Saturday, October 29, 2011


Hmmm...Could I live in Houston?  I know nothing about the city.  I don't think I have any friends there.  I even had to look it up on a map to remember where in Texas the city actually was.

There it is!  Near the coast, east of San Antonio (where I used to live!) and south-east of Austin, where I know people and where I definitely wouldn't mind living.  It's really far away from Denver, Colorado, over 1000 miles away!

A few fun facts:  Houston is the fourth largest city in the United States, behind New York, LA, and Chicago.  The cost of living is 9% below the national average and the housing costs are 21% below the national average.  Houston is considered the energy capital of the world.  Houston is home to 23 Fortune 500 companies; only New York is home to more.  It has among the youngest populations in the nation.  Like the rest of Texas, it is hot and humid in Houston.  Though when I looked at the average temps for the year, it didn't look too bad.  The coldest months, of course are November - March, with lows in the 40s and 50s and highs in the 60s and low-70s.  That's positively balmy to a Denver native!  June, July, and August are the hottest months, with highs in the 90s and lows in the high-70s.  Not really all that different than Denver, though I know humidity is a serious factor there.  The highest recorded temp was 106, in August 1962 and the lowest recorded temp was 9 in December 1989.  Every month averages over 3" of precipitation, with June averaging over 7".

It looks like a pretty city.  There seems to be things to do there.  And even during this summer's crazy heat wave, Houston didn't register an all-time record high.  It seems more diverse than Denver.  There is a Junior League that I could join to meet people and get involved in the community.

You may wonder why I'm talking about Houston.  I recently ran into a rep that I used to do a lot of business with and I've known her for many years.  I first met her when I worked at Oakwood Homes and she knew that I wasn't exactly happy at that job.  She knew of another local company that designed model homes in-house that was hiring a new designer.  Because she recommended it to me and recommended me to them (and because I'm good! :)), I got the job.  That then lead to the best, most successful job I have ever had.  When I saw her at this luncheon, we got to talking and I mentioned that I wasn't the happiest at my current job.  She asked if I'd be willing to move to Houston?  She said that her sister, who has a thriving interior design firm down there, is always looking for good designers and she'd recommend me to her sister.  YAY!  I had basically given up on Texas because all the jobs I saw required that somebody be NCIDQ certified, which I'm not.  See my post about NCIDQ and its costs here.  But apparently, this company would not require it, so that's good news.

I'm probably putting the cart before the horse here, but before I sent my resume and portfolio to someone, I needed to really think seriously about moving to a new city.  I think I could do it.  My parents joked that they wouldn't want to visit me there because it's so hot and humid, but I know they wouldn't be able to stay away from their grand-puppy, Lulu.  :)  I think it could be a fun adventure.  I'll send my stuff out and keep you all updated.  Eeekkk!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

New Guilty Pleasure

I've become addicted to watching the drama on this new reality show, Dirty Soap.  It's on E! and follows daytime soap stars in their real lives.  All of the people are inter-connected.  There's Jenna & Galen Gering - Galen is on Days of Our Lives and Jenna is his wife of more than ten years (she's the only one not on tv).  Then Kirsten Storms, who once played Belle on DOOL, but is now on General Hospital.  Then Kelly Monaco who is Sam on General Hospital and who was the first winner of Dancing with the Stars.  Then Brandon Beemer & Nadia Bjorlin, he was once Brady on DOOL and is now on The Bold and the Beautiful and she was Chloe on DOOL, they've been together for many years.  Lastly there's John-Paul Lavoisier and Farah Fath, another couple who've been together for years, they're both from the now cancelled One Life to Live and previously Farah was Mimi on DOOL.

There's all sorts of ridiculous drama, but it's oh-so-fun to watch!  Jenna has serious issues with Galen's on-screen love life with Allison Sweeney.  Galen is un-ruffle-able, always calm, even when his 2-year old son locked himself in a room and Galen had to break into the room through the locked balcony doors.  Kirsten Storms seems like a not very nice person.  They only person in her family that she speaks to is her brother and has some serious issues with her former BFF, Farah.  Kelly Monaco is dealing with the break-up of a 18-year relationship while her character on the show actually gets married - not fun.  Brandon Beemer (who is seriously HOT) loves Nadia, but Nadia's mom doesn't approve of him.  Nadia is dealing with leaving DOOL and starting a movie career, I'm not sure if it's big screen movies or made-for-tv movies.  John-Paul and Farah are dealing with the end of their show, moving to LA from NYC, the future of their relationship (marriage?) and being back in a city where Kirsten and Farah can't seem to co-exist peacefully.

