How to Increase Traffic to Your Blog

 How to Increase Traffic to Your Blog

(Otherwise known as a BLOG HOP!)


If anyone out there has any great Vitamix recipes to link up, please do. I finally gave in and invested in one! I never thought I'd spend over $300 on a blender, but it seemed like such a healthy TTC tool (and, hopefully, we'll be able to use it for homemade baby food). If you've been on the fence too, they're offering free shipping this month, which saves $25. My credit card also has a 5% cash back offer for online purchases in December, so that helped a bit too. The one I have coming is a refurbished Vitamix 5200.

Please, please, please be worth the money!

ABQ Airport Shenanigans


Waiting at the airport.

Flight before us is missing 1 passenger.

Many announcements with her name.

Final call.

More announcements.

"Will so-and-so please make their way to the gate?"

Plane leaving.

Guess what?

The missing woman was sitting there THE ENTIRE TIME. She was playing with her phone and not paying attention. Somehow, she didn't hear her name or notice that every person sitting around her had left.


Now she's creating a scene, yelling at the gate attendant because no one called her!

Merry Xmas to My Bloggy Friends!

I am watching The Price is Right while waiting to go over to my grandparents house. It has been forever since I've watched this. Did Drew Carey lose weight? One woman won a car, but the other contestants seem baffled by how to play. Maybe 2013 will finally be the year I get to compete.

Sexy Nerd just made me coffee with caramel creamer! What a perfect Christmas.

I wish you all a cozy, happy holiday!


Blog Hop! Link Up Your Faves


It's the final weekend before Christmas. Are you ready?

Perhaps you have things that you should really be taking care of before wasting time online.

Yeah, me too.

That said, I'm looking forward to reading everyone's posts!

(And, if you would be so kind as to comment on a few posts, letting the blogger know you found them through LambAround, that would be greatly appreciated. It can be your Christmas gift to me!)


Last Minute Gift Ideas



The holidays are in full swing. I'm pretty sure we should be coming up on Thanksgiving soon - this year really got away from me! No more procrastinating though. Now is a great time to add extra dazzle to your daily look. With Fekkai's luxurious line of high-end hair products, you're going to look amazing at all those office parties and family get-togethers.

And, of course it doesn't hurt to save some money in the process! LambAround readers can use the Fekkai coupon code HEADBAND at fekkai.com to get 10% off their order. You'll also receive an exclusive holiday headband (hence the clever coupon code, right?) with a Fekkai purchase of $50 or more, while supplies last. A Fekkai coupon is nice, but you're all such super duper blog followers that you deserve a Fekkai coupon and a free bonus gift! You're welcome. ;)

What can top this? I just checked the fekkai website and it looks like they're also offering free shipping and free samples! Yaaaaay!

What might you buy with your Fekkai coupon? Here are a few of the nifty gifties that caught my eye (hint, hint, Sexy Nerd):

(For anyone looking for last minute Christmas ideas, I've heard this is one of Fekkai's best sellers.)

The gift ideas listed above are budget friendly. However, if you're really looking to splurge, you can always order the Fekkai Ageless Overnight Hair Repair, which is described as "Anti-aging for your hair. Restores hair's intrinsic strength, structure and vitality." It has perfect 5 star reviews. It had better, since it costs $195!
Only $175.50 with Fekkai coupon code HEADBAND

I'm afraid my budget this year is only going to allow for some of the $9 items on the Fekkai site. If someone out there is feeling particularly generous though, my hair could use some anti-aging TLC!

Is There Such a Thing as a Relaxing Vacation?

Vacation Day #2 - Waikiki, HI

Nothing had been going right on our vacation. Our Southwest flight from Albuquerque was late to depart because a plane had been struck by lightening. We landed in Las Vegas, then sat on the backed up runway another 30 minutes. We called our hotel for their courtesy shuttle and we waited. And waited. A follow up call revealed that they had forgotten to send the shuttle to pick us up. 
By the time we finally made it to our hotel room, it was after midnight. It seemed best to scrap our idea of walking to the strip for our one and only night in Vegas and just go to bed.

But things were going to go better now that we were in Hawaii!

