A Few of My Favourite Things (and Some Not So Much) November 2017

Good afternoon, everyone! The Favourites List is something I've been doing for most of my life. Starting back in grade school I would send lists of my favourite colour, season, song, actor, TV show, etc., to pen pals, and receive their lists back, excited to see what things we had in common (and silently judging their juvenile taste in pop music or cute little boy actors because I was WAY more "mature" and basically a big, fat snob!). So, I noticed a while ago some folks online were doing Favourites Lists on their blogs and YouTube channels sharing what books, movies, cosmetics products, or special moments they've enjoyed over the preceding month.  Periodically I've done my version here on my blog, but like most things with my blog, I've let it slide. Well, it's back for Holidailies, at least! So without further ado, here are a few of my favourite things for the month of November 2017. Enjoy!

The best part of November was over the Veteran's Day Holiday when I took an awesome trip to Las Vegas to hang out with some of the coolest people on the planet. Obviously seeing some of my favourite people in the whole, wide world is the biggest, bestest part of the whole thing, but just to sweeten the pot, here's 5 favourite moments from the weekend:

This amazing vegan grilled cheese and pesto panini sandwich from Simply Pure. Honestly, I don't know how you make not-cheese taste like cheese, but this stuff really tasted like cheese!


This fabulous Sigma Derby casino game. In the end I totally lost on this game, but it's addictively fun to watch and play.


This hilarious statue of "Manneken Pis" outside the D Hotel.  The original is in Belgium, and is from the 1600s (or something like that), but apparently the owners of the hotel were on vacation, and loved it so much, they bought a replica to put in the fountain in front of their hotel.


The fascinating Mob Museum.  Seriously, you guys, this was SO cool! There's tons of displays, films, interactive experiences, and more! You really need to set aside several hours to really experience it! I'm totally planning to go back when they've completed the Speak Easy in the basement!


And, the super fun karaoke. Loved the intimate, private room!


Over the Thanksgiving weekend, my mom and I refinished our kitchen cabinets. Now, we didn't go all out and take the doors off, and sand them down and re-stain them or anything nuts like that. We purchased some McFate's Restorz It wood finishing, and cleaned and degreased the cabinets (with a McFate's cleaning product), then gave them several coats of the wood finishing. Now, our cabinets are clean and glowing! All that's left to do in the kitchen now is get some new tile!

Okay, so those are all the things I liked, now, here's a couple things I didn't like so much:

The D Hotel where I stayed in Las Vegas didn't have a coffee maker in the room. While this is a really minor thing - the room itself was very nice, and the hotel itself is nice, too - it was annoying. Every morning I had to get dressed and go down to the lobby to buy a cup of coffee from the kiosk (delicious coffee, btw), when I would have preferred to just have a cup of coffee in my room in a bathrobe whilst getting ready for the day. Also annoying was the fact that my room was right above one of the stages on Fremont Street, and the bands played until nearly 2AM. Now, I know it's Vegas, and I'm an elderly woman, and all that, but, dang, can't you kids keep quiet after midnight?!?

So, that's it - lots to love about November, and really not that much I didn't like! Here's hoping December is just as much fun! Cheers! 

2010 Christmas Card & Letter

In an effort to make my Christmas easy and stress-free this year, I ordered photo Christmas cards though picnik.com and QOOP.com. I chose a beachy California shot from our vacation to Pismo Beach this past September and used the "Ortonish" effect to make it all soft and dreamy, then went step-by-step though picnik + QOOP's  greeting card maker to create & order the cards. It was super easy and FAST; I got the box of cards in about three days! I did just a brief Christmas letter this year incorporating photos from my trips to Green Bay, Vegas, Pismo Beach and Morro Bay as well as a before and after shot of the newly landscaped back yard (using picnik.com's "Vignette" effect which is one of my favourites!). My new printer did a great job on them even though it's not specifically made for photos, and the whole thing was simply a piece of cake! Now I'm all done and can just sit back and relax! Merry Christmas!!!

Backyard: Before and After

A few weeks ago I had my backyard totally re-landscaped. It was kinda scary, but I was ready to get rid of the crabgrass-infested lawn and get a landscape that will no only look great, but will also (hopefully) help keep flood waters from getting to the house. Mom and I debated building a dry creek bed or having artificial grass installed. I called a couple landscapers and got estimates from both of them. Both were well under what we thought we'd have to spend, and after careful consideration, I called Daniel from Madrone Landscapes and asked him to landscape my yard!

Here's how my backyard looked before:

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Backyard Before 004a

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During the landscaping, the backyard looked like this:





And after only a couple weeks, our backyard now looks like this:


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After 018AA


After 020AA

Pretty cool, huh? It's a little different from your average backyard, but it's basically maintenance-free (the drip system is pre-set, so all we have to do is cut back the grasses once a year!), drought-tolerant, and hopefully during a massive rainstorm the creek bed should keep the water away from the house! I'm very excited about how it turned out and so happy I finally got it done!  

Some Pretty Pictures

While I work up an entry describing the hellaciousness which was Saturday and part of Sunday (which ended with the Vikings losing - LOSING!!- to the Saints which was sucktastic in and of itself), please enjoy these pretty pictures. All the pictures were taken on britney treo since ELPHie is still at Sony Camera General Hospital, and were enhanced using some fun and awesome tools at picnik.com. Enjoy!


My little daffodils are starting to come up!


Wacky sun-streaks when I tried to gert a shot of the side of the house before digging the trench.


