chilling out on my nightstand.  Must something so functional also look like an 80s throwback?  Surely not. That’s when I found these:

NUMBER 1:  A String of Numbers

It's like Legos, only not.

It's like Legos, only not.

The only problem here is that I’d feel the need to stack these in a way that would make them uninterpretable.
NUMBER 2:  Water Clock
Sustainable AND cute.

Sustainable AND cute.

This sucker uses a little bit of salt and water as a battery.  You just refill it and keep going, and the environment is none the wiser.  ThinkGeek.com has a version of this that lets you keep a little flower in it.
NUMBER 3:  The Wave Clock


I particularly like this design.  Sleek facing, easy-to-read numbers, hard to knock off your desk.  Those pointy corners look like a heath hazard, though.  Some random flailing might equal a trip to the ER.
NUMBER 4:  Wood Clock
My personal favorite.

My personal favorite.

I love this.  I mean, I REALLY love this.  The LED light shine through an actual block of wood, and all of the buttons hang out on back.  How cool is that?

I’m Lovin’: BLIK August 20, 2009

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The owners of our townhouse won’t let us paint, which has been driving me up a wall (har har). Anyway, I’ve been looking for creative ways to cover walls in order to create interest. So far I’m leaning towards BLIK wall stickers.  I had originally fallen in love with the stickers you can find at Ferm Living, but they’re just so expensive.  Over $100 for a piece of sticky vinyl?  I’d rather chew thumbtacks.

Blik is much more reasonably priced (look at this 117 piece set for $30, for example) wall decor, and though it’s not quite as chic as Ferm’s options, they certainly complete.  The company promises that their stickers are easy to put up and just as easy to come down, which is a Godsend for renters like me.  I’m not sure how many of these I can actually see in my house, but almost all of them are really modern and aesthetic.

The one’s I’m really loving right now are the blocky, graphically-clean designs like these chandeliers–which I would love to see in my guest bedroom–and these organic weedy-looking things that would look awesome in the living room.  I also think this would be a neat way to decorate a stairwell with something OTHER than cheezy, awful family pictures.  Thank you, Blik, for giving renters some decorating options.

The $700 Challenge August 17, 2009

Posted by A. Robinson in Life, The $700 Challenge.
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My dad recently gave John and I some money to decorate our new place, and after we paid (out the rear) on random but necessary vehicle repairs, the grand total left over is $700. Over the next few months I will SPEND this money and update you all on the progress, especially since I plan to DIY most of the decor. Maybe you’ll be inspired a little as I try and meet LifeList goal #59, i.e. having a neat, well-decorated home.

Problem is, I can’t decide which room I should start with: the master bedroom or the upstairs bathroom. Any opinions?

I’m Lovin’: Magnetic Measuring Spoons July 31, 2009

Posted by A. Robinson in Life, Lovin'.
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magnetic measuring cup

Gorgeous and functional. Just how I like 'em

Where have these been all my life
?Magnetic Measuring Spoon - GreyMagnetic Measuring Spoon - GreyMagnetic Measuring Spoon - GreyMagnetic Measuring Spoon - Grey

Look, a moment of honestly (like I don’t have those all the time): I love kitchen gadgets.  If it makes cooking easier, I’m all for it.  The problem is, they’re always one-function items.  I mean, I always have to dig around in my drawers just to find my measuring spoons, and inevitably the one I want won’t be there.  I cannot emphasize this enough–I hate hunting for things.

It looks like Joseph Joseph has come to my rescue, at least in terms of measuring spoons.  One end is a teaspoon and the other is a tablespoon, which is miracle enough, but the designers took these nifty little items and added a 1/2 measure line in each cup.  If this isn’t enough to make your heart skip a beat, they are also gorgeous and MAGNETIC.

I’m all aflutter.  Aren’t you?

I’m Lovin’: Subversive Cross Stitch July 21, 2009

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For those of you who don’t know, I’m an incredibly crafty person.  That’s not to say that I’m an incredibly talented crafty person, but I’m working on that last bit.  This weekend’s move has got me all fired up to start, like, roughly a million projects, so my scouring of the Internet has produced the perfect thing: Subversive Cross Stitch.