We pulled up to our hotel, the Wyndham Royal Garden at Waikiki, and it was nicer than we had expected. Actually, it was probably one of the nicest hotels we have every stayed in! A friendly valet instructed us to reverse out of their parking area until after we were checked in. He guided us into a spot in front of the hotel where we could zip in, then return to be valet parked once we were settled. Inside, the hotel lobby was gorgeous! Enormous, sparkling chandeliers lead the way to the reception desk, where we received prompt, cheerful service. Our vacation had gotten off on the wrong foot, but clearly we were just getting all the badness out of the way.


Checked in, we turned around just in time to see a parking enforcement officer place a ticket on our rental car!

Blog Hop! Share Your Favorite Posts


It's 3am and I'm wide awake. Hooray for idiopathic insomnia!


Methinks I will schedule this post for a more reasonable hour. What's the best time of day to post on a blog? Mealsothinks that methinks is a pretty cool word.

Merriam-Webster was with me on methinks, but isn't going for smooshing 'me also thinks' into one kick a$$ word. I suppose it does look like something to do with a meal.

Does a banana count as a meal if you eat it at breakfast time?

Is it still breakfast if you eat it at 3am?

Methinks you might be reading the ramblings of a crazy person. I'd better go back to bed.

Have a fun weekend, bloggy friends!

Christmas Wishes from Crazy People

I've seen some fairly outrageous shopping suggestions in Elle Decor, such as $10,000 sofas and $500 throw pillows. However, there's a holiday gift suggestion in their latest issue that can't be topped.

It's a "Jam Pot with Bent Spoon" from Asprey, which is a company I'm unfamiliar with. I guess I'm too poor.
 At only $925, it's a real bargain.

Think how delighted your gift recipient will be! Mostly because I imagine it would be pretty nice to have such a rich friend.

One who doesn't even know that jam already comes in a perfectly good jar when you buy it.

Or that any spoon - better yet, a knife - will do the job just fine.

Man, I would take that friend for all they had. I'd be like, "Yay! A jam jar! But, oh, if only I could afford the jam to put inside. That stuff is super expensive. And I'll never be able to afford a little bread plate, making it impossible to use your otherwise completely practical gift. Speaking of which, have you seen how the price of bread has skyrocketed lately?"

Side note: If someone did actually give me this insane jam jar, I would be too afraid to ever use it. How bad would you feel after accidentally dropping a $925 piece of glass? That's like a sit-in-your-garage-parked-car-with-the-engine-running mood inducing catastrophe.

Silly Elle Decor.

Side, side note: When I showed my brother my new Chevy Volt, the very first thing he pointed out was that it must be a lot harder to kill yourself in an electric car. Perhaps worse, this seemed like a normal thing for him to say. Worse yet, I had already given that some thought and explained to him that you just need to drain the battery first, then it functions like a typical deadly vehicle.

Happy holidays!

Link Up to Increase Traffic to Your Blog


The blog party is off to an ever-so-slightly early start this weekend. It's so fun to see all the unique links! Frankly, I just couldn't wait any longer.

Our new laminate flooring is almost finished. It was hard work. You know, all that supervising and stepping around Sexy Nerd's construction mess isn't an easy job.

But I bet you stopped by today for something else.

What's the #1 fastest and easiest way to have your blog post featured on the LambAround Pinterest board? Sharing your work here, of course!

Link up to all the blog posts you've worked so hard on lately. You're bound to find a great post or two (or three, or four...) as well.

Trade In Value of 2013 Chevy Volt = Who Knows

Who else out there has left a car dealership spitting mad because of a sexist salesman? Apparently, it's impossible to trade in a 2013 vehicle because they're too new. And I couldn't possibly get a value estimate based on a 2012, just to give me an idea of what mine might be. Oh no. That would be crazy!