Another pretty cool sun-streak shot.


Yes, it rained a lot here recently, hence the 'shroom in my backyard.


My rosemary bush LOVED the rain.

New Photos in the Living Room

Mom and I were tired of the old, Romanesque/Architectural prints we had hanging over the sofa in the living room, and decided to enlarge some of my photos and hang them up instead. We were also sick of the gaudy gold colour on the frames, so we spray painted them a matte black before doing anything else. Picking photos was difficult, but I finally just decided on two pictures (I believe they're Linda's roses, but they could also be T's roses, I am not sure) that I reversed for a mirror image look. We had the pictures enlarged at Staples for only $60.00, put them in the painted frames, hung them up and they turned out really nice:




I installed our new house numbers last night. They're slightly bigger than our old ones, but not overwhelmingly so, and they are SO much more awesome! I ordered them through House Numbers Only, and they were delivered within just a few days! I chose the font "Viva", although I was very tempted to buy either "Calypso" or "Lyric", because they were really cool fonts. However, I was afraid people wouldn't be able to recognize the number 5 with the "Calypso" font very well, and the "Lyric" font looked a bit too bold. I'm pleased with my final choice. I think "Viva" goes well with the style of the house and the new light fixtures, and definitely fits my personality!

Home and Garden

Well, our house is all painted and it looks wonderful! It's a kind of greyish blue and the scalloped trim is just slightly darker; the trim is a bright true white. It's such a relief to have that done!


Our new outdoor lights were installed, too:


They look SO much nicer than the old ones. Ew. Shudder!


This morning, mom and I trimmed and mowed the front and back lawns (such as they are), then put our garden back in order.



I'm thrilled at how well these flowers are doing! Check out these Cosmos:


 And the pansies just exploded!!









 Yay, the day lilies are finally blooming!


In the past month I've been on an outdoor decor spending spree, and it was really fun to put out all our fun new stuff! Here's our new handmade copper hose pot:



And here's our adorable new garden gnome:



This new outdoor thermometer looks SO much better on our new fence than the old one:



Oh, and I don't think it was actually 90 degrees out. The thermometer had been sitting in the sun a bit long. Yeah, it's still too early for that kind of heat!

And finally, here's my new recycled metal lanterns. Mom and I put some small pots inside them, filled the pots with old aquarium gravel and put in a couple citronella candles. I think they looks really nice on the table with the pot of marigolds and my little froggie statuette:




We're both very happy with our backyard, even though the grass is dry and dead and overrun with crabgrass, but that's a project for another day. Or maybe next year. Yeah. Next year!

Gardening Day

In preparation of getting our house painted (probably next weekend), mom and I chopped down a couple overgrown bushes next to the house. Personally I think it looks a LOT better. I wanted to get rid of those things for some time. We're keeping the tree, the echinacea, day lilies, and the smaller bushes for now, but eventually we're going to take most everything out and redo this whole area with river rock in the hopes of preventing flooding when, er, I mean if it ever rains again.










We moved our Earthbox garden to the backyard again this year to prevent any damage from the power washing and painting. But first I got a few pics:



The zucchini is HUGE already. We're wishing we'd just put it in the box by itself and not added the pepper:


 And there's some baby zucchinis in there:



Our two tomato plants are growing a lot, too, although the Big Boys look better than the Early Girls:





Our other two pepper plants look kinda tiny compared to the one with the zucchini, but the little buds are getting bigger, so I'm sure they're fine.


Generally everything looks really good. Except the lawn, which is dying, but The Powers That Be put massive restrictions on watering, so there's not a whole lot we can do about that. I expect we'll do our best, but if it dies, we'll just replace it either this fall or next spring. It's mostly overrun with crabgrass anyway.

House Colours - Final

Yesterday afternoon our neighbour who's going to be painting our house stopped by with paint chips of the original house colours as well as a few other options. We decided to just go with what we already had - although we'll be changing the accent colour because we chose poorly last time.


So the house itself will be Cloud Nine and the accent is Smoked Oyster. They're both a kind of greyish blue. I believe the accent was originally the darker colour on the bottom (Grayling), but it faded so badly we decided to go one lighter this time. It'll be nice to have this done and not have to worry about it for another 12 years!

2009 Earthbox Garden and a Future Home Improvement Project

My mom planted our Earthbox garden a few weeks ago, but I only just went out to snap some photos today. Everything has already grown so much since we bought them! It's amazing!


As you can see, we're only using four of our five boxes this year, and we've given the two tomato plants their very own box. The hope is that the plants will do better and produce more if they're not so crowded together. We'll see!

Our Early Girl tomato already have some blossoms on it:



The Big Boy plant looks great, too:


We have three bell pepper plants this year. Two of them are in one box:


And the other is sharing a box with the zucchini. It's already got some little baby bumps:



So far everything looks great! I'm hoping the heat and our next project (painting the house) won't ruin everything. Speaking of house painting, here's the colours we're considering:



We don't have the name or company of the original house colours, so mom and I picked up a few paint chips at Home Depot to see if we could find something similar. On this particular paint chip, the lightest blue, Stargazer, is really close to the colour the house already is, and the slightly darker colour, Casual Blue, is what I'd like for the accent colour. Our neighbour will be doing the painting (the same neighbour who built our awesome fence last year) and he might be able to find the original paint colours and match them even better than the samples mom and I picked up. I don't really care so long as the house gets a nice new coat of paint!