Part of the reason I like this show so much is because I used to watch Days of Our Lives faithfully.  Seriously.  For probably 15 years.  So I knew a lot of these characters.  Belle and Mimi were BFFs on the show (and in real life), so it's really interesting to watch Farah and Kristen's non-relationship now.  I particularly like watching the couple dynamics between Brandon and Nadia and Farah and John-Paul.  I'm constantly irritated with Jenna Gering.  I don't like Kirsten much.  And Kelly is interesting to get to know.

We'll see if I continue to like it.  Sometimes I get annoyed with reality shows quickly and stop watching, but this one might be different.

On a sort of same note, at the Junior League Holiday Mart this weekend, I met Kristian Alfonso - Hope Brady on Days of Our Lives!  She was so nice and didn't mind that I was a total fan-girl.  :)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Coolest Bookshelf Ever!

This bookshelf is from Linteloo, a company in The Netherlands.  It is called Nureyev.  And it is fabulous!  It's over 6' tall and is 3 1/2' in diameter.  It has little cubbies of different sizes for all your books.  And it rotates!  So cool!

We recently installed this in a client's home and it is absolutely perfect for him and the location.  I had to mount a serious search to find this and then we had to wait forever for it to get here from The Netherlands.  It's not cheap either, I think it retails for $8000 or $9000, maybe even closer to $10,000.  But it's a total conversation piece as well as functional, so I think our client feels it was worth it!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Which Dishes?

I need new dishes.  I've needed new dishes for years.  I'm down to five bowls and even one of those is cracked.  I've broken a few plates throughout the years.  And for some reason, when I bought my current dishes, I didn't realized they weren't microwave safe.  They're really not anything special, just cute white ceramic with a raised linear detail on the edges, from Pier 1 Imports.  Why aren't they microwave safe?  Who makes basic dishes that aren't microwave safe?  But really, they aren't.  Thirty seconds in there and they're scalding hot.  Burn the shit out of your hands, but your food's still cold, freaking hot.

And honestly, when I was sure I was going to marry my last boyfriend, I decided that I'd wait until we registered and ask for new dishes that way.  Well, that was years ago now.  And I need new dishes more than ever.  But I can't decide which ones!  I like white, but not plain white.  I need some sort of detail.  Here are the two sets I've narrowed it down to:

These are the Neobaroque dishes from West Elm.  They are lovely and feminine, have a fun scalloped edge detail, and are not too expensive.  The bowl (which you can't see) has the same edge detail as the plates on the side of the bowl.  They're probably a bit delicate, though.

These are the Mercer dishes from Crate & Barrel.  They are much simpler, but not too simple.  They have a textured surface, a cute raised edge, seem more hand-made, and are probably a little more heavy-duty.  They're a little pricier than the Neobaroque, though not much.  And I can't buy them in a set because I don't want the mugs.

Help me decide!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Incandescent Light Bulb "Ban" Update

For some reason my old blog post about lightbulbs is getting more and more views.  Because of that, and because the "ban" hasn't been repealed, I thought I'd do some more research into the issue.  Let me also say that I still feel exactly the same about CFL bulbs.

I originally said that all incandescent lightbulbs were being banned, but that is inaccurate.  There are some exceptions - 3-way bulbs and 40 watt appliance bulbs, just to name a couple.  But any regular incandescent bulb that does not meet the efficiency improvement required by the 2007 law is going away.  There must be at least a 28% savings in energy costs.

I mentioned that LED bulbs would be an option eventually, but that they are still very expensive.  Another option I hadn't thought of (for unknown reasons - maybe I have a subconscious hatred of them that stems from those old halogen floor lamps we had in college that could fry a moth and stink up the entire building?) is the halogen bulb.  Yep, that's a halogen bulb above.  In the traditional incandescent form we're all used to.  Halogen bulbs produce light more similar to the common incandescent bulb, a bit whiter than yellow, but not the cold blue light that comes from CFLs.  They are more efficient for the same amount of light output.  For example, a 40-43 watt halogen = 60 watt incandescent, and a 60-70 watt halogen = 100 watt incandescent.  That is a 28% savings in energy costs.  You got it - exactly what the 2007 law requires!