The email I sent to Chevrolet:

I would like to give feedback on Galles Chevrolet at 1601 Lomas Blvd NE in Albuquerque, NM. When I bought my 2013 Volt last month, I went into the dealership wanting a fully loaded Volt, with heated seats, leather, Bose speakers, navigation, etc. Unfortunately, the only 2 on the lot were base models. When I asked my salesman, Bo Galles, if he could order one for me or have one sent from another dealership, I was told that wasn't something they do and that if I didn't make my purchase right then and there, the offer he'd made me would be withdrawn. Bo Galles also told me that it would hurt me on resale to get leather seats because it's very undesirable in our hot climate, then he showed me on his computer that there were no Volts in the entire state with navigation. He convinced me that it was better to settle for the available Volt because I "was getting such a good deal". I have been regretful of my decision to purchase my base model Volt ever since.  Today, while waiting for my Volt to be serviced, I decided to take advantage of the signs posted throughout the dealership, stating that its easy to get a trade-in estimate, and inquired on the trade-in value of my base model Volt toward a fully loaded Volt. The man I talked to was HORRIBLE! He brushed off my reference to the NADA value, saying NADA is just fake numbers with no real world application. Then, he scoffed at my claim that I was paying about $600 a month, saying it must be over $800, and marched off to look up my details on his computer. He still hadn't shown any interest in trying to get an estimate for me, but instead tried to sell me gap insurance, saying that it was "stupid" that I hadn't purchased it. It felt like the salesman was being condescending and wasn't taking me seriously. Our discussion escalated to the point of almost yelling at each other and I eventually stormed back to the service area to wait for my Volt. One of your nice salesmen, Jesus Castillo, who had witnessed our interaction, immediately came over to see if I was alright. He was very helpful and suggested upgrades I could make to my existing Volt, which I appreciated. I didn't get the name of the rude salesman, but Jesus Castillo will know who I talked to. I also received help from Leonard Garcia, who I had met before, and who is always wonderful to deal with. I hope you will address these issues with your Galles Chevrolet dealership. Thank you.

 
There are two messages from the "Chevy Volt Advisory Committee" on my phone.




Not Ready for Thanksgiving! Not Ready! Not Ready!

Sexy Nerd and I are so super smart. You see, with a mere 1 weekend to go before our house guests arrive for Thanksgiving, we had the genius idea to completely redo our upstairs flooring.

Super smart!

Now, with less than 24 hours before our company arrives, here is guest bedroom #1:


You don't even want to see guest bedroom #2!

What's that, you say? At least the new flooring is done? Ha!

Sexy Nerd worked to a certain point, then decided to pile the already cut up/mangled/destroyed old carpet back onto the floor in several, duct-taped layers. I wish I were joking.

Oh, and that damn green dolly has made its way back into the house. It's just going to sit in our loft, being a jerk, until I move it back into the garage. That's how the green dolly is. Very inconsiderate!

Sexy Nerd put cardboard underneath his carpet layers.
I don't know why.

Speaking of jerks, check out what happened to the old carpet padding that was waiting to be loaded into Sexy Nerd's truck:
 
From now on, I'm calling Pica a Jerk Russell.


She's trying to look all cute and sorry for what she did, but all the while she's plotting a way to get herself more of the apparently delicious carpet padding.

The point of this post, however, has nothing at all to do with flooring or guests or Pica dogs. I'm not sure what even gave you that idea. And not to worry, Sexy Nerd's parents, brother, sister-in-law, and our little baby niece will probably have a comfy enough place to stay for the next 3 nights. I'm totally planning a mad cleaning frenzy for after this blog post is completed.
This post is about the highlight of my week, which was the best chocolate pie ever.

Okay, it's possible that I may have gotten slightly off topic with everything written before this. Try to stick with me though.

Behold - the pie! (and cue impressed sounds from the audience)


Ooooh!


Aaaah!

Isn't that the most ridiculously insane pie you've ever seen? A dentist in town dropped it off at my office and we divvied it up. I've been tempted to ask for the recipe, but Sexy Nerd and I are planning to begin a TTC diet in April and there's no way I would be able to stick to it if I knew how to make this. Heck, if I knew now, I would have made this chocolate pie at least twice just while writing this blog post.

Okay, now I really should get going. Those guest rooms aren't going to clean themselves. Though, if I ignore the mess long enough, maybe Sexy Nerd will take care of it on his own. The guests are his family, after all.

And, yes, I did just let the cat the Jerk Russell (love that!) out of the bag just now by mentioning our TTC plans. It's all part of being an evil genius. This Thanksgiving, we'll see how many of our friends and family members actually read my blog like they say. Muah ha ha!