If you’re not familiar with Subversive Cross Stitch, you should head over there right now, because you have absolutely no idea what you’re missing.  Seriously.  I cannot wait to make a few of these for my house (and for friends!).  I love how delightfully easy they are to make, and how each and every one makes you do a double take.  Oh, so that doesn’t say “Home Sweet Home?”  Excellent.

Here are my two favorites:

This is my very favorite.  Maybe I'll make this for Lindsey.

This is my very favorite. Maybe I'll make this for Lindsey.

Ah, I think this adequately expresses my Mexican heritage.  I picture this right above the kitchen sink.

Ah, I think this adequately expresses my Mexican heritage. I picture this right above the kitchen sink.

If you’re feeling particularly subversive, you can check out the SCS flickr group.  Not all of those are as delightfully witty as what is featured on the site (read: naked cross stitched ladies), but others are quite fun.  I’m particularly fond of “You’re a stinky pirate whore.”  Maybe I’ll submit one myself: “Don’t make me hit you with my pimp hand.”

I’m Lovin’: A Field Guide to Weeds June 1, 2009

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Click to enlarge

Vintage yumminess

I stumbled upon this journal at one of my favorite online retailers, The Curiosity Shoppe. I love the vintage look of the cover.  It reminds me of library books in my high school library that were bound in orange covers with generic black type serving as its sole identifying feature.  Just like those books were full of adventure and surprises, so is the Field Guide.

Stunning graphic design

Stunning graphic design

The pages of this book are ridiculously stunning.  I’m so tempted to buy this and let it sit on my shelf until I have a garden; I think this would make the most fabulous gardening journal ever.  I love how designer Kim Beck takes the maxim “don’t judge a book by its cover” literally.

That’ll Show Me for Thinking I Made Progress April 5, 2009

Posted by A. Robinson in From the Kitchen, Life.
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So, I sort of filled my apartment with smoke the other day.

I mean, nothing actually CAUGHT FIRE or anything, which is more than I can say for the neighbors (or my toaster).  However, in my endeavours to make a delicious apple tart, there were some…issues.

Let’s begin at the beginning, shall we?  I recently received a KitchenAid stand mixer, which is amazing and wonderful and everything it’s cracked up to be.  Anyway, this mixer came complete with a recipe book.  I let John look through it, and he immediately picked a completely intimidating dessert–an apple tart.  This tart involved lots of apples, some sort of streusel topping, and a pie crust.  Scary!

Anyway, one lazy afternoon I decided what the heck?  How bad could this possibly go? I’ll just whip me up an apple tart! Within five minutes I had already sliced open my finger trying to core an apple. Right then I should have known this would end badly. In the prep process, things were unsteady:

1. I cut my finger, and
2. Subsequently bled on an apple
3. I forgot to soften the butter for the strusel and had to put the whole concoction in the microwave so I could mix it
4. I broke my apple slicer, only to spend 15 minutes realizing it wasn’t broken at all but could easily be fixed by John in .5 seconds
5. I cut too many apples, so I had to eat the rest myownself

After much ado, the tart finally went in the oven. I set the timer and prepared my tastebuds for a magical carpet ride of apple-y goodness. About five minutes into the cooking process I peeked in the oven and noticed something that looked wet on the cookie sheet. I figured it was just something I splashed on there, so I continued on my merry little way.

Ten minutes later something smelled funny. I sniffed the air, thinking that it was our neighbors again setting something on fire. I glance at the stove and notice that there is SMOKE. SMOKE coming out of a BURNER. I rush over to the kitchen (5 giant steps!) and pull open the oven door. Plumes of smoke as thick as concrete come pouring out of the oven and into our small one-bedroom apartment.

In a panic I pull out the tart and stick it on the stovetop and then slam the oven door shut. John has already noticed and has opened up the windows. I prop open the door as he begins to fan our smoke detectors and actually have to place a small oscillating fan in the doorway to help clear the air.

This is what I would call a baking FAIL. But hey, at least the thing didn’t burst into flames. Right?