Halogen bulbs also have a much longer life than incandescent bulbs.  The average incandescent bulb lasts between 750-100 hours.  The average halogen bulb lasts between 2250-3500 hours.  So, even though the halogen may cost a little more than the incandescent, the longer life makes it worth it.  And apparently the above bulb definitely doesn't get hotter than an incandescent bulb and maybe doesn't get hotter than a CFL. I guess frying moths isn't likely to happen.

It's a first - I'm going to recommend an article from Fox News.  I learned a lot from this article.  I also found what is probably the only thing I'm likely to agree with The Tea Party on - the 2007 bill is an example of government overreach.  Check out the article to educate yourself.

I'm going to try out the halogen bulbs and hope that they will be able to replace my old faves.  I'll let you know.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

To Move or Not To Move

I didn't actually think I'd be contemplating moving right now, but I might have to.  I am definitely not a stranger to moving.  In the past 12 years I have lived in 9 different places.  I've lived in my current apartment for almost two years.  So that means that it's about time to renew my lease and lo and behold, the notice showed up on my door this week.

I'm starting to feel a bit more at home here - sometimes it takes a while!  It took me almost a year to get a bed for my guest bedroom and it's only been a couple months since I figured out the rest of that room - courtesy of Ikea.  :)  And though I REALLY dislike not having a washer and dryer in my unit, I'm getting used to it.  The grounds of the complex are generally nice, lots of trees, grass, lots of places to walk the dog.  Though not the most up-to-date facilities and I don't use them much, we've got a pool, tennis and basketball courts, a sand volleyball pit, a couple grills for public use, and a very small gym.  I haven't made many friends but I'm okay with that.  There are quite a few young families - mostly Indian, some older people, nobody is exactly high-class, but nobody is particularly trashy, either.  It generally feels safe here.

My apartment itself had been recently updated when I moved in.  New cabinets in the kitchen and bathroom, new countertops, too.  Newer carpet (though it is still the gross basic apartment carpet) and recently painted.  The lighting had been updated in the bedrooms, bathroom, and hall.  I've got a wood burning fireplace, a large balcony, A/C and a dishwasher, and GREAT closet space.  The square footage is fabulous for the price so I can fit all of my furniture easily.  I mean, really, how many cheap apartments can fit a king size bed in one bedroom and a queen in the other?

So, when that renewal notice came, I was thinking - yah, I'll stay here.  I'll try to get them to replace my windows (they're doing that to some units), or at the least, the window in the master bedroom.  I look totally ghetto because that window won't stay open and I've got a pink rolling pin poked in there to do the job.  :)  I originally thought that I'd renew for another year because that is usually the best rental rate, but for some reason, they're promoting a 10 month lease for less money.  Okay, I can do that.  It would actually end my next lease at a much better time - I mean, who wants to move between Christmas and New Years???

Then last night I heard my downstairs neighbor (the pot head with Kitty) arguing with somebody.  I admit it, I muted the TV so I could hear what they were saying.  In my defense, it's not like they were being quiet and they were arguing on the patio, which is right below my balcony - I couldn't help overhearing them.  I just facilitated the ease of my comprehension by muting the TV.  :)   The friend was staging some kind of intervention with my neighbor, telling him that his drug use was out of control.  I honestly just thought he was a pot head.  But then I heard him say that using that meth shit was going to kill him.  Meth?  Seriously?  Great.  Just what I want living beneath me.

My first thought is, I need to get out of here.  I need to find a new place to live, which won't be all that easy.  Then my next thought was, this is so completely unsafe - there are children and animals living here!  Is there anything I can do about getting him out of here?  Can I tell the police?  Can they do anything?  Is there anything the apartment complex will do?  What does the lease say?  If they can kick him out, it would make everything easier for me.  I wouldn't have to move and I wouldn't have to deal with all the cigarette smoke that wafts into my apartment.

I think I'll try that route first and see what I can do.  I really don't want to move right now.