Link Up! Share Your Favorite Posts


No, our house is not clean and ready for Thanksgiving company yet.

While cleaning last Sunday afternoon, we had the *brilliant* idea to redo the flooring upstairs, including in both guest bedrooms.

I'll give you a moment to let that sink in...

So smart of us!

No, our house is not clean and ready for Thanksgiving company yet.

I'm not going to let a little detail like a lack of flooring stop me from enjoying this weekend's Not "Baaad" Sundays blog hop. The baby that will be staying with us will probably be fine! Now, let's link up!


YOGA - Attempt 1

On Halloween, I attended my 1st yoga class ever, which was part of a 30 class Groupon. Okay, my 1st 'any sort of exercise' class ever. It kicked my butt!

I'm not sure who Sharon Gannon is, but her quote doesn't apply to me.

At all.

While I'd love to discredit the entire experience as being a little too hippy dippy - the instructor was a man wearing pink bunny ears, we spent a great deal of time playing with a ball of electric energy we'd created between our hands, and the experience ended with a "sharing circle" and a hug - it was a much harder workout than I'd been expecting. I must have been the youngest person there by at least a couple decades, but geez, those little old yoga ladies are limber!

With the lights dimmed and soft music playing, we laid on the floor and raised our legs in some sort of relaxing breathing exercise. Simple, right? I could not get my legs to stop shaking! The instructor came over and lowered my legs below the level of the other students, saying that would be easier for me. Then he lowered my still twitchy legs more. Finally, he said I could just lie flat on the floor.

Next, all the little old yoga ladies reached out to hold their still elevated ankles. I tried and barely made it to my knees!

And the next day? EVERYWHERE HURT! I even skipped my annual post-Halloween hunt for free pumpkins and discount Halloween candy.

Just 29 classes to go.

Oh, and I never did get the 'electrical energy between my hands' thing. That 10 minutes was spent glancing around the room and copying the hand motions of my classmates. Like a boss!

Link Up to Increase Traffic to Your Blog


The blog party is off to an ever-so-slightly early start this weekend. It's so fun to see all the unique links! Frankly, I just couldn't wait any longer.

Our new laminate flooring is almost finished. It was hard work. You know, all that supervising and stepping around Sexy Nerd's construction mess isn't an easy job.

But I bet you stopped by today for something else.

What's the #1 fastest and easiest way to have your blog post featured on the LambAround Pinterest board? Sharing your work here, of course!

Link up to all the blog posts you've worked so hard on lately. You're bound to find a great post or two (or three, or four...) as well.

Best Halloween Costume Ever

Until 6th grade, I was a cat every year. I finally switched things up when I saw a picnic table costume in an American Girl magazine. That's right. For Halloween, I went trick-or-treating as a picnic table, complete with paper plates and baggies of chips hot glued on.

Wanting to outdo myself, the next year I was a mama cat trying to sell her babies. Sure, it sounds horrible now, but I remember it looking so cute in that 1997 American Girl magazine.

I'm pleased to declare that 2012 was the year of my Best Costume Ever! Unbeknownst to her ahead of time, I went as my Halloween-loving coworker, Marie, complete with blond wig and her stolen name tag. It must have been meant to be, because she came in wearing the exact same pair of Halloween socks, purely by coincidence!

Now I just need to figure out a way to top this next year. And don't get any funny ideas, Marie. I'll be taking my name tag home with me before Halloween, 2013!

Time for a Blog Party!


I hate to break it to you, but if you're like us and have company staying with you for Thanksgiving, you only have 2 more weekends after this to get your house into shape.

I'm not ready! I'm not ready!

Now, to spend one of my last weekends wasting time and not cleaning a darn thing.

2013 Chevy Volt Review

I love my new Chevy Volt!


How much? Well, not quite enough to be bothered to take a sexy photo of it outside, but still a lot.

No hitting the garage wall for this Volt!
Her name is Stealth.

It was almost Zazzles, because she's so zazzy, but Sexy Nerd didn't get the reference.


When you get into the driver's seat, the Volt plays a tune and welcoming graphic to greet you.



Preparing for lift off...



2013 Chevy Volt Pros and Cons

PROS:
  • I've driven over 500 miles and have used 2 gallons of gas. TWO!
  • It recharges as I drive, resulting in an average electric range of about 50 miles before changing over to gas.
  • When the Volt does make the switch to gasoline, it's completely seamless. You can't tell at all.
  • There are 4 different driving settings to choose from.
  • I can command the car to do cool things with the voice recognition feature, like tune to a specific radio station, find a song by title, or call my husband. I've spent the last 10 years driving a base model Oldsmobile Alero, so these were all new to me.
  • Sport Mode. It's slightly less efficient, but oh so fun! Who wants to drag race my Volt?
  • Recharging couldn't be simpler. The included charger plugs into our garage wall (no rewiring or anything like that needed).
  • The 2013 Volt includes 3 years of OnStar at no additional charge.
  • The touch screen includes an option to display your photos. The Volt can also look up movie times and give you the weather forecast with fancy graphics.
  • I was able to put all of my MP3s onto a 64GB thumb drive. Plugged into the Volt, I now have my entire music collection available without ever having to change a CD.
  • The price! Everyone online complains that the Chevy Volt is too expensive, but when you sit down and do the math, it really doesn't cost much more than a similarly equipped Toyota Prius. We'll be getting an extra $8500 back with our tax return ($7500 federal incentive and an additional $1000 from New Mexico), plus Chevy took off $2000 and the dealer dropped another $1000 and threw in free window tinting. We also received 0% interest for 5 years with no down payment. What's not to love?
  • The Chevy Volt is a perfect car for road trips. When you run out of electric charge, you still get 40mpg.
  • The pearl accents on the console and inside the doors remind me of a giant iPod. Very sleek!
  • There are lots of thoughtful little touches, like a handle for pulling the trunk closed, a little rectangular compartment in the center console for things like gift cards and ID, illuminated mirrors, a "gentle" horn option for people who are walking in front of you but don't know to move because the Volt is super-silent, and an umbrella/flashlight holder inside each front door.
  • It's not a Prius. Although I like them, everyone drives a Prius. I was hoping for something a bit more unique for my new car.
  • You can't lock your keys in the car. Thank goodness! There is no key to stick into the ignition, just a Start button, so it's easy to throw your Volt remote into the cup holder when you get in and accidentally leave it there when you get out.
  • When our new house is built, the car will be extra "green" because it will be charged with solar power.
  • MyVolt.com allows you to check on your car from online. You can see the charging status and, if you've been having any problems, you can even run diagnostics.
  • Free parking! This may not apply to everyone, but in downtown Albuquerque, there are free chargers for electric vehicles that include free parking while you're plugged in. I'm told the same is true for Santa Fe.
  • The base model includes all the bells and whistles: power everything, touch screen, XM radio, tire pressure sensor, steering wheel controls, Bluetooth, etc.
CONS:
  • People are put off by the price. I think GM would have had more success selling the Volt under the Cadillac name. 
Okay, I do have more cons, but they're really just for my own personal preference. The Volt looks a lot like the Cruze, Malibu, and Impala. I'd prefer my new car to look more unique. The antenna looks cheap. In my Alero, the antenna was built into the back window (though, I wonder if this might not have been a practical option for the Volt because of interference from all the electrical doodads).

I wish I'd gotten the Volt in silver instead of gray. The color looks nice now, especially with the tinted windows, but I'm worried that it will show dirt and scratches more than the lighter color. Also, I've been kicking myself for not upgrading to heated leather seats and Bose speakers. Sexy Nerd and the salesman told me that I would regret getting leather seats in New Mexico because they would get too hot. Nonsense!

I'm prone to buyer's remorse with every purchase though. How badly? I'm still miffed about a squash I was overcharged for at the farmer's market last month (they owe me 15 cents!) Other than a few "would've, should've, could've" thoughts about my Volt, it's a great car!

BLOG HOP! Share Your Best Posts


What a week! I lost ALL MY FILES, including our photos from all our last trips (Australia included). I tried everything to get them back, gave up, cried, and tried more online suggestions that did nothing. My last ditch effort, a little free app (Photo something?) was able to save the day, albeit with one tiny problem.

All my photos are now mixed and matched across 50 or so random folders. When we're talking about over 10,000 photos that had previously been carefully categorized, it's a huge mess.

Still, at least I have my photos!


It's Always Time for Cookies

Forget October. Apparently, everyone is already geared up for Christmas. My local Lowe's has featured a mixed display of creepy haunted house decor and electronic reindeer for several weeks. Most telling of all, my silly snowman cookies post has jumped to the #1 spot on my blog.

Feliz Navidad from SeƱor Marshallito!

Today seems like as good a day as any for Christmas cookie baking. Ooh, and maybe a little bit of cake baking too. It's Saturday at 6:38am and I'm dreaming of sugary treats. This might be a very high calorie weekend!

Best New Car Ever!!

Yes, two exclamation marks in that title. My new car is just that awesome.

I impulsively bought it last Friday. $0 down and no interest for 5 years. Best of all?

I've driven it over 200 miles and have only used 0.1 gallons of gas. Not a typo!

Does anyone out there have a guess about what kind of new car I've purchased?


Love it, love it, love it!

BLOG HOP! Not "Baaad" Sundays


Yaaaaaawn! Just another sleepy weekend, killing time on Pinterest.

Check-In Awkwardness at the Royal Garden Inn, Waikiki, HI

Sometimes, I wonder if instead of trying to get a grip on my social anxiety, I should perhaps embrace it wholeheartedly.

The man at the Royal Garden Inn front desk was quite friendly, chatting with Sexy Nerd and helping us get settled in Waikiki. 

He asked if we've been to Oahu before and Sexy Nerd said yes, about 5 years ago, to get married. The conversation and check-in process continued.

Hotel Clerk, looking at me and talking to Sexy Nerd: Well, since you've been to Hawaii before, you can show her around the island.

Sexy Nerd: She's been here before too. *Awkward Pause* That's who I married.

And there I was, my mind flooded with thoughts along the lines of "DUH!"

Out on the Royal Garden Inn balcony, my hand to my forehead as I recall that bizarre social interaction.

Blog Hop! Share Your Posts


I had a terrific time in Santa Fe last weekend, especially at the farmer's market. I'm glad I got off my lazy rear and actually ventured out of the house.

Perhaps this weekend will involve another fun adventure...even if it means leaving Mr. Lazy/Crazy Sexy Nerd at home!


Adventurous Eating in Australia

Okay, so this is probably not going to sound "adventurous" to most people, but for me, it's huge.

While in Brisbane, I ate several calamari and one prawn.

In Perth, I ate salmon, in actual salmon form! No tarter sauce or anything.

I've never been a seafood person. I think I deserve a few kudos for venturing outside of my picky eating bubble. Don't you agree?

Calamari = Disturbingly similar appearance, taste, and texture to the rubber bands used for my braces

Prawns = Not the same thing as crawfish, which is what I was expecting to be served (super relieved, as I'd already agreed to try one!) Extra bonus that their creepy eyes had been removed

Salmon = Convinced myself I was eating chicken. Not bad this way! Accidentally flipped over the skin underneath the salmon to reveal iridescent fishy scales. Gave the rest to Sexy Nerd 

This handsome fella (love the nails!) tried to steal some of our picnic lunch in Perth.

Our American ducks seem so dull now.

Blog Hop! Link Up


I think I might be spending today in Santa Fe.

Getting to Know My Family...Oh Dear!

Day 2 in Perth, WA

Heard a concerning sound while eating my cinnamon raisin toast for breakfast this morning. Birds here sound like car alarms and laughing monkeys, but it didn't quite seem like a bird. Was it Lucy, the dog? Was something wrong with her? Whatever could it be??

Actually, it was my Seychellois grandpa ("Papa") singing in the shower.


Sexy Nerd also pointed out to me that Papa's ears wiggle when he talks. Bizarre!

BLOG HOP! Increase Traffic To Your Site

After a long week of feeling sick, getting over insomnia and jetlag, and getting a TWO HOUR braces adjustment (eep!), let's end on a high note and party it up with another Not "Baaad" Sundays blog hop! Remember, this is not just another run-of-the-mill linky.

1. This blog hop is open to all posts that you are proud of. Did you recently post about a great decorating project, craft, or recipe? That's wonderful if you did, but just fine if you didn't. I just want you to link to a post or posts you are proud of.

2. Do you ever find yourself trying not to duplicate posts on blog hops but aren't quite sure what you posted the previous weeks? Problem solved! The Linky from today will return in the future, making it easy to see what you've posted before (and giving you a 2nd chance to visit any great posts you may have missed!)

Good times, right? Of course, I do ask that you link directly to your post and include a photo from that post, not just your blog logo. And if you could post my Not "Baaad" Sundays button or at the very least a link with your post, well that would be just dandy!





And no linking and leaving, you party poopers! Please get out there and visit some of your fellow linked bloggers. Send some warm wishes around the interwebs.

Still Alive, Thankyouverymuch

Pinterest gold, right here.

We broke up our flight to Australia with a few nights in Hawaii, which eased us into our new time zone so gently that neither of us suffered any jet lag. This was much to the surprise of my family members in Australia, who had expected us to be zombies. Traveling home from Australia, however, we went straight from Sydney to Albuquerque. You know, with several hours to kill stuck inside the Nadi, Fiji airport and LAX.

34+ hours without sleep.

Home at midnight. Back to work immediately.

Add in the fun bonus of a cold I seem to have caught while flying and you have one grouchy, headachey, TIRED space cadet.

Plus, don't forget my idiopathic insomnia. That's right. In addition to not being able to sleep on any of our flights, including the 10 hour overnighter, I have barely been able to sleep since we returned home.

Over a week ago!

Which brings me (finally) to the point of this post. The other night I didn't nod off until almost 4am. I had to get up at 7am for work, so after tossing and turning for hours, I was fortunate to get to sleep at all. Then, shortly before 5am, I awoke to a strange sound.

Sexy Nerd was away on a business trip. He couldn't have made the noise. Was it our house alarm? Was someone breaking in while I was home alone? I shot up in bed.

I waited, listening, but everything was quiet. It wasn't the security alarm. Had I just dreamed that there was a sound? I closed my eyes and tried to fall asleep.

BEEP!

Eyes open again. Was the sound coming from upstairs with me?

BEEP!

The smoke detector! Yes, that always beeps when the battery is running low. I figured I'd hop out of bed, disconnect the stupid thing, and try to get back to sleep. I staggered over to our bedroom smoke detector and looked at the ceiling. 

BEEP!

The smoke detector was fine. The sound was coming from outside the room. Exhausted and cursing, I threw open the door and glared into the dark loft. Nothing out there should be beeping.

BEEP!

I looked up at the carbon monoxide detector on the ceiling, which had a red flashing light. The source of the beeps! I buried my fists into my eyes and stomped my feet in an exasperated tantrum, then turned on the light and dragged a chair over from the guest bedroom. Standing on it, I could read whatever was written next to the flashing light and make the horrible beeping cease. Next, I could go back to bed. Not that much time had passed, really. There was still some hope that I would be able to fall back to sleep and get my remaining 2 hours before work.

Next to the flashing red light: If flashing, seek fresh air immediately.

To which I, of course, yelled to the empty house: ARE YOU F@C&ING KIDDING ME?!
 
There was no carbon monoxide. That would be ridiculous. Still, just to be on the safe side, I opened the nearest window and took a deep breath, then called Sexy Nerd's cell phone. If I can't sleep, no one is going to sleep! He assured me that the beeping was just a low battery warning and that I should go back to bed. I did.

Then, I got back up and set to work opening every window in our house, just in case. Despite it raining outside.

Back to bed, followed by one more trip to close most of the windows, fearing water damage and scary people who break into homes through open windows. Only when you're home alone, of course.

Later that morning, I went to work on less than 1 hour of sleep. You had the 3 entire weeks while we were away to act up, carbon monoxide detector! You couldn't have at least had your spazz-out moment prior to 4am?!

Ugh.

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Back from a slight, unintentional hiatus!

Sorry for the couple of skipped weekends, everyone. We spent the last 3 weeks in Hawaii and Australia (and technically Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Fiji, and Samoa too - world traveler style!) Being the kind of die-hard procrastinator that keeps self helpers awake at night, my plan was to schedule these blog hops while away.
 Petting a young kangaroo at the Peel Zoo. Oh, the cuteness!

It turns out, however, that wireless internet is a completely different animal on the other side of the world. I was sure the hotels we stayed in had advertised free wi-fi. At the very least, the Sydney International Airport would have it, especially since most airlines require you to arrive a ridiculous 3 hours before an international flight.

Nope.

But enough about that. Now...

Getting Into Trouble Down Under

$50 tickets! I wasn't sure how the "limited view" seats on the sides of the Sydney Opera House would do, but they were fine. My advice for next time would be to choose the corner seats, even if it means not sitting side by side with your group, and to go for further back on the lower row.
The photo below was taken from my seat at the Sydney Opera House before the show...right before the usher scolded me for breaking the no photos rule (and right before Sexy Nerd said "I told you so").
See the orchestra? The stage pulls back at the start of the show and after intermission and you can see everyone.
Worth it.

Jet-Lagged Like Crazy

We just returned from Australia.

Over 34 hours traveling without sleep = super duper jet lag ridiculousness. I went to bed around 6pm, straight after work (HA! What kind of maniac agrees to come in to work just a few hours after returning from Australia? I'm nuts). I woke up at 9:30am. Still sooooo sleepy.

Just wanted to share a quick photo before heading back to work. Way happy that I don't have to go in at my usual time today.

While visiting my family in Western Australia, Sexy Nerd insisted I take this photo of him at the Peel Zoo, standing by the "Red-Necked" Wallaby sign.


*rolls eyes*

Flooring Ideas


Ever since we purchased our 13.1 acre (gotta get credit for that extra 0.1 acre!) lot outside of Albuquerque last year, Sexy Nerd and I have devoted most of our free time to planning our mountain dream home.

We cannot make a decision about anything. At this point, it seems our best option would be to build a row of townhomes, each in a completely different style. On Monday, we would live in our colorful Victorian home, and later in the week we could switch things up in our ultra-contemporary, all concrete house.

Since I can't imagine our neighborhood HOA (or our budget) ever allowing such a thing, we really do need to narrow down our list of ideas.

Flooring is a tough choice. In our current home, we have premium laminate flooring. It stands up well against our rambunctious dogs, but is easily damaged if you unknowingly drip water onto it and let it sit, like by the dog's water bowl and the dishwasher. We also have real wood flooring on our stairs and our bedroom sitting area, but it scratches easily. Simply put, real wood and laminate are both off our list.

Which leads me to...

Ceramic tiles that look like wood!

It would be even more convincing if the grout matched the tile, right?

I'm seriously considering this for our dream home. It seems like it would be easy to maintain - no scratches or water damage. Our other top ideas right now are travertine tiles, which we currently have in our master bathroom, and stained concrete. We've come across these "wood" tiles on home tours before and have liked how they look in person.

But still...tiles that look like wood? Are these really dream home material??

Does anyone out there think this flooring will seem dated in a few years? Once it's in, I'm too cheap to change it!

*2016 Update*
We've seen wood tile dozens of times now and I still love it. There are options that are textured and that come in wide "planks". (Is it still considered a wood plank if it's not really wood?) I've visited homes that have this tile and I swear it's real wood every time. I sometimes even have to touch the floor to make sure. You can even use wood tile in other applications, like on a fireplace or to create a statement wall. It's super trendy right now, which has me thinking we should not use it, lest it be like linoleum 10 years from now.

Also, can you believe I still haven't decided on a tile for our floor?? When I said I was having difficulty making up my mind, that was no exaggeration!

*Another Update*
If you're considering using wood tile on the wall (or even the ceiling...is that possible?) Spring Harvest from Coronado Stone is now my #1 choice:

 It looks so real!

Dream Home Dreaming

It has become apparent that designing and building our dream home is going to cause a bit of stress on our relationship. I showed Sexy Nerd the following photo:


Not too shabby, right? Our real-life view on our 13.1 acre lot in the New Mexico mountains isn't going to include any other houses. This seems like a realistic idea to me. Sexy Nerd, however, says that my dream balcony is "not being practical and would never fit into our budget".

Yesterday, he caught a glimpse of a photo I had liked on Pinterest. "Send that to me!" he said. I rolled my eyes. "Really," he insisted. "I'm going to incorporate that into our house design."

The photo?

Really, Sexy Nerd? Really?
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